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Oakland conference celebrates the innovative spirit of Bay Area hip hop



Joo Wan Kim is originally from South Korea, where he trained as a classical musician. He fell in love with hip hop after moving to the U.S. as an adult. He now leads Ensemble Mik Nawooj, which brings those seemingly disparate musical styles together. He collaborates with Khafre Jay, a rapper, educator, and executive director of Hip Hop for Change, which uses the music as a tool for education and empowerment.

Khafre and Joo Wan partnered up to make “The Future of Hip Hop: America’s Newest Indigenous Art.” It's a TED-style conference that highlights local innovators in hip hop dance, music and visual art, and it's happening this Saturday at Impact Hub in Oakland.


For a preview, they spoke with KALW's Jen Chien.



JAY: It's so important to make sure that we control the message of who we are.

  Click the audio player above to listen to the complete interview. 

Jen Chien was the managing editor for Crosscurrents and KALW News from 2016 to 2018. She has been a contributor to All Things Considered, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, BBC/PRI’s The World, Making Contact, SF Public Press, East Bay Express, New America Media, and KPFA in Berkeley, where she took part in the First Voice Apprenticeship Program. She is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Emerging Journalist Award from the Society of Professional Journalists of Northern California. She holds a BA in American Studies from Smith College, and an MA in Interdisciplinary Performance from New College of California. Before entering the field of journalism, she had a successful career as a professional dance and theater artist, teacher, and massage therapist.