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Aisha Fukushima        

Performance Lecturer, Justice Strategist, Facilitator, Vocalist & Founder of RAPtivism

Aisha Fukushima is a Performance Lecturer, Justice Strategist, Singer-Songwriter, and RAPtivist (rap activist). Fukushima founded RAPtivism (Rap Activism), a hip hop project spanning 20 countries and four continents, amplifying universal efforts for freedom and justice. She is a multilingual, multiracial African American Japanese woman who has done lectures and performances everywhere from the United States to Morocco, Japan, Germany, England, South Africa, Senegal, India, Kazakhstan, and beyond. Fukushima’s ‘RAPtivism’ work has been featured on Oprah Magazine, TEDx, KQED Public Television, The Seattle Times, TV 2M Morocco, The Bangalore Mirror, HYPE, South Africa’s #1 Hip Hop Magazine, and Tour highlights include performing for audiences of over 20,000 people in Nepal, speaking with the President of Estonia about the power of music to create change, and sharing stages with the likes of Bernie Sanders, Emory Douglas (Black Panthers), KRS-One, Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride, The Isley Brothers, and M1 (Dead Prez).

As a public speaker, Fukushima combines the art of performance and lecture. In her speeches she links themes such as hip hop, global citizenship, empowerment, feminism and cultural activism with live musical performance. She was the first non-Native person to deliver a keynote address at Montana’s 2012 Schools of Promise Conference for Indigenous youth and has presented at such diverse venues as Stanford University, Yale Law School, Duke University, the National Conference On Race and Ethnicity (NCORE), People of Color in Independent Schools (POCIS) conferences, UMass Amherst, TEDxSitka, TEDxBend, TEDxWhitman, TEDxUWCCR, Rock The School Bells, Osaka University, among others.

Learn more about Fukushima at aishafukushima.com.

Speech Topics


The World Is Yours: Reflections of a Global RAPtivist

Aisha Fukushima is a multiracial African American-Japanese scholar, singer and RAPtivist. She founded the global hip-hop project RAPtivism (rap activism) in 2009, and has since travelled to over 15 countries across four continents challenging oppression with expression. This highly engaging performance lecture explores questions of global citizenship, identity politics and musical activism through storytelling and soulful musical melodies.

Social Justice Storytelling

This workshop explores tools for community building and organizing through social justice storytelling. First we will discuss the role of the emcee in hip-hop culture as a storyteller. Then we will learn how hip hop storytelling can be used to critically explore questions of identity, inequality and liberation. Participants will reflect on, and share their own social justice stories over beats and breaks. Using creative techniques such as body percussion, we will also practice solidarity building through movement. All levels of musical interest and experience are welcome.

Songs of Freedom

In this workshop we will learn about the power of music to create social change. We will start by exploring a history of protest songs by artists such as Billie Holiday and Nina Simone, and discuss the political relevance of those songs today. Then we will hear stories from global hip hop movements that seek to challenge oppression with expression through their own unique forms of “RAPtivism” (rap activism). In the second half of the workshop we will learn some fundamental emceeing/songwriting skills, and put them into practice by creating our own 'RAPtivism' (rap activism) freedom song verses. This workshop will inspire participants to question the status quo, see culture as a tool for social change, and to critically explore what a more free world might look like through their own creative expression. In addition to gaining some hip hop pedagogy tools, participants will also learn strategies for building solidarity through sound. This workshop is geared towards educators, administrators and students of all skill levels.

Who Run The World? Gender, Empowerment & Cultural Activism

Gender often plays a significant role in people’s daily lives from the way that a person moves through the world, to the clothes that one wears and even how one interacts with others. Even so, many struggle to acknowledge the dynamics of gender that are at play in everyday life and how they relate to larger structures of power and oppression. In this highly dynamic workshop, Aisha Fukushima draws from her experience as an African American Japanese global cultural activist and feminist, to explore the themes of women’s empowerment, feminism and imaging a world beyond the gender binary.

BALANCE, BEATS, & BREAKS

In this session we will move through some mindfulness practices to root and uplift us. This session is an opportunity to explore the power of your voice, and the power of creativity as a portal for changemaking (from the inside out). Our time together will involve music, movement, breathwork, freewriting, and sweet moments to decompress/express. Come as you are, all are welcome.

Joining The Global Cypher

This performance lecture explores stories from Aisha Fukushima’s global upbringing spanning from Yokohama, Japan to Seattle, Washington to speak to the power of art in creating a shared global platform for activism. By highlighting examples from her global ‘RAPtivism’ (rap activism) work in 20+ countries, Fukushima raises questions that challenge audiences to continue to enrich their perspectives beyond the heavily US-centric perspectives on the world that are often shared in the media. This highly engaging and dynamic performance lecture also encourages audience members to think about their own roles as global citizens and how they can be agents of change on the global stage.

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Intersectionality Matters!

This performance lecture combines the forces of music, multimedia slides and public speaking to explore the concept of intersectional justice. In this performance lecture Aisha Fukushima explores her personal story as a mixed roots Japanese-African American woman, as well as her experiences traveling around the world as a cultural diplomat and edutainer (educator-entertainer). This special experience will get audience members thinking about how systems of power and oppression intersect. It will also inspire them to think about their own role as agents of change in the world!

Free Yo Mind!

Sometimes people avoid talking about justice and inequality out of a fear of ruffling feathers, or disturbing the status quo. In this performance lecture Aisha Fukushima addresses the topic head on in a way that is accessible, entertaining and transformative for audiences of all backgrounds. Through this multimedia performance lecture Aisha inspires audiences to critically engage with the roles of discrimation, power and oppression at play in our everyday lives. Speaking from her own experiences as a global cultural activist, Aisha also turns the mic to audience members encouraging them to recognize their own power as agents of change in their respective communities.

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