photo by kevin penton

photo by kevin penton

Greetings from Riverside!

Welcome to “Show & Prove” (S&P).  This year’s conference—held April 8-10, 2016—was an incredible one.  Show & Prove is a conference series that has grown out of the collectivity of people committed to building Hip Hop Studies as a field.  Your active participation is central to our efforts.

As people mobilize around the world to combat various institutionalized and culturally embedded forms of racism, misogyny, and homophobia, S&P enacts the possibilities of creating the space for exchange and dialogue across various forms of difference in an effort to build something substantive.  And while it matters that we gather, it also matters how we gather—with a generous intent to listen, critique, share, and develop our work both individually and collectively.  In doing so, we create an international community of scholars, artists, students, and activists. 

This year we explored the meaningfulness of spirit and performance.  While these terms are the signposts around which we gathered, the presentations, workshops, panels, and performances featured at S&P 2016 engaged these themes in distinct ways.  I don’t doubt that as a result, amazing new work will grow out of this conference. 

This year’s conference was bigger than the last one in 2012, and that one was bigger than the first.  We continue to grow, and hope to do so from now on with you!


Imani Kai Johnson, Ph.D.
Founder & Chair of the Show & Prove Hip Hop Studies Conference Series
Assistant Professor, Critical Dance Studies
UC Riverside


Dr. Imani Kai Johnson is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research focuses on African diasporic ritual cultures, Hip Hop dance in global circulation, and intersections of race, nation, and gender.  Her doctoral work on international Hip Hop dance communities is the basis for her manuscript, titled Dark Matter in B-boying Cyphers:  Hip Hop in a Global Context.  Through an examination of Africanist aesthetics within Hip Hop and specifically b-boying culture, the manuscript looks to the ritual dance circle—the cypher—to illuminate the layers of political, cultural, and spiritual understanding embedded in the practice. Using the physics metaphor of “dark matter,” the manuscript addresses histories of exclusion, marginalization, and invisibilization that fundamentally shape the aesthetic sensibilities of b-boying culture, and the ways that such aesthetics inform the current circulation of Hip Hop dance transnationally.  She has published articles in Alif, Women & Performance, and the Cambridge Companion to Hip Hop.  Dr. Johnson is the founder and conference chair of the “Show & Prove” Hip Hop Studies Conference Series.  She is currently Assistant Professor of Critical Dance Studies at UC Riverside.