Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: How Indigenous Hip Hop is Creating a Decolonial Future

Public talk by Kyle Mays (UCLA) on indigenous hip hop.
When Oct 11, 2018
from 04:00 PM to 05:30 PM
Where Humanities 100
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In this talk, Dr. Kyle T. Mays (UCLA) will explore the cultural and political significance of Indigenous hip hop. In August 2017, seven Indigenous hip hop artists from Canada and the United States graced the stage of the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. Decked out in “Native bling”—a modern, Indigenous aesthetic—they accepted an award in the category “Fight Against the System” for their video “Stand Up/Standing Rock #NoDAPL." As the Cree hip hop artist Drezus reflected, “When we got word it was breathtaking—a surreal feeling. We’re the first Native American hip hop group to win a VMA.” Drezus’s comments suggest that Indigenous people, in spite of hundreds of years of settler colonial violence and dispossession, are still here, resisting and fighting, in the spirit of their ancestors, through hip hop. This lecture provides a window into how Indigenous hip hop artists are creating a decolonial future.

Kyle T. Mays (Saginaw Anishinaabe) is a transdisciplinary scholar and public intellectual of Indigenous Studies, Critical Ethnic Studies, and Indigenous popular culture. He is an assistant professor of African American Studies at UCLA and the author of Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: Modernity and Hip Hop in Indigenous North America (SUNY Press, 2018).