Masquerading Politics: traditions in a West African town and their relationship to hip hop

Dr. John Thabiti Willis will take a close look at masquerade traditions in the West African town of Otta in Yoruba, and two renowned Hip Hop scholars will offers comments and insights.

Please join us to hear from Dr. John Thabiti Willis discuss his research on masquerade traditions in the West African town of Otta. His research chronicles the transformations of performers, performances, and the institutional structures in which masquerade was used to reveal ongoing changes in notions of gender, kinship, and ethnic identity. As Dr. Willis focuses on performers and spectators, he reveals a history of masquerade that is rich and complex. His research offers a nuanced understanding of performance practices in African and their role in forging alliances, consolidating state power, incorporating immigrants, executing criminals, and projecting individual and group power on both sides of the Afro-Atlantic world.

Hip Hop scholars suggest that the praise songs that masquerade performers and their supporters sing contain elements that emerge in Hip Hop. Following Dr. Willis’ talk, two renowned Hip Hop scholars — Dr. Rachel Raimis, feminist and hip hop scholar from the University of Alabama and co-researcher on the project, and Dr. DeReef Jamison, hip hop scholar from UAB — will offers comments and insights.

When: April 5, 2018, from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Location: Hill Student Center Theater

This event is cosponsored by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, UAB's Institute for Human Rights, and the Departments of History, Art and Art History, and Social Work, and the African American Studies program.

Arts & Humanities