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Rich Medina: Reclaiming Pedagogy

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As a member of the Zulu Nation and lifetime b-boy and preeminent DJ and Ivy League alum, Rich Medina is interestingly poised as a cultural and intellectual insider and something of an academic outsider: he occupies a unique position to question why we must function within colonial systems of knowledge production, and to develop our own sustainable modes of community-centered education that actively contest standard narratives. 

Medina sits down with Zoé Samudzi, a writer, picture-taker, and Sociology PhD student. She’s interested, more than anything, in truths: how we make them, how we understand them, how we tell & disseminate them, how they become Truths.

Participants will consider the disruption of our most comfortable conventions, and how we may begin to embark on a journey of discovering a more self-unsettling set of worldviews more representative of the lived experiences and constantly fluctuating conditions in this world. 
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Perhaps best known for his pioneering work on the 1s and 2s, RICH MEDINA's work has always been characterized by a syncretism, whether it was his legendary Jump 'N' Funk experimentation with Fela Kuti’s catalog or his pan-black encyclopedic musical knowledge that makes itself evident during any given event he happens to be spinning. One of his present missions is taking him beyond the club and back to the ivory tower: his mission of experiential teaching is challenging conventional models of book learning just as his medium of choice, hip-hop, was created as a challenge to a hegemony of voice, musical form, and storytelling. 

It does not make sense to Medina, as an athlete, to be coached by an individual that does not have experience with a sport. Similarly, it does not make sense for so-called “experts” of hip-hop to gain their expertise outside of the culture itself: to have expertise conferred upon them by individuals and institutions that consume and commodify hip-hop, but very rarely appreciate it in itself.

Medina"s pedagogical goals at Cornell University include a challenge of the idea that a terminal degree or extensive academic training are necessarily the primary criteria that mark an individual as a competent instructor. Black studies, for example, is on the rise, and degreed non-black instructors—individuals often more akin to professional voyeurs or hobbyists than “experts"—are more credible and authoritative interlocutors of Black cultural production than the formally “unqualified” cultural producers themselves (or even ones with those expertise-rendering credentials). 

As a member of the Zulu Nation and lifetime b-boy and preeminent DJ and Ivy League alum, Rich Medina is interestingly poised as a cultural and intellectual insider and something of an academic outsider: he occupies a unique position to question why we must function within colonial systems of knowledge production, and to develop our own sustainable modes of community-centered education that actively contest standard narratives. 
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MATATU is a platform for conversation, experience, and expression that helps ordinary people share their journeys. Together, we hope to enhance empathy and understanding of the global human condition. 

We are a fiscally sponsored project of Intersection for the Arts. Learn more about us at www.matatu.co

 

Later Event: February 2
Martin Luther: Release