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Naru Kwina collaborating with African Science Institute

Award: $34,000 Literary Arts Grant awarded in 2004

Premiered: August 2005

Spoken word artist and poet Naru Kwina and the African Science Institute collaborated to create a CD and a 30-minute theater production, “Hip Science: The Human Body 101 LIVE,” combining hip hop with scientific information about the human body as a means of giving youth access to scientific information and of introducing the sciences as professional avenues for them.

The artist and nonprofit shared concerns about low minority representation in the science, engineering, and technology professions.  The finished work was performed live in concert at the Malonga Casquelord Center for the Arts, and the lead artist and organization worked together to arrange other venues for performances and to distribute the CD.  Performances incorporated question and answer sessions led by African Science Institute volunteers. Resources from this project now are included in the Hip Learning Website.

Naru Kwina brought  over 20 years experience in education to the project–as a former teacher, after-school program director, and activist who–among other projects initiated a Black men’s forum, and a play group for children of color.  He also is a veteran in the Bay Area Hip Hop scene. In 1987 ( under the name Sir Quickdraw ) he became one of the first artists from Oakland California ever to record a rap record. He has performed with Run DMC, George Clinton, Last Poets, Spearhead, Digital Underground, Askari X, Dead Prez, and many others. Naru Kwina also was the co-founder and lead vocalist of the group “Organic Creations,” which blended Hip Hop, Jazz, Spoken Word, and Theater.