Published: Sept. 21, 2022

In collaboration with the American Music Research Center and the College of Arts and Sciences Art, Activism, and Engaged Humanities Series.

The Politics of Race, Rap, and Incarceration: A Conversation with Mark Katz & Mariah Parker (aka Linqua Franqa)
Moderator: Shawn O'Neal

Hip hop ethnomusicologist Mark Katz (Build: The Power of Hip Hop Diplomacy in a Divided World, Oxford UP, 2019) and former Athens, GA Commissioner Mariah Parker, aka as the hip hop artist Linqua Franqa, will chat about race and racism especially as they intersect with incarceration and the prison industrial complex, the role that rap and hip hop can play in liberation, and the role of art in resisting oppression, among other issues. Toward the end of their conversation they will loop in Alim Braxton aka RRome Alone, who will call in from the Central Prison in Raleigh, NC. This conversation will sure to be far reaching, powerful, and a testament to the power of music and art to change lives. 

Event Information

Wednesday, September 21

Images from event can be found on the CHA Facebook Page:

Norlin Library • CBIS Room M549 (5th floor)

184 UCB
1720 Pleasant Street
Boulder, CO 80309
To access the Center for British and Irish Studies Room (CBIS) M549, use the West entrance and take the elevator to the 5th floor or use either the north or south stairwell to the 5th floor. 

Norlin Library 5th floor map

Limited visitor parking is available on campus. For events at Norlin Library, it is recommended to use the Euclid Parking Garage. For additional parking information, including finding ADA parking options, please visit the interactive campus parking map.

Campus Map



Related Events

A Musical Performance with Linqua Franqa

September 22, 7:30pm
The Dairy Arts Center, Gordan Gamm Theatre

This concert (followed by Q and A) is being organized by The American Music Research Center, The WRITE Lab/Program for Writing and Rhetoric, and the A & S Office for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
Tickets are free but registration is required. Please click on this link and click on "Tickets" and fill out all necessary information. 


A Workshop with Mariah Parker on Artmaking, Activism, and Political Engagement

September 22, 11am - 12:15pm
UMC Room 247

For this event, organized by the WRITE Lab/Program for Writing and Rhetoric, Mariah Parker will speak into the process of becoming politically engaged through the art-making process.
Workshop Max: 40 Participants
Workshop Registration Required: REGISTER HERE


About the Speakers:

Mariah Parker, PhD, is a linguist, former Athens-Clarke County (Georgia) Commissioner, community organizer, abolitionist, and rapper.

They were part of a new wave of young people of color who have entered politics in recent years. They first made headlines after being sworn in as an Athens-Clarke County Commissioner, at age 26, with a their hand on a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X held by their mother. Photos of Mariah taking the oath went viral, highlighting the growing numbers of millennial Black people making their voices heard in local politics nationwide. As County Commissioner, Mariah is focusing on creating economic stability and racial justice as well as criminal justice reform and raising the minimum wage.

Under the stage name Linqua Franqa, Mariah performs as openly queer, hip hop artist. They recently gained local and national attention following the release of their labor movement anthem, “Wurk” and their sophomore album, "Bellringer," that targets issues like racial justice and worker’s rights, along with Mariah’s own experiences with mental health.

Mariah's outspoken commitment to racial and economic justice has garnered the attention of CNN, The New York Times, Teen Vogue, National Public Radio, Al Jazeera, The Nation, Afropunk, The Root, The Bitter Southerner, Performer Magazine among others. Their electrifying live performances and presentations call audiences to self-reflection and critical action in their lives and their communities.

Mariah is also co-host of Waiting on Reparations, a show on iHeartRadio about Hip Hop and politics where they explore the history of public policy and its impacts on Hip Hop life; what Hip Hop culture tells us about our political reality; and the role of Hip Hop in shaping our political future.


Mark Katz holds degrees from the College of William and Mary (B.A. in philosophy) and the University of Michigan (M.A., Ph.D. in musicology). Before joining the faculty at UNC, he taught at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University (1999–2006). His scholarship focuses on music and technology, hip hop, cultural diplomacy, and the violin. He has written four books, Capturing Sound: How Technology has Changed Music (2004, rev. ed. 2010), The Violin: A Research and Information Guide (2006), Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ (2012), and Build: The Power of Hip Hop Diplomacy in a Divided World (2019). His latest book, Music and Technology: A Very Short Introduction will be published in 2022. He co-edited (with Timothy Taylor and Tony Grajeda) the collection Music, Sound, and Technology in America (2012). He is former editor of the Journal of the Society for American Music and served for many years on the National Recording Preservation Board. Katz has served on the Boards of Directors of the American Musicological Society and the Society for American Music. He is a former chair of the Department of Music and former Director of UNC’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities.

Professor Katz teaches courses on music and technology, popular music, and cultural diplomacy. In 2011 he received an Innovation Grant from UNC’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities to expand the scope and reach of university-level music pedagogy. One result of this grant was the creation of several new courses, including The Art and Culture of the DJ, Beat Making Lab, Rap Lab, and Rock Lab. Aimed at students without formal musical training, these courses introduce students to composition, performance, music history, entrepreneurship, and community engagement. Katz launched the Carolina Hip Hop Institute, an intensive hands-on summer workshop that brings experienced artist-educators to teach rap, beatmaking and production, and hip hop dance.


Shawn O'Neal: My research examines the processes of colonization and settler colonialism and its effects on cultural components such as visual art and music. Through critical and intersectional scholarship, ethnomusicology and varied methodologies, my analyses focuses on the manners in which issues within race, sexism, feminism, gender, and social justice can be engaged through artistic constructions and expressions.

Center for Humanities & the Arts
American Music Research Center
College of Arts and Sciences Event Series on Art, Activism, and the Engaged Humanities