Hip-hop, self-expression discussed


On April 14th, the Let’s Talk dinner “Hip-Hop and Education” drew spectators in with an unexpected scene.

The steady thrum of a bass line reverberated throughout the room as a stream of students poured into the dining room. Those attending were greeted by the evening’s speaker, Dr. Lissa Skitolsky, who bounded from table to table hugging and chatting with students as they settled into their seats.

This Let’s Talk dinner was a new experience for first-year Semoni Sherwood. According to Sherwood, she attended out of a love for hip-hop and an interest in taking the new class being offered on the philosophy of hip-hop.

“I want to take the class and learn more,” Sherwood explained. “This seems like a good first step.”

As the music faded after students piled their plates high with salads, pasta and chicken, Skitolsky took the podium and began her lecture.

An overarching theme of Skitolsky’s lecture was to “develop an appreciation for hip-hop culture.”

“I encourage you all to be hip-hop at Susquehanna University and to bring hip-hop to Susquehanna University,” Skitolsky said.

According to Skitolsky, being hip-hop is more than just listening to a genre of music; it involves embracing the whole culture that helped to cultivate the genre and that the genre now supports. This culture includes a set of ethics, ascetics and epistemology that all tie into an underlying idea of freedom and self-expression within a world that would otherwise not allow for such freedoms.

The idea of hip-hop in education was discussed by not only Skitolsky but also senior Cynthia Cassella, who said that she believes the education system in the United States can be revolutionized by incorporating the free-thinking and inclusive doctrine of hip-hop.

The Let’s Talk dinners are a series of lectures put on by faculty and staff at Susquehanna. The events are organized by the Center for Academic Achievement and can be hosted by any member of the Susquehanna community who wants to have a Let’s Talk dinner, according to Alyssa McNamara, the interim academic specialist member with the Center for Academic Achievement.

“We’ll organize everything for the Let’s Talk dinners. We’ll promote it, reserve the space and make sure that the event runs smoothly,” said McNamara.

Anyone who is interested in hosting a Let’s Talk dinner is encouraged to email James Black, the university’s dean of academic engagement.