Bakari Kitwana is a journalist, activist and political analyst whose commentary on politics and youth culture can be heard on a wide range of media outlets. He has published multiple books on rap music and hip hop culture and is CEO of Rap Sessions, an organization that brings hip hop activists, artists, and scholars to cities across the country. He has also served as an expert witness in multiple cases involving rap lyrics as evidence.
Charis E. Kubrin is Professor of Criminology, Law and Society and (by courtesy) Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. She researches the intersection of music, culture, and social identity, particularly as it applies to hip-hop and minority youth in disadvantaged communities. She is co-author of two recent amicus briefs on rap music that were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court (Elonis v. U.S.; Bell v. Itawamba County School Board). She has testified as an expert witness in five criminal cases, including two federal cases, involving rap music as evidence of alleged underlying criminal activity and has consulted on dozens of others.
Jooyoung Lee is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. He is broadly interested in how gun violence transforms the social worlds and health of young Black men in different contexts. His first book, Blowin’ Up: Rap Dreams in South Central (University of Chicago Press, 2016), is a long-term ethnographic study of young Black men growing up in the shadows of gang violence and the glittering entertainment industries in Los Angeles. This book shows how hip hop culture shields young men from the dangers of gang violence. He has served as an expert witness in cases involving rap music lyrics in Canada.
Erik Nielson is Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of Richmond, where his research focuses on the relationship between law enforcement and African American art, with a particular emphasis on rap music. He was co-author of two recent amicus briefs on rap music that were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court (Elonis v. U.S.; Bell v. Itawamba School Board) and he has served as an expert witness in criminal cases involving rap lyrics as evidence.
Eithne Quinn is Senior Lecturer in American Studies at University of Manchester, UK. Her scholarship focuses of race politics and black popular culture, and she is author of Nuthin’ but a G Thang: The Culture and Commerce of Gangsta Rap (Columbia University Press, 2005). She has been instructed by defense attorneys in five legal cases in the UK in which “grime” rap lyrics and performances have been submitted as evidence, and has testified as an expert at the Old Bailey, London.