The Politics of Race, Rap, and Incarceration: A Conversation with Mark Katz & Mariah Parker aka Linqua Franqa.

September 21st, 3:30pm - 5pm

Center for British and Irish Studies room (CBIS) Norlin Library M549

This event is being organized by the Center for Humanities & the Arts and American Music Research Center.


A Musical Performance with Linqua Franqa

September 22, 7:00pm

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

This event is being organized by the WRITE Lab/Program for Writing and Rhetoric and the A & S Office for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. For this event, 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.