I research, write and teach about hip-hop


The Listening: Documenting Hip-Hop In Durham

This multi-media exhibit will document hip-hop culture in Durham highlighting the main four elements of the culture. This includes celebrating local graffiti artist, DJ’s, Producer’s, Rappers, and Durham based Hip-Hop Scholars.  When consumers typically think of hip-hop and cities who have made historical contributions to the culture, major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston are primarily at the forefront of the conversation. Although small in size in comparison to major cities, Durham has crafted and created hip-hop spaces throughout the city, which has allowed the culture to thrive across the five elements. The exhibit will feature, images, videos, recorded interviews and brief bios of key contributors to cohesively tell the story of Durham’s thriving engagement with hip-hop.  Thus far the exhibit has received in-kind sponsorship from Beats by Dre and a $1800 grant from the Durham Arts Council. 

Curated by: Kyesha Jennings

    Sponsored by Beats by Dr. Dre via in-kind donation

    Sponsored by Beats by Dr. Dre via in-kind donation

Writing through Hip-Hop

In collaboration with Durham Mighty Pen, a non-profit organization who focuses on amplifying the voices of youth in Durham, Kyesha developed a workshop specifically for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders where they actively engaged with writing, through hip-hop. Students produced creative pieces inspired by the five elements of hip-hop (MC/Rapper, B-Boy/B-Girl, DJ, Graffiti and knowledge of self). Together, Kyesha and students explored and created street art, composed poems, raps and short stories. Students also received live demonstrations from local hip-hop practitioners. By writing through hip-hop students were able to learn about the origins of the culture, embody the five elements and examine/reflect on their identity. 

Bringing Slam Poetry into the Composition Classroom!

Beginning in the spring of 2016, students enrolled in my Introduction to Literature course participated in a poetry slam where they were provided the tools to amplify their voices and demonstrate the ability to construct language in a way that offers them agency.