These events took place in February 2016

Hip Hop culture is a manifestation of the radical imagination of Black and Brown youth coming of age in post-industrial South Bronx in the mid-1970s, an era marked by massive joblessness, defunding of schools and youth spaces and programs, the expansion of the prison industrial complex, and the militarization of urban space (Akom, 2009; Rose, 1994). These youth dreamed of a different future, liberation for their communities and for themselves, and began building toward it innovatively, resourcefully and defiantly. Hip Hop emerged as a site for creativity, play and insurgency, countering alienation and disillusionment by engaging youth with humanizing discourses and cultural practices (Akom, 2009; Williams, 2008). Hip Hop is anti-racist and de-colonial as a cultural movement, art form, educational philosophy and way of being.

This series of events features critical conversations with artists, scholars, educators and activists on Hip Hop, decolonization, liberation, spirituality and preferred futures.

Presented by the Multi-Faith Centre for Spiritual Study & Practice, First Nations House, Hart House and the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office at the University of Toronto.

Sponsored by Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society


February 24, 6 p.m.  Presentation Room, Student Centre, University of Toronto Mississauga
Black liberation: A conversation with Jasiri X. 
Moderator: Professor Beverly Bain, Women and Gender Studies, Department of Historical Studies, University of Toronto Mississauga

February 25, 6:30 p.m.  East Common Room, Hart House
Hip Hop for a different future: Decolonization, spirituality and social transformation
Panellists: Dr. Mark V. Campbell, Hawa Y. Mire and Jasiri X
Moderator: Dr. Kyle T. Mays, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

February 26, 2 p.m.  Music Room, Hart House
Rhyming for Black and Indigenous liberation: A conversation between two emcees
Panellists: Shibastik and Jasiri X
Moderator: Professor Karyn Recollet, Women & Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto


Jasiri X Hip Hop artist, educator and community activist
Dr. Mark V. Campbell Scholar, DJ and arts advocate
Hawa Y. Mire Diasporic Somali storyteller, writer and strategist
Shibastik Hip Hop artist, painter, athlete and educator
Dr. Kyle T. Mays Historian of modern US, Critical Ethnic Studies, and Indigenous Studies

Jasiri X


Jasiri X is an emcee, educator and community activist. He is the creative force and artist behind the ground-breaking Internet news series, This Week with Jasiri X, which has garnered critical acclaim, thousands of subscribers and millions of internet views. A six-time Pittsburgh Hip-Hop Award winner, Jasiri recently became the first Hip Hop artist to receive the coveted August Wilson Center for African American Culture Fellowship. Jasiri has recently released his latest album, "Black Liberation Theology." 


Dr. Mark V. Campbell


Dr. Mark V. Campbell is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Media and a former Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Regina's Department of Fine Arts.   Dr. Campbell is a scholar, dj and advocate of the arts, with more than a decade of radio experience with the Bigger than Hip Hop Show.  His research interests include; Afrodiasporic theory and culture, Canadian hip-hop cultures, dj cultures, afrosonic innovations and community development projects.  Dr. Campbell is Founding Director at Northside Hip Hop Archive, Canada's first national hip hop archive and a Co-Founder of the non-profit arts organization, Nia Centre for the Arts which celebrates arts from across the African diaspora.  Dr. Campbell has published widely with essays appearing in the Southern Journal of Canadian Studies, Critical Studies in Improvisation, Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society and the CLR Journal of Caribbean Ideas.

Mark Campbell

Hawa Y. Mire


Hawa Y. Mire is a diasporic Somali storyteller, writer and strategist who focuses on themes of Blackness and Indigeniety, (dis)connection and (un)belonging. Her writing is seated somewhere between oral tradition and the written word, celestial and myth, past and present, ancestry and spirit. A Master of Environmental Studies candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, her research incorporates traditional Somali stories with discourses of constructed identity while pulling from archival histories of resistance and radical curatorial practises. Hawa is the co-founder of NSOROMMA, a Pan-African arts movement that cultivates creative action and innovation in African communities. Her writing can be found at Jalada Africa, The Feminist Wire, Rabble, Araweelo Abroad. Recently, she co-edited a 2015 special issue of Our Schools, Our Selves titled, “Constellations of Black Radical Imagining: Black Arts and Popular Education” (2015). Her short story series Black Woman, Everybody's Healer was long listed in 2015 for the Jalada African Literature Prize, and is currently in the process of being written as a book-length manuscript.

Hawa Y. Mire



Shibastik, Cree for “underground flow,” is an accomplished painter, athlete, lyricist and Hip Hop artist. He is a member of Moose Cree First Nation, along the southwestern coast of the James Bay. Inspired by life as a Cree hunter on the James Bay Lowlands, his music and art promote awareness and appreciation for both the land and First Nation culture, past and present. It was while working at a youth detention centre that Shibastik developed his “Healing through Hip Hop” workshop. He has since presented his workshop at conferences, in schools, and at various events nation wide. 


Dr. Kyle T. Mays


Dr. Kyle T. Mays (Black/Saginaw Anishinaabe) is an historian of modern US, Critical Ethnic Studies, and Indigenous Studies. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Transdisciplinary in nature, his work focuses on how various actors construct indigeneity and other social meanings in modern US cities. During his time as a postdoctoral fellow, he will be working to transform his dissertation into a book. A cultural and social history, the book will tentatively analyze how indigeneity functioned in Detroit’s modern development. An idea central to the project is that we cannot comprehend the development of modern US cities without also understanding how indigeneity was central to their development. Dr. Mays is currently completing a book (under contract with SUNY Press) that explores how Indigenous Hip Hop artists construct identity and challenge colonialism through Hip Hop culture.

Kyle Mays