A Virtual Talk and Discussion with:
Harry Allen

Moderated by
Piper Carter

DATE:  Thursday, May 14th, 2020
TIME:  6:00 pm - 7:00 pm (EST)

Increasingly, scholars of hip-hop are investigating the culture’s intersection with religious meaning and sentiment. Courses are springing up at universities around the country, with works by Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, and others bearing scrutiny, for their appeals to fealty.

However, some would argue that underlying this examination is a more pressing query; one that, even unknowingly, may undergird the entire project: Could hip-hop, with its manifold beliefs, objectives, and often sublime corpus of texts, be a religion, itself?

In his talk, Is Hip-Hop A Religion?, Harry Allen takes on this issue; perhaps the central question bracing the current explosion of hip-hop and religion studies: Have hip-hop's artists configured an indigenous spiritual system; one that might be designated a "faith"? Is Hip-Hop A Religion?, with its thought-provoking conclusions, is an ideal talk for probing the purpose of art and the metaphysical in today’s complex world.

LOCATION:  On-line

Please RSVP: nyuiaaa-cbvc-events@nyu.edu  by May 13th.
Link/invitation to join for virtual discussion will be sent to those who RSVP.

Harry Allen, Hip-Hop Activist & Media Assassin, hosts the blog Media Assassin at harryallen.info. There he has written about race, politics, and culture, much as he did for VIBE, The SourceThe Village Voice, and other publications for over thirty years. As an expert covering hip-hop culture, he has been quoted in The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, on National Public Radio, MTV, VH-1, CNN, the BBC, and other information channels. Others know him for his long-time association with the seminal band Public Enemy, and for his widely-heard “cameo” on their classic record, “Don’t Believe the Hype.”

Allen serves as an advisor to the Archives of African American Music and Culture (AAAMC) at Indiana University. From 2003-15, he was the host/producer of the weekly WBAI-NY/99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION. He worked in the crisis p.r. / public affairs department of computer entertainment giant Rockstar Games from 2004-2006. (He considers his credit on the hit title Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas his proudest byline.) His early and singular research on architectural design in computer and video games has been recognized by the Graham Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Architectural League of New York, and the MacDowell Colony.

Allen lectures at colleges and universities around the country, speaking about  documentary photos he made of Public Enemy’s members before the band was formed. This talk, Shooting The Enemy, features images that have been shown in documentaries and magazines. Many of them are also now part of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture‘s permanent collection. Allen is a 2017 Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellow at Harvard University. He is also a 2020 CAST (Center for Arts, Science, and Technology) Visiting Artist at M.I.T. Allen recently founded The HARD Agency, a boutique for developing “singular and outrageous” projects.


Piper Carter lives inside Detroit city. She is an Arts and Culture Organizer in Entertainment Justice, Education Justice, Maker Space, Environmental Justice, and Food Justice, communities. She is Host of the Piper Carter Podcast on Detroit is Different where she discusses Social Justice and Hip Hop to a world wide audience. She is an Image Maker, Fashion Photographer, featured four times on Tyra Banks’ VH-1 TV show “The Shot”; the first Black woman to shoot for hi-end publications such as French Vogue, British Elle, New York Times, Spin, & Essence Magazines; & emerging talent for music companies such as Def Jam, Sony Music, Warner Music, Universal Music, Disturbing Tha Peace, Elektra Records, & Television Cast Images for BET.

Carter is co-Founder of We Found Hip Hop (The Foundation, uplifting, celebrating, and supporting Women in Hip Hop create and build careers in a safer environment). She is Creator of Dilla Youth Day (dedicated to providing S.T.E.A.M. education to underserved and marginalized youth in Detroit). She is also Creator and Editor-In-Chief for thestudioarena.com (a sustainable fashion magazine promoting zero waste and international trade). She is a Volunteer for East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC), Cohort Member of Detroit Equity Action Lab (for Racial Equity), Founding Member of the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, Volunteer Staff Member of Detroit Independent Freedom Schools (providing supplemental education to marginalized youth as a result of a failed public education system), Adult Ally for Detroit Youth, and Alumni of Public Allies Metro Detroit.

Carter is a Member of World March of Women US Chapter, serves on the Detroit Creative Corridor Center UNESCO Detroit City of Design Stewardship Board, National Board Member of Universal Hip Hop Museum, Member of the Detroit Chapter of Hip Hop Caucus, National Board Member & Secretary of Hip Hop Congress, Detroit co-Coordinator for & National Board Member of HipHop4Foundation (providing relief to Black & Brown communities during natural disasters).

Carter received the prestigious Muhammad Ali Global Peace Initiative Women of Impact Award from The United Nations. She is a 3-Time Awardee Knight Arts Challenge by The Knight Foundation $50k Grant, Detroit Young Professionals Vanguarde Award, Community Connections Grant $4.5k Awardee, Cognizant Grant $25k Awardee, and Ford Foundation $75k Awardee. She also received The Spirit of Detroit Award for Creating Dilla Youth Day. Carter is Coordinator for Detroit Rocks The Runway at The Annual African World Festival, Multimedia Artist for Jessica Care Moore’s Black Women Rock, Part-Time Assistant Stage Manager at Chene Park Amphitheater. She is formerly co-Chair of Bravo Bravo (fundraising committee for the Detroit Opera House), Founding Member of Cosmic Slop, a Michigan based Black Rock Coalition, & former co-Owner of 5egallery & 5 Elements Arts Foundation.

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