i am a third generation Black chicagoan, former music journalist, and phd candidate and berkeley Black geographies fellow at uc berkeley in the department of geography. my research explores how music and sound as racialized features of everyday life illuminate the ways Black chicagoans internalize emplacement, navigate urban to suburban migration, and confront the geographical redevelopment of urban-regional areas in the post-civil rights era. i examine the racialization of music and sound and how they are mediated, contextualized, and experienced through the everyday rhythms of Black urban and suburban life. i am also the founder of the Black geographies graduate student conference and co-chair of the Black geosonicologies research group with the center for race and gender at uc berkeley. my colleague robert moeller and i recently published our article, "Black scale: constructing "haunted" overpasses as relational methodologies" in the professional geographer.
before matriculating to uc berkeley, i graduated summa cum laude and phi beta kappa from mount holyoke college with a bachelor's degree in Black geographies. i am the first person to graduate with this degree. i also wrote an award winning honors thesis entitled: still sweatin'...mapping house and Black bodies: place-making in the Black house music and cultural community of chicago. my thesis explored the placemaking efforts of the Black house community in chicago and the ways they exerted their sociogeographic power and (re)claimed space|place through the formation of house music, house culture, and what i termed, "house geographies." before i pursued my phd, i worked as a music journalist under the name arasia magnetic for 16 years. i served as the executive editor of the popular hip hop blog kevingnottingham.com and as a freelance writer for hip hop dx, potholes in my blog, the chicago defender, soul train, and other websites. i have interviewed aretha franklin, common, outkast, chaka khan, bob james, and many other artists.
i am a second generation Black chicagoan and phd student in the african american studies department at uc berkeley. my doctoral research explores the nexus of race, class, and gender through an interrogation of the value of Black, male labor within a post-industrial context in peri-urban cities. focusing on Gary, Indiana—the former steel capital of the United States in the wake of the great recession of 2008—my work investigates how Black working-class men thrive and build community within hyper-masculine spaces of socioeconomic marginalization. i also examine visual ethnographic practices that challenge the narrow representations of Blackness within contemporary media discourse.
before berkeley, i graduated cum laude from the university of massachusetts, amherst with a bachelor's degree in anthropology. i am also a musician, producer, and composer who is part of the eclectic grammy certified production duo tensei with chris kramer. tensei's music influences, include: hip hop, house, soul, jazz, "library music," and electronic music among others resulting in the genre bending compositions that fuse our many disparate styles. while steeped in the tradition of classic sample based hip-hop production, we do not rely on records for samples. we play and compose most musical parts with real and digital instruments and are entirely self-taught. we have worked with j ivy, bilal, georgia anne muldrow, brandee younger, and makaya mccraven. our music has also been featured on the tv show south side (set in englewood on chicago's south side) on hbo max and the blacklist on nbc. to check out our music on spotify, click here. i also produced the chicago hip hop classic, "dennehy" by serengeti and work as a solo producer, writer, and composer with sony | kpm.
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