I teach, as an Assistant Professor of English, at Howard University in Washington D.C., specializing in composition, Black English Language varieties, and African American rhetoric.
I study Hip Hop, Composition Pedagogy and Cultural rhetoric, focusing primarily on democratic learning and multilingual writing instruction.
I am currently working on a manuscript, It’s Deeper than Rap: A Study of Hip Hop, Composition, and Vernacular Rhetoric. In it I study hip hop as a vernacular rhetoric that yields a variety of language practices and rhetorical strategies useful for the teaching of rhetoric and writing. Notions such as the mixtape represent a critical discursive practice in hip hop culture that produces and reproduces texts within local public spheres while creating and maintaining a hip hop counter-public and developing specific hip hop literacies in the process. Literally, it is the composition of an unauthorized album circulated among local publics and discussed passionately among hip hop heads. Conceptually, it has become a rhetorical process for understanding the ideologies, disagreements, and deliberative processes of youth culture and beyond.
Mixtapes serve as expressions of resistant writing and models of the type of spirited performances and expressive “swagger” essential to communicative eloquence. It encourages the type of deliberation, disagreement, and critical rethinking of texts essential to the rhetorical education of students and the democratic learning of citizen-critics, not simply a cultural practice but fundamentally a vernacular technique for building collective rhetorical stances.
It is one example of the types of rhetorical tropes and strategies that circulate hip hop, but remain unexamined in broader discussions of hip hop, education, and cultural rhetorics.
In addition to my professional interests, I am an avid basketball fan and player, I write poetry on occasion, and I am deeply invested in advocating for those who lack the resources to advocate for themselves or effect policies undermining their political, educational, or linguistic freedom.