Kenrick Wagner to perform at Asbury’s Artist Series
From staff reports
Asbury University’s Artist Series is free and open to the public and regularly spotlights artists at the epicenter of cultural movements from a variety of mediums and styles.
To kick off the series for the 2019-2020 academic year, Asbury is excited to welcome hip hop artist Kenrick Wagner to campus today and tomorrow when Wagner will use his skills to create social change and tell the stories of his community but do so with the intention to educate the next generation.
Wagner’s Artist Series feature will heavily emphasize the student interaction element of the traditional Artist Series “perform and inform” dichotomy.
The New York artist will serve as an artist-in-residence, hosting a variety of events to both educate students on hip hop as a genre, and get students involved in creating hip hop songs of their own.
“He brings materials to places to give them hope, to communicate and to teach,” said Dr. Jill Campbell, a music education and voice professor who oversees the Artist Series committee. “His journey wasn’t easy. He had family struggles and struggles with school. He’s going to come and talk about that and allow us as a campus to try communicating differently with one another.”
Wagner leads a non-profit company in the Bronx that brings quality after-school programming to kids in those communities. He often works with classrooms, teaching educators how to integrate hip hop into the classroom in order to connect with students. His in-school program Little Kids Rock also works to put music into schools, enhancing existing programs and building new programs to help students become educated in popular music.
Wagner shows students the power of popular music genres like hip hop and rap as healthy forms of expression. It is this same goal of self-expression and understanding that he hopes to bring to Asbury.
The Artist Series will begin today with a message from Wagner on the power of words in our culture, as well as a history of hip hop and rap and their transformative potential.
Tomorrow, Wagner will host a rap cypher, where students will be coached in creating their own hip hop and rap lyrics. The most courageous artists will have the chance to perform their raps in front of a live crowd at an open mic. These events are free and open to the public.