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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

PE 2.0’s Jahi presents ‘The Intersection’ at Gantt Center
Forum on hip-hop and culture
Published Thursday, June 29, 2017 4:08 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

Jahi of PE 2.0 talks about hip-hop and culture July 1 at the Gantt Center.













Music is a lot like food. It requires a balanced diet.

Jahi of PE 2.0 (The next generation of Public Enemy) presents “The Intersection” at the Harvey B. Gantt Center on July 1 from 6-8 p.m. It illustrates the magnitude of hip-hop culture as it relates to the world, not just commercialized rap sensations.

“It’s an opportunity to represent hip-hop uplifting the life affirming, family friendly, culture building aspects of hip-hop as opposed to having the same dialogue about what’s happening in the commercial space with rap music. To be able to frame it in a particular way around culture, and to look at hip-hop lyrically, from a more detailed point, and to be able to inspire and uplift; it’s also a call to action to get people to think about their musical diet.”

As Jahi illustrates, fast food doesn’t satisfy the soul.

“You can eat fast food, but it’s not filling,” he said. “Normally you’re still hungry, or sometimes you get sick, but if you’re at your grandparents’ house—if they are alive—and if they start cooking at 10 a.m. in the morning, and the food isn’t ready until 2 p.m. in the afternoon, you’re going to get a different experience in terms of what that meal could be.”

Not even half a century old, hip-hop culture is still in its infancy.

“I think hip-hop is at a wonderful place to be able to provide that [bridge], because you’re talking about a culture that is not even 50 years old,” Jahi said. “This culture has permeated every aspect of the world. I’ve been around the world a few times, and been with people who didn’t speak my language, but they knew the four elements of hip-hop. We were able to have an authentic connection based on that. I think that sometimes that gets lost in the American noise—social media machines, blogs and outlets.

“‘The Intersection’ is dealing with hip-hop, but it’s also dealing with education. This is as entertaining as it is informative. If there was an intersection where hip-hop and education met, I’d be standing on the corner. My life has paralleled hip-hop for the last 20 years, and as an educator for the last 20 years. I’m a school executive as well.”

Jahi’s work illustrates the distinction between commercial rap and international hip-hop.

“Commercial rap music pretty much sticks to themes centered around money, drugs and partying,” he said. “In international hip-hop, you might now hear as much about partying, drugs and things like that. You might hear more about social issues, world peace—life affirming things.”

“The Intersection” challenges what people, particularly the young, think they know about hip-hop culture.

“It provides the gateway for them to expand their musical diet beyond what they already listen to,” Jahi said. “I think a lot of times, young people just don’t know. Young people are targeted en mass for them to actually pick up and like styles and like artists. Sometimes they don’t even realize they’re catching the effect and not seeing the cause.”

However, Jahi doesn’t want to discredit individual preferences.

“That’s not dissing what they’re listening to,” he said. “It’s not an either-or. A balanced diet means that somebody will eat candy or chocolate from time to time. Now, if you eat chocolate for eight hours a day, that could affect your health adversely. It’s not getting rid of anything. It’s adding around it.”
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