7th Annual International Hip Hop Activism Conference – December 10, 2021

7th Annual International Hip Hop Activism Conference – Friday, December 10, 2021 – Free Online

Free and Open to the Public via Zoom


9am to 1pm western time USA
10am to 2pm mountain time USA
11am to 3pm central time USA
12pm to 4pm eastern time USA


Sponsored by
Save the Kids, Academy for Peace Education, Outdoor Education, Arissa Media Group, Peace Studies Journal, Transformative Justice Journal, Green Theory and Praxis Journal, Lowrider Studies Journal, Hip Hop Studies Association, Utah Student Association for Criminology, Poetry Behind the Walls, Wisdom Behind the Walls, Institute for Critical Animal Studies, Critical Animal Studies Association, Critical Animal Studies Academy, Hip Hop Studies and Activism Book Series, Salt Lake Prisoner Support, Utah Reintegration Project, Salt Lake Peace and Justice Center, and JEDI Collective

Facilitated by
Tony Quintana
Save the Kids


10:00am to 10:20am – We Gotta Make a Change…
Tony Quintana

The 10th Element of Hip Hop, Health & Wellness, Proclamation states: “Hip Hop recognizes its duty, responsibility, and power to change our current environment in order to align ourselves in perfect balance with nature” and that “many people in Hip Hop ingest harmful food and water every day..” This talk will present a framework that individuals and communities can use to incorporate the 10th element of Hip Hop into their every day lives, looking at health behavior theory through a hip hop lens. 

Tony Quintana is a loving father, educator, emcee, and activist. He has worked in Health Promotion/Disease Prevention for over 10 years, and has managed health education programs on a wide variety of topics including HIV, diabetes, fitness and nutrition. As an emcee and show promoter, Tony (also known by his stage name I.Q. the Professor) has been very active in the local hip-hop scene in Albuquerque, NM where he co-founded the Conscious Eating and Hip-Hop event series, and is a co-founder of the Dezert Banditz hip-hop crew. He is currently the Plant-Based Eating Program Manager for Animal Protection of New Mexico and Youth Education Director for the Albuquerque Center for Spiritual Living.

10:20am to 10:30am – Q&A

10:30am to 10:50am – Meek Mill’s “Trauma”
andré cummings

Meek Mill’s life and career have been punctuated by trauma, from his childhood lived on the streets of Philadelphia, through his rise to fame and eventual arrival as one of hip hop’s household names. In his 2018 track “Trauma,” Meek Mill describes, in revealing prose, just how the traumatic experiences he endured personally impacted and harmed him. He also embodies a role as narrator in describing the same traumas and harms that impact the daily lives of countless similarly situated young Black people in the United States. As a child, Mill’s lived experience was one of pervasive poverty and fear, as the world surrounding him consisted of large-scale poverty, addiction, crime, violence, and death. As a young man—at just 19 years of age—he was beaten by police, wrongfully arrested and incarcerated, and ultimately convicted of crimes that he did not commit, becoming another statistic as a young Black man swallowed by the American criminal justice system. Meek’s story, lyrics and contributions to hip hop illuminate the Black experience with law enforcement. His personal involvements provide a powerful narrative for exactly how a racially biased criminal justice system perpetrates a trauma that extends far beyond what the law has traditionally recognized. This talk highlights this narrative through the lens that Meek Mill provides because of his current prominence in hip hop and the importance of his narrative claims. Despite his success in achieving the status of a true hip hop icon, Meek Mill suffered the kind of childhood adversity and trauma that emerging health care research indicates leads to debilitating health outcomes in adulthood.

andré douglas pond cummings is Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law where he teaches Business Organizations, Contracts I and II, Corporate Justice, Entertainment Law and Hip Hop & the American Constitution.  Professor cummings has written extensively on issues regarding investor protection, racial and social justice, and sports and entertainment law, publishing three books including Hip Hop and the Law and over forty law review articles.  cummings has been recognized as Professor of the Year on numerous occasions including the University-wide Distinguished Professor Award by the West Virginia University Foundation.  cummings holds a J.D. from Howard University School of Law where he graduated cum laude.

10:50am to 11:00am – Q&A

11:00am to 11:20am – A Juxtaposition on The Anatomy of Hip Hop vs. The Autopsy of Rap:
Gina C. Alfred

This presentation will focus on how the evolutionary culture of edutainment, birth through hip hop, continues to meet its demise through the entertainment of rap. The speaker will talk about the drastic differences between the two genres; the psychological impact on listeners; and the sociological effect on communities, through a J.E.D.I praxis.

Gina C. Alfred is a Student Affairs Coordinator, and President of Staff Association at Salt Lake Community College. She holds a Bachelor of Religion in Biblical and Theological Studies from Liberty University and is certified in Leading with Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion through the University of Utah. As an avid champion and cheerleader for individuals representing the Global Majority, Gina makes it her priority to ensure that equal and equitable practices are harvested in their favor.

11:20am to 11:30am – Q&A

11:30am to 11:50am – The Sacred Journey of Archiving Hip Hop: Why is this so important?
Zulu King Reies: Omega Zuluz Twin Cities MN (Zulu Union), James Dewitt Yancey Foundation, Hip Hop Education Center, MN Hip Hop Museum

The journey and task of archiving the narrative and stories of Hip Hop should be taken seriously and conducted with integrity, transparency and wisdom to guarantee the facts are in line. We as Hip Hop practitioner’s, activists, teachers, artists, we have a responsibility to not only own our stories but archive them in such a way that they will not be compromised, stolen or re-told falsely. The foundations of Hip Hop are well established, Hip Hop elements will never be twisted and they will remain an intricate part of our culture. Preservation of Hip Hop is essential. This will be a fluid discussion and participants are asked to contribute to the conversation.

11:50am to 12:00pm – Q&A

12:00pm to 12:20pm – Diss Able: Hip Hop, Ableism and Disability.
Mario Montoya

From a number of standpoints, Hip Hop appears to be an ableist movement, starting with certain terminology. Phrases like “stupid dope,” “crazy ill” and “mad-retarded” have found ways into the street vernacular, causing the culture to look more prejudice to outsiders than it is. Little do some know that Hip Hop is known for flipping otherwise offensive language and the meaning of words in an attempt to own and redefine them, like in the case of “dope” or “phat.” In this presentation, I attempt to prove that Hip Hop is NOT an ableist culture. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Mario Montoya is a teacher, writer and MC, and the 2021 recipient of the Rudolfo Anaya Fellowship, honoring promising New Mexican authors. He’s a proud Burqueno (Albuquerque resident) where he received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico in May 2021. His work has appeared in books, anthologies, journals and websites. In 2021, his poem “Prayer for the Guilty” was published by Free Them All Poetry Series, next to the Spanish translation. In 2017, he was granted a spot in All at Once I Saw My Colors, a small anthology pressed by Z Publishing House.

12:20pm to 12:30pm – Q&A

12:30pm to 12:50pm – Community
Shawn Clay

My name is Shawn Clay. I was convicted of a felony in 1997 I was sentenced to a 0-5 in the Utah State Prison. This Changed my life, prison didn’t prepare me for the set backs of being a felon. Today I’m a ordained Pastor and activist for prison reform and strengthening our urban communities and youth. I believe it will take the whole community working together to put a dent in the Recidivism rate and end the school to prison pipe line.

12:50pm to 1:00pm – Q&A

1:00pm to 1:20pm – A Touching Narrative
Reece Graham

One of Pac’s most consistent ad libs was “can you feel me,” and since then in a more pronounced way one of the goals of a hip-hop artist has been to make listeners “feel” them. Success in hip-hop is often measured by two things: sales, and the degree to which people “feel” your music. The music I’m talking about today is the tune of the incarcerated. I’m touched by the fact that there are a couple million people sleeping behind a door that’s permanently locked, Can you feel me? I’m touched by the fact that Prison prioritizes the health, well-being, and word of its often white staff over that of its mostly brown clientele, and this is done as a rule, not in secret, Can you feel me? And I think there’s a touching answer to questions like if people like myself, Bobo, Logan, and others are convicted and serve out lengthy sentences for charges we’re innocent of, what do you think justice behind bars – where everyone is presumed to be inferior to staff – looks like? The answers to these and other questions are at the root of outreach to the incarcerated and this segment will explore ways to enhance the messaging so critical to successful prison abolition.

Reece Graham is a son, brother, uncle, nephew and friend to people who deserve better than what they receive from our justice system. He has no children, is unmarried, and has no idea how to work facebook, Instagram, or any other platform developed in the last twenty-five years due to his incarceration at an early age. In that time he has engaged in leadership development and mentorship through the Power of People Leadership Institute, specialized in nonviolent communication as an Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, explored alternative justice systems and techniques as part of nearly two decades as a student and instructor for Restorative and Transformative Justice organizations. He currently resides in Seattle, and in addition to his activities with Northwest Save The Kids instructs in nonviolent communication training through Projects for a Civil Society, facilitates workshops and sits on the editorial board for the AVP Newsletter, and has a leadership role in the Inside Workers Organizing Committee fight to get conditional medical release and expanded early release programs for prisoners.

1:20pm to 1:30pm – Q&A

1:30pm to 1:50pm – Book Talk: Fight the Power: Breakin Down Hip Hop Activism
Anthony Nocella II

Fight the Power: Breakin Down Hip Hop Activism co-edited by provocative and Fiercely intelligent Hip Hop heads Arash Daneshzadeh, Anthony J. Nocella II, Chandra Ward, and Ahmad Washington is a fresh thought-provoking book that engages in social justice,Black Lives Matter, Hip Hop, youth culture, and current affairs. This must-read is a timely and powerfully engaging collection of interviews by outstanding, brilliant BIPOC Hip Hop activists from around the U.S. Their stories are a poignant testimony forwhat is happening in the streets against racism, classism, police brutality, prisons, hate groups, and white supremacy. This dope-ass book that screams loud FTP, is perfect for any reader at any age.

Dr. Anthony J. Nocella II, an internationally recognized scholar-activist, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology in the Institute of Public Safety at Salt Lake Community College. He received his doctorate in Social Science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He is the editor of the Peace Studies Journal, Transformative Justice Journal, and co-editor of five book series including Critical Animal Studies and Theory with Lexington Books and Hip Hop Studies and Activism with Peter Lang Publishing. He has published over fifty book chapters or articles and forty books. Nocella is the National Coordinator of Save the Kids, Executive Director of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies, Director of the Academy for Peace Education, and acquisitions editor of Arissa Media Group. His work has been translated in Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, German, Korean, and Japanese. He is a leading figure in peace studies, Hip Hop studies, anarchist criminology, transformative justice, youth justice, critical animal studies, eco-ability, lowrider studies, and penal abolition. He has been interviewed by New York Times, Washington Post, Houston Chronicles, Durango Herald, Fresno Bee, Fox, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, and Los Angeles Times.

1:50pm to 2:00pm – Q&A