Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nikki Giovanni --

I love me some Nikki Giovanni: she loves hip hop, rocks the poetry boat, and has written in praise of 2Pac: she is fierce.

An excerpt of from the above Roanoke Times piece.

The Virginia Tech professor and award-winning poet was joined by storyteller and poet Oni Lasana and Val Gray Ward, an actress, director and producer.

With their own twists mixed in, the trio performed works written decades ago by poets such as Pulitzer Prize-winner Gwendolyn Brooks and turn-of-the century writer Paul Dunbar to make a CD to accompany a book Giovanni is editing called "Hip Hop Speaks to Children."

The book -- a collection of poems and songs -- is set to be released in October and is written for children 7 to 10 years old.

The roots of hip hop run deep, and young people need to know that, Giovanni explained.

"People have wondered, 'Why has hip hop stayed around so long?' It's stayed alive because it's a legitimate art form with legitimate antecedents," she said.

Giovanni said church singing and slave traditions such as hamboning -- a West African dance involving slapping of body parts and stomping to rhythm -- were the forerunners to hip hop. And even the cadence of great political speeches could be adapted to the genre.
[click the link to read more.]

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