Skip to main content

Pennsylvania State University Lecturer Discusses Work on Race, Power, and Hip-Hop Music

On Thursday, April 3, Murali Balaji, lecturer and doctoral fellow at The Pennsylvania State University, will discuss his scholarly paper, “White Power, Black Music: Co-option, Commercialism, Commodification, and Conglomeration in Hip-Hop,” detailing how media consolidation and the corporatization of hip-hop essentially has made rap music stagnant and has narrow-casted representations of Black masculinity. His talk will be held in the President’s Lounge of Connelly Center from 1 to 2 p.m.

Along with teaching news writing courses at Penn State, Balaji has authored two books, House of Tinder and The Professor and The Pupil: The Politics of W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson. He is the co-editor of Desi Rap, a soon-to-be-released book of essays that examines the impact of hip-hop music on South Asian Americans and Culturing Manhood and Masculinities, a forthcoming anthology on global masculinity.

Balaji is also the founder of Maruthi Consulting Inc., a diversity consulting firm whose clients include the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League and the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council. He is also the primary author of the “Hope Commission Report,” an action plan developed by the Wilmington Hope Commission to find solutions to the city’s economic and social problems.

Prior to joining Penn State, Balaji taught at Temple University for two years. He has also worked as a reporter for seven years, working for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Wilmington News Journal and the Washington Post. He also has written for several suburban newspapers in the Philadelphia area.

In 2002, the St. Paul City Council honored Balaji for his contribution to public affairs journalism. In 2005, the Asian-American Journalists Association honored him as “Chapter President of the Year” for his work in media advocacy on behalf of Asian Americans. He is also the recipient of the “Outstanding Educator Award” for his efforts in media advocacy by the Goldey-Beacom College in Delaware.

Balaji’s talk also will focus on how, despite the perception that rap is predominantly Black music, it is actually middle-aged, conservative (and extremely wealthy) white men who are the primary decision makers on what kind of rap and what kind of images should be sold.

Additional information about Murali Balaji’s presentation and Graduate Studies in Communication is available at the Communications web site. For more information, please contact Emory Woodard, Ph.D., director of Graduate Studies in Communication at Villanova.

Media Contact

Jennifer Schu

Director of Communications, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Share your story

Know a current student, faculty member or alumni doing great work? Please email your nominations and help us tell their story.