Political Science

MLK Week features Jan. 23 panel “Music as a Means of Protest”

Jan 15, 2014

North Central College hosts a panel discussion “Music as a Means of Protest,” featuring three North Central faculty members with hip-hop artist FM Supreme, as part of the College’s Dr. Martin Luther King Week celebration.

This free event will be held at noon Thursday, Jan. 23, in the College’s theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall. “The theme for MLK week is ‘The Power of Words’,” says Dorothy Pleas, director of multicultural affairs. “Throughout our programming for the week, we wanted to illustrate how words can be used as a tool for social change, like the words of Dr. Martin Luther King.”

Moderating the discussion will be Professor of Political Science Stephen Maynard Caliendo, who currently instructs a first-year seminar course titled Music and Politics. The panelists will talk about artists who use music as a means of protest. Faculty panelists include Caliendo, who will discuss The Clash; Professor of English Richard Guzman, who will speak about Ray Charles; and Assistant Professor of Music Jonathon Kirk, who will discuss Nina Simone. FM Supreme, Chicago-based hip-hop artist and community activist, will perform and speak about Public Enemy.

Born and raised in Chicago, Jessica Disu, also known as FM Supreme, uses language as a tool for positive change. She’s a two-time international performing poet, artist, activist and educator who describes herself as a “humanitarian rap artist.” As a two-time champion of Louder Than A Bomb, the Chicago youth poetry slam festival, Disu has served as coach and youth leader in that slam and others. Her commitment to mentoring youth extends across the globe. Recently, she toured Southeast Asia with The Peace Exchange: Chicago-Asia 2013—a community-based, educationally focused and young adult-led effort to understand violence and foster peace in some of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods. Disu has shared stages with Common, Spike Lee, Robin Robinson (FOX News), Lupe Fiasco, Nick Cannon and a host of others.

“Artists such as FM Supreme are continuing a deep tradition in hip-hop and punk rock music of instigating for justice in sophisticated, artistic ways,” says Caliendo. “Folks who attend this panel will be impressed by her commitment and thoughtfulness—in addition to the aesthetic quality—of her music."

For more information about this free event, contact Dorothy Pleas at 630-637-5156.

By Troy Kelleher ’16