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Rosa Clemente    

Community Organizer; Journalist; Political Activist; President & Founder of Know Thy Self Productions

Rosa Alicia Clemente is an organizer, political commentator and independent journalist. An Afro-Puerto Rican born and raised in the Bronx, she has dedicated her life to organizing, scholarship and activism. She is one of the most raw, honest, political, social and cultural voices in the country. From Harvard to prisons, Clemente has spent her life dedicated to grassroots organizing and scholar activism. Throughout her scholarly career, Clemente has been a constant on-the-ground presence through the many political struggles facing people of color in the 21st century. She travels nationally as a public speaker at colleges and universities, various organizations organizing and speaking to a wide range of communities. She was the first ever Afro-Latina woman to run for Vice-President of the United States in 2008 on the Green Party ticket. She and her running mate, Cynthia McKinney, were to this date the only women of color ticket in American history.

Clemente is the president and founder of Know Thy Self Productions, which has produced seven major community activism tours and consults on issues such as hip-hop feminism, media justice, voter engagement among youth of color, third party politics, United States political prisoners and the right of Puerto Rico to become an independent nation free of United States colonial domination. She is a frequent guest on television, radio and online media, as her opinions on critical current events are widely sought after.

Clemente is a leading scholar on the issues of Afro-Latinx identity. Her groundbreaking article, Who is Black?, published in 2001, was the catalyst for many discussions regarding Blackness in the Latinx culture. As an activist with Black Lives Matter, she has continued to address issues of Afro-Latinx Identity and anti-Blackness through her writings. As a co-founder and national coordinator of the first ever National Hip-Hop Political Convention, Clemente helped bring together more than 3000 activists to create and implement a national political agenda for the Hip-Hop generation. She also co-founded the REACH Hip-Hop Coalition, a Hip-Hop generation-based media justice organization.

Clemente’s academic work has been dedicated to researching national liberation struggles inside the United States with a specific focus on The Young Lords Party (which she wrote her master’s thesis on), The Black Panther Party, and the Black and Brown Liberation Movements of the 60s and 70s, as well as the effects of COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) on such movements. She has also written extensively on Afro-Latinx identity and politics, the intersection of race, gender and class, Hip-Hop feminisms and media justice.

Clemente is no stranger to taking on high profile celebrities. From her very first article in 2001 calling out Russell Simmons for his lack of understanding of Hip-Hop culture to her 2013 video in response to Rick Ross’ lyrics and calling upon men to put an end to rape culture. Additionally, she continually offers the public a view into her life and experience. This is hauntingly evident in her 2013 essay "Not Ready to Die but Wanting to Die: Depression, Hip-Hop and the Death of Chris Lightly." In that essay, Clemente shared the story of her depression, shining a light on the problem within the hip-hop community and encouraging people to break the silence and shame.

As an independent journalist, she traveled to Vieques, Puerto Rico to document the US Naval withdrawal from the island after 67 years of US military control. She was in New Orleans and Mississippi, as an independent journalist, a mere ten days after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the area. Her on-the-ground reports were distributed to media outlets around the world. In September 2018 days after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico she created of PR (Puerto Rico) On the Map, an independent, unapologetic, Afro-Latinx centered media collective. She is currently completing her Ph.D. at the W.E.B. DuBois Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

On January 8th, 2018, Clemente and six other women of color organizers joined actresses from Hollywood as part of the Times Up initiative and the #metoo movement.

Speech Topics

Ain’t I Hip-Hop Too?

In her keynote presentation Ain’t I Hip-Hop Too?, political activist and journalist Rosa Clemente challenges patriarchy, sexism, and homophobia in hip-hop Culture.

Brown, Black & Green: New Politics for a New Generation

The advent of shifting demographics and a black president have undoubtedly changed the political landscape of the United States. In this keynote speech, Clemente discusses the new majority and new politics for a new generation.

From the Young Lords to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

The historic appointment of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor adds a new and important page to the history of Latino culture in the United States. In her keynote address, Clemente examines history of Puerto Rico, Nuyoricans and colonialism.

Presente! Latinos y Latinas in the 21st Century

Going beyond imposed identities, politics, and borders, Clemente delivers an empowered keynote speech detailing Latino influence on American life today and in the future.

It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop: Sustainable Politics & Culture for a Radical Hip-Hop Generation

Ladies of Color First: Feminism, Women of Color & A New Way Forward

Speaking & Building Truth to Power: Media Independence for People of Color

The Green Jobs Movement: Can it Really Save Our Generation & The Planet?

Who is Black? A Puerto Rican Woman Claims Her Place in the African Diaspora

From Moments to Movements: The power of community activism and organizing

Hip Hop Intersectionality: Centering Class, Feminism and Race

Puerto Rico on the Map: Hurricane Maria, The Legacy of Colonialism and How to make a Nation

Puerto Rico on the Map: Hurricane Maria, The Legacy of Colonialism and How to make a Nation

We the People: Resisting & Speaking Truth to Power in Uncertain Times

Unapologetically Black: Afro-Latinx culture, identity and politics in the 21st Century

Untold Stories: Women of Color as leaders and resisters

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