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Bakari Kitwana


Bakari Kitwana

Senior Fellow

Areas of Interest: Hip Hop Culture, Youth and Social Movements, Race & Politics


bakari_kitwana Bakari Kitwana is a journalist, activist and political analyst whose commentary on politics and youth culture have been seen on the CNN, FOX News (the O’Reilly Factor), C-Span, PBS (The Tavis Smiley Show) and heard on NPR. He’s currently senior editor of newsone.com, the internet news presence of Radio One. He’s also the CEO of Rap Sessions: Community Dialogues on Hip-Hop, which conducts townhall meetings around the country on difficult dialogues facing the hip-hop generation.

His 2002 book The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture, which focuses on young Blacks born after the Civil Rights Movement, has been adopted as a course book in classrooms at over 100 colleges and universities.

Kitwana published his first book, The Rap on Gangsta Rap in 1994. Since then he’s been the Editorial Director of Third World Press, Executive Editor of the Source—the nation’s top-selling music magazine— and co-founder the first ever National Hip-Hop Political Convention, which brought over 4000 young people to Newark in 2004 to create and endorse a political agenda for the hip-hop generation.

Kitwana has been a consultant on hip-hop for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Artist-in-Residence at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, and is currently a Fellow and Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media at Columbia College. An active writer, his essays have appeared in The New York Times, the Village Voice, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Savoy and the Progressive. For the last decade, he has lectured and given keynote presentations at the nation’s leading colleges and universities, including Princeton University, Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of California – Berkeley, Columbia University and countless others across the country.

A native of Long Island, NY, he holds a B.A. and two Masters degrees (in English and Teaching) from the University of Rochester. Kitwana is the author of four books.  Hip-Hop Activism in the Obama Era (Third World Press, 2009) is his most recent work.

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