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Members of Hip Hop Congress perform at Freestyle Friday, an event held every week at 3 p.m. Pictured center is Vice President of Hip Hop Congress Ryo Petite. (Via Caitlin Stone)

Hip-hop is back in session at OU

After a semester of smaller projects with less involvement, Hip Hop Congress is back on track with a busy Spring Semester.

“Last semester with Hip Hop Congress it was sort of like a rebuilding semester,” said Caitlin Stone, president of Hip Hop Congress and a senior studying video production. “We had a lot of problems the year before with getting members.”

Stone said there are currently between 15 and 20 regular members of the group and about 10 members who are “vaguely involved.”

Spring Semester is especially eventful for Hip Hop Congress because of its annual Hip Hop awareness week. The week consists of painting the graffiti wall, an MC event, panel discussions with professors, a keynote speaker, a DJ workshop and PANIC ZONE, a breakdancing competition.

“This will be PANIC ZONE Four,” Stone said. “In the past we’ve brought in outside judges who are actual b-boys (breakdancers). You’d be surprised how many people breakdance around here.”

Along with Stone, many other seniors on the executive board will be graduating this year.

“We’re kind of the last people who know how Hip Hop Congress has been for the last few years,” Stone said.

Stone said she will start looking into underclassmen to take the open positions this semester.

“There’s some really devoted people that have been in it from the beginning of the year, I’m hoping they get high positions on the exec board,” said Kennedy Daughenbaugh, a member of Hip Hop Congress and freshman studying integrated media.

Hip Hop Congress also discusses culture and politics. Stone said the main topics of discussion this semester will be the commodification of hip-hop, who controls it and how money affects that power.

“Most people are very confused that (hip-hop) is a culture, not just a type of music,” Stone said. “We create a space for discussions to occur around that.”

Stone said understanding hip-hop culture is a way of understanding minority cultures.

“We don’t want to only reach out to people who already like hip-hop,” Stone said. “We want to explain it to people who don’t understand what it is.”


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