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Harry Allen

Hip-Hop Activist

Harry Allen, Hip-Hop Activist & Media Assassin, writes about race, politics and culture, for publications like VIBE, The Source, The Village Voice and others, and has been doing so for over twenty-five years. As an expert covering hip-hop culture, he has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on National Public…

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Harry Allen, Hip-Hop Activist & Media Assassin, writes about race, politics and culture, for publications like VIBE, The Source, The Village Voice and others, and has been doing so for over twenty-five years.

As an expert covering hip-hop culture, he has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on National Public Radio, MTV, VH-1, CNN, the BBC and other information channels.

Well known for his association with the seminal band Public Enemy and for his widely-heard “cameo” on their classic record, “Don’t Believe the Hype,” Allen also founded the world’s first not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization for hip-hop culture, the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame & RhythmCultural Center, Inc. (d.b.a. RCI: The RhythmCultural Institute) in 1994. He further satisfies both his musical and political interests through service on the advisory board of the Archives of African American Music and Culture (AAAMC) at Indiana University, and as the host/producer of his weekly WBAI-NY/99.5 FM radio show, ONFICTION, where he covers film, media, art, science, literature and other subjects.

Allen publishes the blog Media Assassin at harryallen.info and is currently developing a book on architecture and researching a documentary on hip-hop.

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Shooting The Enemy
Learning photography in college, Allen combined this burgeoning passion with his love for hip-hop culture, taking pictures of a local mobile d.j. crew. When its members went on to stardom, however, he realized that he had the world’s only collection of pre-recording Public Enemy photos.

In this presentation, Allen screens select images from his archives while discussing the way this formative period shaped him as a writer and thinker, and forged P.E.’s ultimate rise.

Why Saying “White Privilege” Isn’t Enough
The term “white privilege” has achieved high visibility in the grass-roots discussion of race and rights. As a name for a purported “suite of benefits” that people of European descent supposedly receive, by virtue of living in Western cultures, saying “white privilege” has begun to serve as a demarcator of how progressive one is on issues of identity and power.

In this presentation, however, Allen argues that, besides not going far enough, the term may actually be detrimental to understanding and remedying injustice. Laying out his argument in a step-by-step fashion, he calls for new language — and new thinking — on arguably the most provocative issue of our day.

Hip-Hop on YouTube: Decade Zero One
How did the rise of Internet video affect hip-hop? During this discussion, Allen will explore online video’s significant impact on hip-hop culture, ten years after the debut of YouTube in 2005. Accompanied by a wide selection of video clips, both new and archival, he proves that the medium is, indeed, changing the message.

Hip-Hop Visions: Black Social & Political

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Harry Allen: Shooting the Enemy - The Founding of Public Enemy

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