Book Launch: Hip Hop Heresies: Queer Aesthetics in New York City, July 5th 7pm EDT

Shante Paradigm Smalls's picture
July 5, 2022
New York, United States
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Black History / Studies, Music and Music History, Popular Culture Studies

Shanté Paradigm Smalls + Regan Sommer McCoy: Hip Hop Heresies - Queer Aesthetics in New York City


Tuesday July 05 07:00PM-08:00PM ET

Join us for an in-person event with Associate Professor and Co-Director of the LGBTQ+ Center at St. John’s University Shanté Paradigm Smalls for a discussion of their new book Hip Hop Heresies: Queer Aesthetics in New York City. Joining Shanté in conversation is Chief Curator of The Mixtape Museum Regan Sommer McCoy. This event will be hosted in the Strand Book Store's 3rd floor Rare Book Room at 828 Broadway on 12th Street.


Can’t make the event? Purchase a signed copy of Hip Hop Heresies here.



In-person events will be presented to a fully vaccinated and masked audience. All patrons over the age of five will be required to show proof* of having completed the COVID-19 vaccination series at least 14 days prior to the date of the event.


*Proof of vaccination will be defined as either an original vaccination card, Excelsior Pass or its equivalent. We will be checking to ensure compliance with the 14 day waiting period post-vaccination.


Registration will be required online. No tickets for entry will be sold at the door.


Unearths the queer aesthetic origins of NYC hip hop


Hip Hop Heresies centers New York City as a space where vibrant queer, Black, and hip hop worlds collide and bond in dance clubs, schools, roller rinks, basketball courts, subways, and movie houses. Using this cultural nexus as the stage, Shanté Paradigm Smalls attends to the ways that hip hop cultural production in New York City from the 1970s through the early twenty-first century produced film, visual art, and music that offer queer articulations of race, gender, and sexuality.


To illustrate New York City as a place of experimental aesthetic collaboration, Smalls brings four cultural moments to the forefront: the life and work of the gay Chinese American visual and graffiti artist Martin Wong, who brokered the relationship between New York City graffiti artists and gallery and museum spaces; the Brooklyn-based rapper-singer-writer-producer Jean Grae, one of the most prolific and underrated emcees of the last two decades; the iconic 1980s film The Last Dragon, which exemplifies the experimental and queer Black masculinity possible in early formal hip hop culture; and finally queer- and trans-identified hip hop artists and groups like BQE, Deepdickollective, and Hanifah Walidah, and the documentary Pick Up the Mic.


Hip Hop Heresies transforms the landscape of hip hop scholarship, Black studies, and queer studies by bringing together these fields through the hermeneutic of aesthetics. Providing a guidepost for future scholarship on queer, trans, and feminist hip hop studies, Hip Hop Heresies takes seriously the work that New York City hip hop cultural production has done and will do, and advocates a form of hip hop that eschews authenticity in favor of performativity, bricolage, and pastiche.

Shanté Paradigm Smalls (they/them) is Associate Professor of Black Studies in the Department of English, Faculty in Critical Race & Ethnic Studies, and Co-Director of the LGBTQ+ Center at St. John’s University.

Regan Sommer McCoy is an NYC-based curator, community archivist, and arts administrator. She is the Chief Curator of The Mixtape Museum, an initiative that encourages the research, archiving, preservation, and data analysis of mixtapes. Her mixtape scholarship has been supported by appointments with Columbia University, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, and a 2022 research grant from the Association for Recorded Collections (ARSC). Sommer is currently a board member of the Hip-Hop Education Center, a consultant to the Black Beauty Archives and the Museum of Pop Culture’s Hip Hop Collection and is on staff at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Creative Social Impact. Her most recent article, “Mixtape Memories: Hip-Hop Community and Culture at NYC’s Mixtape Museum” appears in The ARSC Journal (2021). Find her work featured in Tape Op Magazine, Oprah Daily, Columbia University News, and The Economist.

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