Afrika Bambaataa Appointed Visiting Scholar at Cornell University

Electro-rap pioneer and head of Universal Zulu Nation Afrika Bambaataa has been appointed to a three-year term as a visiting scholar at Cornell University. The appointment – made by Cornell University Library’s Hip Hop Collection in conjunction with Cornell’s Department of Music – marks the first such university distinction for a hip-hop pioneer of Bambaataa’s stature. Bambaataa isn’t a newcomer to Cornell; last year he appeared on an academic and musical symposium on the origins and lasting impact of the hip-hop movement (watch the video here).

According to the university, whose library boasts the largest national archive on hip-hop culture including thousands of recordings, flyers, photographs and other artifacts, Bambaataa will visit Cornell’s campus several days each year to talk to classes, meet with student and community groups, and perform the music he helped create and expand, which grew from a phenomenon in the South Bronx to a globally celebrated culture. His first visit in this position will take place in November.

Obligatory press release gush from Steve Pond, chair of Cornell’s Department of Music: “Bambaataa’s place in the history of hip-hop is central and unquestioned. Cornell is honored to be his academic home for the next three years.”

Obligatory press release gush from Ben Ortiz, assistant curator of the Hip Hop Collection: “Our goals are to preserve Hip Hop’s historical artifacts and to make them available for education and outreach. We are very much committed to incorporating the voices of those who created and advanced this culture in all of our efforts.”

If this announcement doesn’t make you smile, then perhaps this photo of Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force meeting Prince Harry will.

Darren Ressler


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