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Words @ Weeksville: Joan Morgan

  • Weeksville Heritage Center 158 Buffalo Avenue Brooklyn, NY, 11213 United States (map)
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After an incredible spring season, Weeksville Hertage Center is giving a sneak peak into what to expect Spring 2019 for Words@Weeksville as we partner with the Brooklyn Book Festival. With an incredible career as an author and journalist, Joan Morgan is heading to WHC to talk about her latest book, "She Begat This: 20 Years of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" with fellow writer Thembisa Mshaka. 

Released in 1998, Lauryn Hill’s first solo album is often cited by music critics as one of the most important recordings in modern history. "Miseducation" was recently included in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress, as well as named the second greatest album by a woman in history by NPR (right behind Joni Mitchell’s Blue). Join us for an evening celebrating this monumental album, hip-hop, and the journey of Black womanhood.


Joan Morgan began a career in journalism as a freelance writer for The Village Voice. The response to her first article, “The Pro-Rape Culture” about the Central Park jogger, “established Morgan’s reputation as a black-feminist writer who was unafraid of tacking the most highly charged topics.” A few years later, Morgan won an Excellence Merit Media Award from the National Woman’s Political Caucus for her coverage of the rape trial of Mike Tyson. Morgan went on to become an Executive Editor of Essence Magazine, and has written for Spin, Vibe, and GIANT. She recently founded her own body butter company, Emily Jayne.

Morgan is especially known for her work in the field of “hip-hop feminism,” a term she coined in her 1999 book, When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost. She has appeared on MTV, BET, VH-1, and CNN to speak about the intersection of hip-hop and gender, and conducted a 12-city tour titled “Does Hip-Hop Hate Women,” which brought national attention to the growing misogyny, sexism and homophobia in hip-hop culture. Through her writing and appearances Morgan has established herself as “one of the most original, perceptive and engaging young social commentators in America today.

Joan Morgan was born in Jamaica and raised in the South Bronx. A graduate of Wesleyan University, she has taught at the New School, Duke University, and Vanderbilt University and is currently pursuing her Ph. D in American Studies at NYU. Morgan came to Stanford to teach a course entitled “The Pleasure Principle: A Post-Hip Hop Search for a Black Feminist Politics of Pleasure.”

Thembisa S. Mshaka is a 5-time Telly Award winner and Promax/BDA Gold Award-winning writer who has served in the entertainment industry for over 18 years, spanning the areas of touring, management, magazine publishing, recorded music and technology, advertising, music supervision for film, voice over, and television. As Senior Copywriter at Sony Music, and 2-time NARM Award winner, her campaigns contributed to the sale of more than 150 million albums for artists including Lauryn Hill, Will Smith, Beyonce, Wyclef Jean, NaS, Maxwell, George Michael, Wu-Tang Clan, Bow Wow, Jill Scott and Babyface. The former GAVIN rap editor has also written for Honey, essence.com, LAUNCH.com, and served as contributing editor for The Hotness.com and BLAZE Magazine. She contributed to anthology Sometimes Rhythm: Sometimes Blues edited by Taigi Smith and 25 Hip-Hop Icons, an academic reference volume published by Greenwood Press. Thembisa is currently the Copy Director for BET Networks