The Google Versus Debate: Hip-Hop on Trial

June 26, 2012

Join Intelligence Squared for the first ever global debate on hip-hop. Is hip-hop the authentic voice of the oppressed that turns anger into poetry and political action? Or is it a glorification of all that holds back oppressed minorities and hinders them from mainstream assimilation?

In the third of our Versus series of debates with Google we’re bringing together some of the biggest names in hip-hop to debate these questions. Some of the speakers will be on stage at the Barbican Centre and others will be appearing on the big screen via the Google+ Hangout technology. We have rappers such as KRS-One, ?uestlove, Q-Tip and Estelle, and renowned US hip-hop intellectuals such as Touré, Michael Eric Dyson, Tricia Rose and dream hampton. We’re bringing over civil rights campaigner Jesse Jackson, once a critic and now in the hip-hop camp.

Hip-hop and all it stands for has moved well beyond its black American roots. We’ll also be hearing from  John Sutherland, Victorian fiction expert, who is a hip-hop aficionado, and we’re bringing over the Egyptian rapper Deeb who was involved in the Tahrir Square uprising and thinks hip-hop has fostered revolution in North Africa.

Also flying in for an exclusive London appearance will be Jaron Lanier, computer scientist, virtual reality pioneer, composer and one of TIME’s 100 most influential people of 2010; and there’ll be critical voices from Shaun Bailey, David Cameron’s adviser on youth and crime, and Hattie Collins, music editor of i-D magazine.

In our new quick-fire courtroom format, there’ll be two brilliant advocates grilling our panel of hip-hop fans and critics and building a case either for or against the motion. Hip-hop is a state of mind, an attitude of defiance that has been adopted by the oppressed all over the world. But does it help or hinder society? On June 26th our audience will decide. So have your say – come to the Barbican or watch live on YouTube and vote online.

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