CISA celebrates 50 years of hip-hop

To commemorate hip-hop’s origins, evolution and influence, Arizona State University’s College of Integrative Sciences and Arts (CISA) and the Majestic Neighborhood Cinema Grill are hosting a screening of the Oscar-nominated film “Straight Outta Compton” at the Majestic Gilbert 8 on Thursday, Feb. 22.

“I am thrilled to see ASU as well as the rest of the world celebrate the history of hip-hop,” said Kermit Brown, assistant teaching professor in CISA and the organizer of this event. “Hip-hop is in everything we do. It’s in the way we walk and the way we talk. It’s the struggle and fight, and it’s the dark and the light. It’s been the soundtrack to my soul and I savor every bite.”

The event will also feature a panel of experts on hip-hop culture, pre-show music and on-air giveaways from 101.1 The Bounce radio station.

“Straight Outta Compton” film screening and panel discussion

Thursday, Feb. 22

5:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Majestic Gilbert 8 movie theater


Defined by its rhythm, dance, fashion and cultural influence, the genre was born in 1973 at a house party in the Bronx, New York, when it wasn’t yet known as “hip-hop.” Early listeners noted its distinct energy and musical structure, and it soon became “a reflection of life for Black Americans.”

The 1983 hip-hop hit “It’s Like That” by Run-D.M.C. voiced the angst of Black Americans during that time. “It was the first hip-hop song that captivated me,” said Brown, who will moderate the panel discussion following the film screening. “I was hooked!”

The song calls out a culture of unemployment, pay discrimination and other social and political injustices, he noted, but offers a message of hope to those who face societal inequities over a catchy and simplistic beat.

It was international hits like this that paved the way to what hip-hop embodies today: its own art form, political expression and identity, inspiring and influencing communities around the world from every generation.

Joining Brown on the panel discussion are talented community members Daylin NeoHop, a singer, lyricist, songwriter, drummer and producer; Harold “HB” Branch, an ASU alum, activist, poet, author and actor; and Darnell Hill, a local rapper, poet, podcaster, student ministry pastor, state youth and college advisor for the NAACP and journalist at the Arizona Informant newspaper.

“As CISA’s presence at the Polytechnic campus expands, we are equally committed to enhancing the cultural landscape of the East Valley. In pursuit of this, we have renewed our partnership with the Majestic Neighborhood Cinema Grill to celebrate 50 years of hip-hop,” said Manuel Aviles-Santiago, vice dean for CISA. “This collaboration underscores our dedication to being integrative and connecting with our community through music and film, and its ability to reflect and teach us about ourselves.”

ASU students can attend this event at no charge if they register in advance.

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