New Orleans hiphop and politics: Hurricane Katrina

Grassroots musical forms are often an immensely important tool in global political and social justice movements, and hiphop is no exception. From American get-out-the-vote campaigns to Kenyan rappers protesting social injustice, hiphop has been used by countless communities and artists for protest and change. Rap music in New Orleans has long been a vehicle for addressing the ever-pervasive drug, crime, and violence issues that continue to plague the city. When Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005, many New Orleans hiphop artists were among the first to demand action and create art that shed light on the countless injustices that occurred during and after this tragic moment in American history. In this unit, we will read reflections on Katrina by hiphop artists and view some New Orleans artists' protest music, video, and film work.