Rap Activist Headlining Hancock Symposium 

A woman who uses the performing arts to engage young people in her efforts to impact social change and transform ideologies will be a keynote speaker at the 2017 Hancock Symposium, to be held on campus September 20-21, 2017. 

Aisha Fukushima bills herself as a singer, speaker, educator, and RAPtivist, since she founded RAPtivism (Rap Activism), a global hip hop project spanning nearly 20 countries and four continents that highlights the ways in which culture can contribute to universal efforts for freedom and justice by challenging oppression with expression. 

An African American Japanese woman, Fukushima has been influenced by her global upbringing with roots reaching from her birthplace of Seattle, WA, to her other hometown of Yokohama, Japan. 

As a public speaker, she combines the art of performance and lecture to link themes such as hip hop, global citizenship, empowerment, feminism, and cultural activism with live musical performance. 

Her musical sound consists of an unparalleled style blending soulful melodies, poetic lyricism, looping, and beatboxing. In 2012 she released her global “RAPtivism” compilation album featuring more than 20 leading political hip hop acts from around the world. 

After her presentation at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Cortney Johnson, Senior Coordinator of Multicultural and Diversity Programs, said: “Her presentation at UAB was stunning and inspiring. The audience was engaged and people left feeling empowered…Aisha is truly amazing. She has and will continue to change our world for the better, using performance as her vehicle.” 

Fukushima’s work has been displayed in Oprah magazine, The Seattle Times, KQED Public Television, The Bangalore Mirror, and South Africa’s #1 hip hop magazine, HYPE. 

She was the first non-native person to deliver a keynote address at Montana’s 2012 Schools of Promise Conference for Indigenous Youth and has presented at such diverse venues as Stanford University, the National Conference for Race and Ethnicity (NCORE), People of Color in Independent Schools Conference (POCIS), UMass Amherst, TEDxSitka, and Osaka University. 

She holds an honors degree in Rhetoric and Film Studies from Whitman College (2009) with minors in French Literature and Gender Studies. She is fluent in French and is building proficiency in Japanese, Arabic, and Wolof. 

The theme for this year’s Hancock Symposium is “Advocacy and Activism: Leading from Where You Are.” Symposium speakers will invite campus participants to consider how they can be agents for change in defining the next century and encourage them to fulfill their potential as global leaders. #wcsymposium

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