Dr. Msia Kibona Clark is an Associate Professor of African cultural & feminist studies in the Department of African Studies at Howard University. Her work explores the role of cultural representations in presenting narratives that shape identities and perceptions around race, gender, and sexuality. Her work also explores African feminist activism and cyberactivism in digital and social media spaces. She has published four books (Hip-Hop in Africa: Prophets of the City and Dustyfoot Philosophers, African Women in Digital Spaces: Redefining Social Movements on the Continent and in the Diaspora, Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa: Ni Wakati, and Pan African Spaces: Essays on Black Transnationalism. Her more recent articles and book chapters include “Hip-Hop and Human Rights in Africa”, “Feminisms in African Hip-Hop”, “The Contemporary African Diaspora”, “The Evolution of a Bicultural Identity, in the Shadows of Nyerere’s Pan Africanism”, and “African Women and Hip-Hop in the Diaspora”.
She teaches the courses "Black Women & Popular Culture" at Howard University and "Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa", which is a joint course between George Washington University and Howard University. Along with students in the Hip Hop in Africa course, she produces The Hip Hop African Blog hosted at hiphopafrican.com. The site is also home to The Hip Hop African Podcast, which is also on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, and other podcast platforms.
Dr. Kibona Clark was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Dar es Salaam (2013/14), and she is currently a member of the Board of Trustees for the Diaspora Community of Tanzanians in America (DICOTA), and a member of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and the African Studies Association of Africa. Additionally, she sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of African Cultural Studies and the Global Hip Hop Studies Journal
Dr. Kibona Clark is also a photographer who has exhibited her work online and in print publications, as well as in art and photo exhibitions in Tanzania and the U.S.
She uses Calendly to schedule Zoom or phone appointments
African Women in Digital Spaces: Redefining Social Movements on the Continent and in the Diaspora
Edited by Msia Kibona Clark and Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed
From Tamale to Paris, Hong Kong to Texas and back to Ouagadougou, this collection of scholarly chapters, poetry and personal essays theorizes the lives of African women and people of marginalized genders on the continent and the diaspora. The book is an important intervention in conversations on social movements and their convergence with digital media and other praxis tools. The contributors bring a refreshing perspective to discourses on African feminists' agency and how this manifests in their organizing in the physical world and in the digital public sphere. The volume demonstrates the relationships between the struggles of African feminists on the continent and the diaspora charting pathways for African scholars to build coalitions and work toward collective liberation.
Book available on Amazon or African Books Collective
Hip-Hop in Africa: Prophets of the City and Dustyfoot Philosophers
Clark, Msia Kibona (2018). Hip Hop in Africa: Prophets of the City and Dustyfoot Philosophers. Ohio University Press.
Throughout Africa, artists use hip-hop both to describe their lives and to create shared spaces for uncensored social commentary, feminist challenges to patriarchy, and resistance against state institutions, while at the same time engaging with the global hip-hop community. In Hip-Hop in Africa, Msia Kibona Clark examines some of Africa’s biggest hip-hop scenes and shows how hip-hop helps us understand specifically African narratives of social, political, and economic realities.
Clark looks at the use of hip-hop in protest, both as a means of articulating social problems and as a tool for mobilizing listeners around those problems. She also details the spread of hip-hop culture in Africa following its emergence in the United States, assessing the impact of urbanization and demographics on the spread of hip-hop culture.
Studies of Gender and Popular Music in Africa
Kibona Clark, Msia. & Nikoi, Nii Kotei. (2022). Studies of Gender and Popular Music in Africa. In Simone Krüger Bridge (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Global Popular Music (online edition). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190081379.013.53.
This chapter examines post-2000 scholarship on gendered representations in African popular music from scholars based both in Africa and in the West. The authors explore the historical and geographical development of contemporary scholarship on the topic, and the voices and scholarly spaces that have often been centered. Numerous studies approach gender and popular music from interdisciplinary fields, such as African studies, women’s studies, and cultural studies. Methods often employed in these studies include textual analysis of song lyrics, and, predominantly, ethnographies to understand performers, performance spaces, and audiences. The authors also discuss the power dynamics of researchers and their interactions with the local African communities they work with. In addition, the authors focus on questions of access and inclusion of African based scholars and institutes.
Hip hop and Pan Africanism: from Blitz the Ambassador to Beyoncé
Kibona Clark, Msia. (January 2021). Hip hop and Pan Africanism: from Blitz the Ambassador to Beyoncé. The Conversation.
Hip hop is many things. Most recently is has become more of commodity, a commercial venture, but it has always been and remains a global culture that represents local realities. It speaks about where one is from – through rap lyrics, DJing, graffiti or breakdancing – by incorporating local slang, references, neighbourhood tales, sounds and styles...
Feminisms in African hip hop
Clark, M.K. (2018). Feminisms in African hip hop. Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism, 17 (2), 383-400.
Women hip hop artists in Africa have created spaces for themselves within hip hop’s (hyper)masculine culture. They have created these spaces in order to craft their own narratives around gender and sexuality and to challenge existing narratives. This research uses African feminism as a broad lens through which to examine how these women artists present challenges to patriarchy, gender norms, and the politics of respectability that may or may not align with African feminist ideologies. In addition to resistance, this research examines how these artists use their art to construct their own dynamic and multidimensional representations in ways that find parallels within African feminisms. In this study, more than three hundred songs produced by women hip hop artists were surveyed. The study revealed diverse expressions of feminist identities, implicit and explicit rejections of patriarchy, and expressions of sexuality that included agency and nonconformity.