I will be presenting at 9am and noon with a number of Hamline students and community members at “The Normandale Writing Festival” on Thursday, April 19, 2012, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The panel, which I will be presenting is “Hip Hop: Culture, Poetry and Self-Expression,” which will be led by members of the Institute for Hip Hop Knowledge (based at Hamline University and formed by professors, students and community members). We wish to show the ways in which hip hop is not just a musical genre, but an historical and cultural phenomenon that can also be used as a positive avenue for self-expression through writing. Students will see that hip hop is an method of protest against cultural oppression as well as a way for people of all colors to express themselves through words, rhymes and beats. Our further hope is to show the ways in which hip hop can also be used as a writing tool for other classes that students take in higher education, as it can serve as the basis of free-writing that can lead to more refined work and self-expression. Students will have the opportunity to hear scholars and local artists speak on the issue as well as write (and maybe even spit) their own rhymes.