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Experimental Humanities Program, Division of Social Studies, American Studies Program, Africana Studies Program, and Dean of Inclusive Excellence Present

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Shooting the Enemy

Olin, Room 102

Harry Allen, Hip-Hop Activist & Media Assassin


"When I started college in the early 1980s, I really wanted to learn how shoot, light, and, especially, develop 35mm B&W film. I took an evening class, and began to photograph whatever was around me. At that time, I was hanging out with a mobile d.j. crew, based on Long Island, where I lived. So, much of what I shot was of them.

"Eventually, though, I gave up photography, put my negatives in a bag, and began to write, ultimately growing to be a print and radio journalist with a focus on hip-hop.

"Those d.j.s, however, went on to become hip-hop legends Public Enemy and, their history-making production arm, the Bomb Squad. My photos—some of the only photo-documents of them during that period—soon were enlisted into the service of documentaries for the BBC, MTV, VH-1, and other productions. As well, a number of them were recently acquired as part of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture's permanent collection.

"This year is the 30th anniversary of Public Enemy's debut, Yo! Bum Rush the Show. In 2018, it will be three decades since the release of their landmark It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.

"Since I lived through, worked during, and documented the rise of hip-hop culture as a media professional—and this even earlier era with my camera—I’m bringing the entirety of what I've seen to Bard College, doing so in the spirit of openness and learning."

Harry Allen, Hip-Hop Activist & Media Assassin, publishes the blog Media Assassin at harryallen.info. There he writes about race, politics, and culture, much as he does for VIBE, The Source, The Village Voice, and other publications, and has been doing so for over twenty years.

For more information, call 845-758-6874, e-mail crouch@bard.edu,
or visit http://bit.ly/ShootingTheEnemy.

Location: Olin, Room 102