The Power of Hip Hop Diplomacy in a Divided World

Mark Katz



Since 2001, the U.S. Department of State has been sending hip hop artists abroad to perform and teach as goodwill ambassadors. There are good reasons for this: hip hop is known and loved across the globe, acknowledged and appreciated as a product of American culture. Hip hop has from its beginning been a means of creating community through artistic collaboration, fostering what hip hop artists call building.


This is the promise of hip-hop diplomacy as Katz describes it: that it may foster deep connection in divided times, layering atop the geopolitical map another way of seeing our world - not just as a collection of fractured nations but as one planet under a groove. - Washington Post


Mark Katz is Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.