Hip Hop Heresies: A Book Talk with Shanté Paradigm Smalls

book cover

Join the Department of Performance Studies as we welcome double PS Alum Shanté Paradigm Smalls back to the 6th floor to discuss their first book, "Hip Hop Heresies." Our co-sponsors for this event are the NYU Institute of African American Affairs, Center for Black Visual Culture and the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music

Hip Hop Heresies centers New York City as a space where vibrant queer, Black, and hip hop worlds collide and bond in dance clubs, schools, roller rinks, basketball courts, subways, and movie houses. Using this cultural nexus as the stage, Shanté Paradigm Smalls attends to the ways that hip hop cultural production in New York City from the 1970s through the early twenty-first century produced film, visual art, and music that offer queer articulations of race, gender, and sexuality.

To illustrate New York City as a place of experimental aesthetic collaboration, Smalls brings four cultural moments to the forefront: the life and work of the gay Chinese American visual and graffiti artist Martin Wong, who brokered the relationship between New York City graffiti artists and gallery and museum spaces; the Brooklyn-based rapper-singer-writer-producer Jean Grae, one of the most prolific and underrated emcees of the last two decades; the iconic 1980s film The Last Dragon, which exemplifies the experimental and queer Black masculinity possible in early formal hip hop culture; and finally queer- and trans-identified hip hop artists and groups like BQE, Deepdickollective, and Hanifah Walidah, and the documentary Pick Up the Mic.

Hip Hop Heresies transforms the landscape of hip hop scholarship, Black studies, and queer studies by bringing together these fields through the hermeneutic of aesthetics. Providing a guidepost for future scholarship on queer, trans, and feminist hip hop studies, Hip Hop Heresies takes seriously the work that New York City hip hop cultural production has done and will do, and advocates a form of hip hop that eschews authenticity in favor of performativity, bricolage, and pastiche.

Dr. Smalls is currently an Associate Professor of Black Studies in the Department of English and Faculty in the Critical Race & Ethnic Studies Institute, and Founding Co-Director of the LGBTQ+ Center at St. John’s University in New York City. Smalls has held fellowships from University of Rochester Humanities Center, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, The Institute for Citizens & Scholars (formerly Woodrow Wilson Foundation), and the James Weldon Johnson Fellowship at Emory University.

Dr. Smalls received their PhD in Performance Studies from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, their MA in Performance Studies from NYU, and their BA in English and Theatre from Smith College.

They are a Series Editor of Critical Race, Indigeneity, and Relationality at Temple University Press

To see more, go to Dr. Smalls’s website: http://shanteparadigm.com