Author, historian and music critic Jeff Chang kicked off Grand Rapids Community College’s Diversity Lecture Series Wednesday at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids with a talk about hip-hop, multiculture and diversity.
Jeff Chang, the Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University, talked about his new book, “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation.” The lecture, which focused on how hip-hop has changed multiculturalism and diversity, was well received. He told of how the Bronx endured gang violence, loss of jobs and other devastating cultural change and turned the inevitable into a positive flow when 100 young adults came together and expressed their struggles through hip-hop.
“Chang came across with idealistic and progressive views, I was not sure of the correlation of hip hop and multiculturalism but now I know,” said Danquan Reynolds, a second year GRCC student who attended the lecture.
Chang mentioned how hip- hop will continue because of the dialogue that young and old use daily to commemorate new and old hip hop. The use of new technology and the involvement of businesses extending their cooperation to help educate and support new artists is adding to the success of hip-hop and the growth of multicultural times.
The crowd stayed for the question and answer part of the lecture. Chang answered questions about how sociology created hip-hop in the Bronx with peace talks and music leadership helping kids get out of gangs. When asked by an audience member if President Obama is tinted with a racial cultural physical incident, explained that he is not qualified to answer that question, but the great leap of multiculturalism made it possible for a new race to be elected.
“Cultural change proceeds political change,” Chang said
Chang stayed for a book signing and talked with the GRCC community in the back of the church. He was embraced by the people that stayed and talked to them about multiculturalism.
When asked what impact would he want to leave the GRCC community with, he said,
“I hope that the GRCC community understands the importance of culture and change. I want them to come away with a sense that they can change their world through art, activism or the making of their lives.”
Chang has another book coming out, the follow up of “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop,” which is “Who We Be: The Colorization of America.”
He is the first of this year’s Diversity Lecture Series put on by the Woodrick Diversity Learning Center.
The event is always free and parking is $3 in the GRCC parking ramp. All lectures start at 7 p.m. at Fountain Street Church.
For more information about the series and who is speaking next, click here. http:cms.grcc.edu/lecture