Black History Month Features Hip Hop in Appalachia Event

Joseph DiCristofaro, Student Reporter

Hip-hop music, black culture and the Appalachian identity will be the topic of a panel discussion on the Marshall campus this week.

The two-hour discussion will explore the popular and sometimes not widely known thriving hip-hop culture in Appalachia. Eric Jordan, the West Virginia University Center for Black Culture and Research project coordinator, will be the keynote speaker.

Jordan, raised in Ansted and Morgantown, is an Appalachian music artist who has been performing since the age of seven. He and his brother started the independent record label Soundvizion Recordingz and the group 304 Reconz.

“We are delighted to have Mr. Jordan as our keynote speaker,” Dr. Cicero Fain, assistant provost for inclusive excellence diversity, equity and inclusion fellow at Marshall, said. “Not only is he an accomplished hip hop musician, performer and producer, he is a native son who is deeply steeped in Black Appalachia and hip hop culture. I am excited over the opportunity to bring Appalachian-based scholars and local artists together to not only perform, but to discuss the historical, cultural and global impact of hip hop on the 50th anniversary of its birth.”

The panel discussion moderator will be Dr. Amy Alvarez, associate professor of English at WVU.

The discussion will host several prominent figures from the Appalachian hip-hop scene such as Deep Jackson, who is a Welsh veteran of the hip-hop scene. Duke Johnson, Scantag and Shelem all have ties to the Huntington area music scene.

Sociologist Dr. Angie Luvara from Frostburg State University will also be featured on the panel.

“This panel will serve as a platform to showcase local artists, discuss culturally-based responses and entrepreneurial strategies used by Black Appalachian musicians and producers as well as examine some of the challenges encountered in that process,” Fain said.

The event will take place Thursday, Feb. 16, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Shawkey Dining Room of the Memorial Student Center.