Cal Poly Kennedy Library Exhibit to Showcase Hip-Hop Culture April 12-June 15

SAN LUIS OBISPO – Cal Poly’s Kennedy Library will host an exhibit April 12 to June 15 showcasing the five elements of hip-hop culture: graffiti writing, breakdancing, deejaying, emceeing, and knowledge production — used to speak truth and justice to social ills in the U.S. and beyond.

The public is invited to an opening reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 19, on the second floor of Kennedy Library. The reception will include performances by student emcees, deejays, spoken-word artists and the SLO Breakers, Cal Poly’s breakdancers club.

The exhibit, “Don’t Believe the Hype: The Radical Elements of Hip Hop,” will feature the work of Cal Poly ethnic studies Professor Jenell Navarro and student curators, who “explored each of the elements and placed them under a campus and regional lens to showcase the conscious roots of hip-hop culture,” Navarro said. “Hip-hop crosses four decades and many generations, speaking truth to power. Its wordplay, influence and cross-generational fluency provides a voice that continues to change the world.”

Collaborative and participatory — the exhibit integrates faculty and student-driven scholarship, creativity and curation to showcase hip-hop culture as an important narrative role in telling a corrective history of urban life in the face of racism, classism and sexism. 

The exhibit is free and open to the public. “See hip-hop culture for what it is — a truth-telling reality check with a pedagogical agenda — where young people take the mic, the floor, the turntables or a subway car and dare to write a radical vision of their world,” Navarro said.

The exhibit is sponsored in collaboration with Cal Poly’s Kennedy Library, Ethnic Studies Department and Architecture Department. For more information, go to

 The Radical Elements of Hip Hop”
Image info: Hype.jpg — Illustration designed by Anna Teiche for the upcoming exhibit, “Don’t Believe the Hype: The Radical Elements of Hip Hop.” Courtesy Kennedy Library

Catherine J. Trujillo
March 26, 2018 

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