“History, Hip Hop and American Popular Culture” is the topic of the free Faces of Diversity Brown Bag series at noon Friday, April 20 at the Phoenix City Council Chambers, 200 W. Jefferson St.

The speaker is Matthew C. Whitaker, Ph.D., Arizona State University (ASU) Foundation professor of history and director, ASU Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.

Whitaker will explain why hip-hop and rap are “arguably the highest form of creative, extemporaneous, ever-evolving form of communication and expression in the post Civil Rights era.”

Rap found its roots imbedded deep within African, Caribbean and African-American culture and oral tradition and often took on an innocuous, playful tone; but through hip-hop culture and rap music, it would become a way of communicating serious objections to racial oppression, political isolation, educational inequalities, war and more.

Whitaker also is an historian of African-American history, civil rights and social movements, and the author of several books, including “Icons of Black America: Crossing Boundaries and Breaking Barriers.”

No reservation is needed. For more information, call (602) 495-0358 or (602) 534-1557/TTY or visit phoenix.gov/eod/whatsnew.

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