Georgia Tech Hip Hop Scholar Featured in Google Arts & Culture’s Atlanta Page

Georgia Tech’s Joycelyn Wilson is featured in Google’s new curated Atlanta arts and culture page, which debuts today (June 8). Wilson, an assistant professor of hip hop studies and digital media in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts’ School of Literature, Media, and Communication, wrote the essay on Atlanta’s role in the rise of hip hop. The essay anchors the hip-hop section of the new website. Her HipHop2020 Innovation archive is also featured.

“This is an exciting opportunity to showcase the rich history of hip hop in the city of Atlanta and how culture works as an art and a technology,” said Wilson. “It’s also a wonderful way to highlight how my colleagues and I in Georgia Tech’s School of Literature, Media, and Communications are using culture as a lens to teach humanities-infused science, technology, engineering, art, and math.”

Learn more about the HipHop2020 Innovation Archive

Wilson’s scholarship focuses on social justice-oriented humanities instruction in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), hip hop, African-American music and performance, and African-American education in the South. Her scholarship also focuses on the culture, race, and technology of her native Atlanta and pop culture topics.

She is known for her use of hip hop and pop culture in her computational media and humanities classes at Georgia Tech, a technique she was among the first to use while teaching in Los Angeles public schools.

In her essay for Google, Wilson traces the rise of hip hop in Atlanta and how the city and the genre have influenced one another.

“Atlanta, as a metaphor for opportunity, has come to represent Black excellence — a dynamic of realized racial and economic progress that other populations, minorities, and corporations have benefited from,” Wilson writes in the essay. “Pairing Atlanta’ with hip hop complicates this dynamic because hip hop culture is no longer a part of the popular mainstream. It is the mainstream.”

In addition to her section-anchoring essay, the site features two stories on the HipHop2020 Innovation Archive, a collection of thousands of albums, posters, flyers, autographs, and other memorabilia collected by Michael Webster — an early hip hop DJ in Atlanta — and curated by Wilson and her Four Four Beats Lab.

One story features details on the Michael Webster Collection, which forms the bulk of the HipHop2020 Innovation Archive. The other photo story tells the story of how Wilson’s Four Four Beat Labs acquired the archive.

Google’s new site features 30 Atlanta cultural institutions, 130 stories, and more than 4,800 artifacts and artworks.

Atlanta is the fourth U.S. city to be featured in Google Arts & Culture after the Kansas City metropolitan area, Milwaukee, and Charlotte, N.C.

“We are thrilled to showcase Atlanta’s rich culture and historic art scene for everyone to explore and enjoy online at Google Arts & Culture,” said Hetal Joshi Gordon, director, global client lead, and site lead for Google’s Atlanta Office. “From the city’s historic museums to global cuisine and innovative spirit, Atlanta is unique and joyful.”

The School of Literature, Media, and Communication is a unit of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

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  • HipHop2020 Innovation Archive

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Michael Pearson