Hiphop activist and writer
Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow
2016-2017 Academic Year
Harry Allen, Hip-Hop Activist & Media Assassin, has written about race, politics, and culture for nearly thirty years, in such publications as VIBE, The Source, The Village Voice, The New York Daily News, and others. As an expert covering hip-hop culture, he's been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on National Public Radio, MTV, VH-1, CNN, the BBC, and other information channels.
Widely known for his long-time association with the seminal band Public Enemy, and for his “cameo” on their classic record, “Don’t Believe the Hype,” Allen has also toured the country screening his early photographs of the band, shot before their recording career. This program, Shooting The Enemy, also features a number of images that were recently acquired by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture for their permanent collection.
From 2003-2015, Allen hosted radio station WBAI-NY's NONFICTION, an arts show featuring interviews with guests as varied as Hayden Planetarium head Neil deGrasse Tyson, sculptor Richard Serra, Black Panther Party activist Kathleen Cleaver, and director John Landis.
A recent New York City transplant, Allen lives near Washington DC with his wife, Zakiya.
The Hypertext is a documentary podcast & live presentation that analyzes classic hip-hop recordings lyrically and instrumentally. That is, its objective is looking at every part and aspect of a record to see how and why it works as a musical system.
Hypertext does this by 1) reviewing a record’s original studio multitrack recordings, 2) conducting interviews with the composition’s original creators, as well as by 3) hosting conversations with diverse cultural experts and thoughtful commentators for their insights on that given record, or on matters related to it.
2016-2017: Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow