Dyson, Peterson, and Nas at the Aspen Ideas Festival

I had the honor of being a scholar at last week’s annual Aspen Ideas Festival, and though I’m still processing the huge range of topics explored, I thought I’d share some of my favorite quotations from one particularly mind blowing experience, hearing Professors Michael Eric Dyson, James Baxter Peterson, and Nas (Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones) , discuss hip hop, narrative, race, and so much more. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the discussion:

@nas: When I was coming up the people around me wrote my lyrics. They were poetry, music, truth. I wanted 2 bring light 2 that.

@nas wrote ‘I can’ when his daughter was 9 years old and he realized there were no positive records @ that time.

@JBP2: @nas ‘world is yours’ is a study in intertexuality (Scarface, Gandhi)

@JBP2: what most of us hear in hip hop is the ‘deformation of mastery.’ What I hear is the mastery of form.

@MichaelJDyson: Generational tension in the black community is about an ethic of conversion.

@MichaelEDyson: Kanye was every black/latino teenager who has been Taylor Swifted in life, reclaiming their due.

@MichaelEDyson: all black innovators evoke suspicion even as they gain popularity in non-black communities.

@JBP2: the classroom felt like a mausoleum to me.

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