ANSLEY JONES AKA JUKEBOXX (FLORIDA AMBASSADOR)
Ansley Jones is a dance historian, movement professor, writer, jewelry and crochet artist, hip hop feminist and human rights activist. She began battling, performing and choreographing in the seventh grade for various cheerleading and dance teams around her hometown in Augusta, GA and continued into college. She has choreographed for Savannah State University’s Hip Hop dance team “The Ampliphiers,” the Savannah State University Collegiate Dance Ensemble, and later, at Florida State University. She earned her BA a BFA in Visual and Performing Arts at Savannah State University in 2008 and her MA in American Dance Studies in 2011 at Florida State University 2011. Some of Ansley’s choreographic accomplishments that have been recognized include two-time winner as the “Audience’s Favorite Performer” at the Third Annual Celebration of Women and Girls event in Tallahassee, Florida, with the second half of the show dedicated to her choreographic suite focusing on the before and after experience and the survival of rape. In 2006, Jones won a September-October show of “Showtime at the Apollo Theater” in New York City. She was accepted into the Next Level program in the summer of 2014, an initiative of the US Department of State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; a program that sends the top hip hop artist-educators around the world to teach peace and conflict resolution skills through hip hop culture. Ansley taught for Next Level’s Hip Hop dance academy in Patna Bihar as well as Kolkata, West Bengal India. Currently she is promoting her social movement “The Jukeboxx Movement: Hip Hop Feminism,” an organization dedicated to eradicating sexism, misogyny and specifically misogynoir in hip hop culture along with the release of her musical project “The Assault Mixtape” for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month April 2015. Her article “Bgirls as Drag Kings” will be published in a forthcoming anthology entitled “Dance in American Culture” co-edited by Dr. Sally R. Sommer, Dr. Tricia Young and Dr. Jennifer Bishop of the Florida State University School of Dance.
JASON BROWN (MARYLAND)
Native to Miami, Jason Brown attended FAMU to pursue an accounting degree. Always feeling a pull towards cinema he felt this passion grow during his college. Placing his thoughts onto paper, the notes turned into scripts and eventually he invested in his first camera and the rest is history. Jason started out doing weddings and different events then in 2005, he created his first movie, “Life’s Precisous”. Upon graduating in 2008, Jason enlisted in the military. Since then he has produced two more short films, several music videos, and many other projects.
In the beginning 2016, Jason plans on attending Sheffield Institute to study video production to further his education in the film industry.
JOSEPH GORRE (HAWAII AMBASSADOR)
Hip Hop is a means and medium of navigation, but also a place where and process that I am allowed and tested to assert Self.
Hip Hop for me has come in waves.
As a culture, it was something I was almost born and raised into, definitely something I was raised around. Growing up the “bunso”(youngest) in a Filipino family, I feel you learn to look, listen and observe as well as develop a respect and desire to be like your elders. My Tito Mike, who I like to call the Filipino Fresh Prince due to his move from Philly to Vegas so he could finish school and stay out of trouble, was more so another big brother than an uncle. He introduced a large part of mine and my kuya’s(big brother) knowledge of Hip Hop culture as primarily a Writer and Emcee. My kuya also excelled as a Writer and Emcee and also as a dancer, more so a Popper than a B-Boy. I grew up witnessing and admiring two generations of artistic expression, in an array, a spectrum of words written in various languages, fonts and colors, all along rhythmic sounds laced with words of passion spanning from love to anger and stories and emotions only movements of the body can tell…all in my direct environment, all in my own home.
Hip Hop has always been cool and a cool way to do things, this I now understand and translate to importance. If Filipino was the culture I was given, Hip Hop was the culture I chose, or at least the way I chose to be…me.
In my what my still young self would call my formative years Hip Hop came to me via martial arts and anime. Again as a little brother I watched my Si-hings(kung fu big brother’s/senior students) kick pads and swing swords to the fierce sounds and cryptic lyrics of the Wu-tang Clan and making like references to Samurai Champloo and Avatar. I spent my middle school years as a Closet Hiphoppa, digging through old boxes for my kuya’s paint pens and black books, memorizing the words to every Kanye and Lupe song and rhyming my own freestyles all alone or in my head. By high school was when I decided to test the waters as a B-Boy but ended up more a spectator than a breaker…
CHANTEL BLACK (TRAVELING AMBASSADOR)
Chantell Black is an active duty Army journalist and freelance writer who lives in New Orleans, but will be quick to let you know she’s born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She likes Little Dragon as much as Kendrick Lamar, with an ear very inclined to listen to reggae, pop, soca, EDM, gospel, hip hop (with a purpose) and R&B. A concert chaser but fairly new to the music festival scene, she’s hoping to collect more wristbands than handbags in the coming years, taking more advantage of experiences rather than things as she approaches a new decade in life. At least that’s what all the cool 30-year-olds are saying and she’s following suit. To read more about her domestic and international experiences chronicled on her blog, check out www.blacknbklyn.com and follow her on IG and Twitter: @blacknbklyn
PATRICK WILLIAMSON (NEW YORK AMBASSADOR)
My name is Patrick Williamson and I am a first year student at Columbia University’s Teachers College in the in the Education Policy and Social Analysis Program. As a Jamaican American male, race and urban education have been topics that I have been conscious of all my life. Growing up seeing a scarcity of positive black role models in my immediate experiences fostered a desire to change the racial dynamic in America. My father has been a DJ all my life, allowing me to be blessed enough to grow up engulfed by the heavy bass and sounds of various Rap, Hip Hop, Reggae and RnB. As we grew older and got access to different production softwares, til this day, me and my brother constantly would be using different instruments and tempos to create our own beats and sound. Furthermore, here at Columbia University, I refused to let my passion for hip hop culture fade away.
I believe that my career aspirations and ideology about education aligns perfectly with the mission of the Curators of Hip Hop. I chose the education Policy program at the Teacher’s College because I wanted to get as well rounded of an approach to urban education as I possibly could. As a Sociology and Communications double major at my undergrad, Boston College, I have studied pressing social issues focusing on the intersectionality of race, class, gender and socioeconomic status. Thus, I approach education from a sociological lens, being drawn to racial and class inequalities and their connection to education.
I enjoy taking a mentoring role with students, to provide them with an image of black excellence that defies the mainstream portrayal of people of color within the media. I believe that it is essential to see positive images of oneself on an everyday basis, whether in the media or in ones personal life, and I hope to provide this to the urban and minority youth of the rising generation.
My areas of interest are media literacy and representation, urban education and hip hop education. I am amazed at the affect that media (specifically focused on hip hop and social media) has on present day portrayals minority education, and the way that the urban and minority youth can internalize education as an institution exclusive to the dominant population. The media is the new educator of the youth. Thus, in that regard, there needs to be a form of media literacy that is taught to students at a young age so that they understand that they must be critical of the media and not to just absorb all the information presented to them. The media has the potential to continue revolutionizing education for decades to come. however, without the proper media literacy development, students will be victim to the propaganda and persuasive messaging sent out to mass audiences with the purpose of self-interest from the supporting companies.
Furthermore, I am disappointed with the lack of original Hip Hop being portrayed in the media nowadays, which is what drew me this movement. I am determined to find and foster a link between education and urban hip hop culture in a way to show minority youth that they do not have to be mutually exclusive with either a passion for hip hop culture or a passion for education. The two can and should exist simultaneously, and I am here to ensure that relationship flourishes.
AKILAH FRANKLIN (CALIFORNIA AMBASSADOR)
I am an International Business major at San Francisco State University, I have a passion for people, and cultures. In addition, growing up, music has always been a big part of my life that corresponded with my culture. Music is a language full of experience that I could relate to, and grow from. I enjoy documenting my experiences, and relaying on information that creates a platform of communication for me. It gave me an interest in creating an outlet for youth culture to relate too, and grow. These outlets expose a voice within the community that sparks change, action, and growth.