The pioneers of hip-hop used their music to denounce social inequality and make it known to a broader audience. But as the genre became more commercial, the activism faded into the background. What is the situation today?
Is hip-hop still a force for social change? AB and KU Leuven try to answer this question together with a team of experts.
Discover the panel:
We will start the evening with a keynote by American rapper, poet, producer and activist Akua Naru. She is also the founder of international collective theKEEPERS, an online archive chronicling the cultural contributions of black women within hip-hop culture.
Towards a larger vision of empowerment, naru has hosted workshops, healing circles, lectures, and participated on panels that explore topics such as African spiritualities in relation to hip-hop and sexism in the hip-hop industry. She has lectured at several universities, including The Ahfad Women’s University In Khartoum, Sudan, Harvard University, Oxford, Cornell, Princeton, Brown, Fordham, University of Cologne (Germany), and Pivot Point College (China).
SOE NSUKI (moderator)
Soe is DJ, B-Girl. It all began with hip-hop, in 2007. For years, Soe spent her time as B-girl roaming the battles of the Low Lands, eventually becoming Benelux champion in 2011. She passed on her passion for breaking to other female-folk at Soe’s B-girl Studio.
In 2016, she toured venues as a comedian in a double show with BFF Jens Dendoncker. At the end of 2018, Soe premiered her first full evening show Soetopia in front of a packed Arenbergschouwburg theatre.
In December 2022, she premiered her second standup comedy theatre show SOENAMI, and became the regular sidekick of uber-presenter Sven de Leijer in the year-end show on VRT, Vrede op Aarde.
LIONSTORM is an assertive and queer rap duo that releases confronting raw club anthems.
They are the Netherlands’ first queer rap formation, originating from a lack of hardcore anti-norm representation. Think of them as the lesbian love child of Tommy Cash and Death Grips.
Their raw style is unique and reflects in their lyrics, performances, music videos, and merchandise which they all release under the same label. Their sound is unpolished but catchy varying from Caribbean bubbling beats to metal to grimey hip-hop.
The norm will always get questioned by this duo, resulting in bans from YouTube and Instagram but that only makes their fire burn more intensely.
Freddie Konings is a 24-year-old artist from the heart of Antwerp. Music was always Freddie’s great passion, and he began rapping at a young age. His first album was released in 2017: ‘Strakke Plan 1’, earning him a name in the Belgian hip-hop scene. In 2023, Freddie Konings has now released two more albums, the first titled Konings met Principes and his latest album ‘Respect the pain’. Freddie Konings is a Belgian name to keep an eye on.
Her research interest is in social, methodological and theoretical innovation projects with a creative twist. Professor Hannes specializes in the development, testing and implementation of arts‐based, place‐based, multisensory, and futures studies research designs applied to a multiplicity of different fields including urban development, the public art and design sector, community-based research practice and the global sustainable development area. Where necessary, she re-appropriates theories, strategies and tactics developed in professional practice to respond to emerging social challenges. Her analytical perspective is multimodal in nature, combining numerical, textual, sensory and/or arts-based research data to study complex social phenomena. Karin Hannes works from an inclusive, academic activism perspective. Her research team strongly invests in creative research dissemination practices for public outreach.
Be there! It's a free event, please register over here.