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It was just announced that starting next semester, Bowie State University, the oldest HBCU in Maryland, will be offering its first minor in hip-hop studies.

This minor in hip-hop studies and visual culture is the first of its kind in the state of Maryland and according to Bowie State’s newsletter is the second in the nation.

“The program’s curriculum will draw on the arts, technology, media, history, and literature to expand opportunities for critical discussion, collaborative research and creative projects,” the newsletter states.  “Students will engage with hip-hop scholars, artists and pioneers through guest lectures, hands-on workshops and field trips.”

“We are trying to encourage critical research. Hip-hop is not just music: it’s a culture,” said Associate Professor Tewodross Melchishua, coordinator of Bowie State’s visual communication and digital media arts (VCDMA) program.

The program does not sound like it is going to be an “easy A” either, the professors have gone out of their way to develop educational coursework that will, “explore hip-hop’s roots in African and African-American culture and its societal impact, while developing projects that span multiple academic disciplines.”

“[Associate Professor Tewodross Melchishua] designed a hip-hop studio course focused on visual arts design. Renowned hip-hop scholar, musician and author Dr. William Smith created a course exploring black contemporary music and its impact on society. Helen Hayes Award-nominated playwright, director and actor Greg Morrison will teach a hip-hop theater course he developed to introduce students a unique form of musical theater.”

This seems like a perfect way to engage undergraduate students on multiple levels and it also is great that proper respect is being given to the study of  the culture of hip-hop.

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