Penn Museum’s ‘Imagine Africa,’ Reinterpreted in Hip Hop

Author: Alex Fleishman, C’14

Recently, the title of an event at the Penn Museum caught my eye: Hip Hop Artists Imagine Africa. Maybe it grabbed my attention because I hadn’t expected it, and maybe that’s that why I read on that six hip hop artists would be performing at the Penn Museum on Wednesday. Their visit is in conjunction with the Imagine Africa exhibits, one of my favorites currently at the museum. Needless to say, I kept reading.

What was next was unexpected, again. This isn’t the artists’ first visit—they came in January, and the music they will bring on Wednesday will be their original responses to the exhibit. I decided it was time to check out the artists: they’re local, and I wasn’t familiar with their music.

Darian the Great, one of the artists, has already released a song about Imagine Africa called “Foundation of Imagination.” The first line: “You ever seen something, you know, that just really spoke to your soul? I mean really inspired you, made you really take the time to think, think about who you are.” Listening on, I learn that he’s talking about the Penn Museum, which he actually mentions in the song, even along with the sphinx in one of the galleries. Ultimately, though, he raps about learning history and respecting tradition, a topic I decide I like very much.

I have a pretty busy schedule next week, with midterms, homework, etc., but I don’t think I’ll be able to miss this. A free concert that’s in the same building as my classes that day? Yes, please.

There’s more information on the Penn Museum’s online calendar here.

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Filed under Alex F., Penn Museum, The Arts, The Arts at Penn

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