Ghanaian Hip Hop icon, M.anifest, has given a lecture to students at the Howard University, after being invited as a special guest to share thoughts on the evolution of his art form.
To mark the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop, various events ranging from concerts, symposia, competitions, exhibitions, etc. are being held across the World to honour the impact and influence of Hip Hop culture.
One of such events was held in Washington D.C at Howard University, a partnership between its Centre for African Studies and School of Business on Wednesday, February 15, 2023.
As legend has it, Hip Hop was birthed in 1973 at a party in Bronx, New York. The music genre has evolved into a culture that has transcended the United States and its influence can be found in many other forms of contemporary music from around the world, including in Africa.
M.anifest began his independent professional career in the U.S. and was heavily influenced by the early 2000s scene in Minneapolis. Upon returning to Ghana though, he fast carved out his own lane and has become known as one of the continent’s finest lyricists. The Howard University Centre for African Studies describes him as “one of the few mainstream artists to produce socially conscious hip hop in West Africa”.
In the conversation moderated by Milen (Mili) Mehari, a 2nd year PhD student in the African Studies Department, M.anifest touched on class struggle in Ghana as seen through the prism of his song ‘No Shortcut To Heaven’, the impact of Hip Hop on the current generation of African creators, the possibilities and challenges of the beyond the return agenda being advanced by the Ghanaian government among many other topics.
In attendance at the talk were the Provost of Howard, Dr. Anthony Wutoh, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman, Prof. Jasmine Young of the Warner/Blavatnik Center for Music and Entertainment Business, and Annabelle McKenzie, Director of the Beyond the Return secretariat to name a few.
Speaking on the experience of leading a discourse on the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop Culture at the Howard University popularly known as ‘The Mecca’, M.anifest wrote: “Had a very inspired conversation at Howard University. Correct people, correct energy, thought provoking questions in a wonderful space that honors blackness and excellence.”
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