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NYTimes Reporter, Hip-Hop Historian To Speak At PHS For Black History Month

NYTimes Reporter, Hip-Hop Historian To Speak At PHS For Black History Month

Perkins High School is excited to welcome New York Times journalist and best-selling author Jonathan Abrams for a Black History Month celebration on Friday, February 9, 2024. 

Mr. Abrams will discuss his work, including his latest book, The Come Up: An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop. For the book, Mr. Abrams conducted more than 300 interviews with DJs, MCs, artists, producers, and music insiders who all played a part in creating what has become the most popular music genre in America.

"Hip-hop has touched all corners of the world, empowering communities and giving a voice to the voiceless," Mr. Abrams said. “Ohio has a rich history with the musical genre, and I'm looking forward to sharing some of hip-hop's history and impact with the students at Perkins High School.” 

This event will be closed to the public, but PHS students are encouraged to participate in the assembly and ask Mr. Abrams about hip-hop history, his books, and career as a journalist.

Click To Read More About Jonathan Abrams

Copies of The Come Up are being made available to PHS students ahead of the program. PHS English Literature teacher Jess Van Ness is organizing the assembly. 

“I am beyond thrilled to host Jonathan Abrams at Perkins High School to start our Black History Month celebration,” Ms. Van Ness said. “He is an incredible writer, and I look forward to not only meeting him, but to the opportunity for our students to listen to him. I am hoping that with his versatile writing skills and expertise, that there will be something for every student to connect. His knowledge of hip-hop, sports, pop culture, and social justice are all topics that our students can relate to and will benefit from those discussions.”

Several PHS staff members, including Principal Jeff Harbal, have read Mr. Abrams’ book. 

“It is an interesting and enlightening account of the 50 years of hip-hop music,” Mr. Harbal said. “It intertwines pop culture and history, and gives us an understanding of the powerful meaning behind the rhymes and words of the artists. And, let’s face it, many teens enjoy listening to hip-hop, and they will connect with Mr. Abrams.”