On Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30, the Intercultural Student Life hosted the Intercultural Conference and Hip Hop Collective in Hicks and the Hicks Banquet Hall. Natalia Carvalho-Pinto, the Director of the Intercultural Center organized the event.
“I wanted to bring an event that kind of centers on the student group that the Intercultural Student life will focus on,” Carvalho-Pinto said. “A lot of the time we’re lumped as this one category, as students of color, or LGBTQIA students. There’s this one space we’re lumped into, but we’re from pretty different backgrounds.”
The Intercultural Conference kicked off with a traveling museum exhibit hosted by Khalid El-Hakim. From periods of slavery, to the Jim Crow laws, to recent events, the Black History 101 exhibit includes chronologically organized artifacts such as photos, letters, dolls, and speeches in a walkthrough museum in the Banquet Hall. Carvalho-Pinto said the emphasis is “the importance of continuity [and] legacies and stories.”
The opening keynote speech was given by Ernie Pannicioli, a photographer that has recorded the history of the hip-hop movement from the beginning through photographing famous artists, ordinary streets, and communities where hip hop was born.
“We see hip hop as something that is marketed and sold and popularized,” Carvalho-Pinto said. “He talks about the other side of that, how it began as a movement for people that were different from each other but shared in the struggle against inequality, and how they used hip hop as a vehicle to connect and share in that struggle.”
Saturday included more opportunity to view the exhibit, as well as listen to a hip hop artist and activist OLMECA speak about how hip hop was a vehicle for him to grow. “It’s continuing the conversation of what do we need as groups to grow on campus or society in campus,” Carvalho-Pinto said.
The afternoon closed with a Hip Hop panel of artists. Hip Hop artists including Miz Korona, Supa Emcee and Mu performed at Saturday evening’s Zoo After Dark. Kate Yancho and the Office of Student Involvement, the Latino Student Association, el Movimento Estudiantil Chicano y Chicana de Aztlan, also known as M.E.Ch.A., helped Carvalho-Pinto to organize the Intercultural Conference.
“I chose to use hip hop as the segue because hip hop and music in general can cut across cultures,” Carvalho-Pinto said. “The speakers are speaking about issues that are significant and central to the population the intercultural student life aims to work with. It’s designed to bring people together and start some conversation about intercultural life.”