Kyra D. Gaunt, Ph.D. (aka "Professor G") is a new brand of scholar-teacher. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor who teaches ethnomusicology, anthropology, and black studies at Baruch College-CUNY. My brand name is Kyraocity Works - Voicing the Unspoken through Song, Scholarship and Social Media.
ABOUT ME: Selling hip-hop studies and gender analysis in a world where particularly black girls' and women’s bodies seem to do the grunt work of exploitation in the visual world of rap videos is a tough product to pitch to students and academics alike. That is, until I throw my new jack pedagogy at ‘em.
I have an award-winning book titled The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop (NYU Press). I am a public speaker and facilitator of conversations about race--I believe anything that separates the human race is a form of racism. I am a singer-songwriter who is a classically-trained musician, a jazz vocalist who scats, and I write really emotional and enlightening R&B songs that offer touch as a revolution. And I love to write from a poetic realm. Like this start to an essay on hip-hop feminism:
"I remember the first weeks I ever taught hip-hop as music in 1996. My debut as a teaching-scholar was at the University of Virginia which was one of the top public universities in the country where 12% of the student population was of African descent. U.Va. graduated black students at nearly the same rate as white students over a five year period. That golden era is gone at most public universities around the country unless we’re talking about HBCs and HBCUs. I wrote a poem for my first day of class planting myself firmly in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson’s central campus often referred to as “The Lawn”:
Hip-hop’s come to The Lawn, kn’a mean??!?
No more margins to front or center
Black Popular Music is the name of this record.
I’m Professor G, with my P-H-and-D, tryin’ to tell you that this…ain’t…no…joke!
I’m truly professin’ hip-hop.
I’m truly a professor of hip-hop
(that don’t mean I know e’ry’thang, jus’ means I got a jawb— to represent.)"
I dare to defy boundaries. Speak to students as adults. Invite conflict. Take risks and fail very big (ask me about my failed marriage to a guy I met on FB). But I LOVE education. Higher education.
While K-12 is important. Higher ed loses over 7 million undergrads to dropping out a year. That's the size of the active users on FB. The other 16 million here in the US are failing miserably by international standards in more than just math and science.
I am committed to that revolution.
Check out the Nokia documentary featuring my work as a TED Fellow
Contact her about speaking engagements, performance, or workshops at firstname.lastname@example.org
Useful failures, singing, connecting and curation, laughter, adult playdates, getting in front of large groups and shifting their listening of what's possible with race, gender and education
Agree to be offended. A design principle for human interactions around what stops us in hard to be with conversations about race, sex, generation gaps and other differences where thinking we are better than or not as good as another group tends to show up. Agree to be Offended + Get Connected!
What if we had the freedom to be offended and stay connected? What would be possible for you and your world? And around what?
What I am passionate about empowering emerging adulthood and their greatness in higher education--http://tiny.cc/5S4IC.
Landing on my feet in the face of what seems like disaster. Moving a crowd with my singing (not singing that much lately).
My TED story? Hmm. I fell in love with YouTube and TED TALKS simultaneously when I first saw Hans Gosling's presentation. Years later I sponsored a Pangea Film Day Event at Baruch College in May 2008 with 52 people from the school and local community.
In 2007 I wrote here of a passionate desire to attend TED2008. In 2009 I became an inaugural TED Fellow which altered reality for me.
I showed my students Chris Abani's TED talk on our shared humanity and they were moved to tears. We closed the Fall '08 term with the TED talk by Majora Carter and the lid came off. We did a creative community service project asking college students to donate $ to the OLPC campaign by asking what can $199US buy in your home country.
Several TEDsters have visited my classroom incl. RuthAnn and Bill Harnisch, Bill Jensen, and Joshua Klein. In the fall of 2009, I performed at TEDxEast in NYC with Tomas Doncker, spoke at TEDx AMS in Amsterdam, and am currently organizing TEDx salons in Brooklyn, NY
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