Trinity Western University is especially honoured to welcome Wheaton College professor of communication Dr. Theon Hill for a special Black History Month lecture on Feb. 7 that will explore how hip-hop music has served as a soundtrack to the U.S. civil rights and social justice movement since its launch in the early 70s.
“As a Christian scholar, I look at black civic engagement through the Biblical lens of prophetic communication, which is the act of speaking uncomfortable truths to promote social justice.”
Faith, communication, and black civic engagement
Dr. Theon Hill, who teaches courses in hip-hop culture and has analyzed the speeches of figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama, will speak about the links between the rhetoric of notable black civil rights champions and political leaders and the hip-hop music of well known rappers like Kendrick Lamar. In addition to teaching, Dr. Hill is also co-director of the Wheaton College Center for Faith and Innovation and a Civil Society Fellow with the Aspen Institute.
“As a Christian scholar, I look at black civic engagement through the Biblical lens of prophetic communication, which is the act of speaking uncomfortable truths to promote social justice,” Hill said. “This is a message you hear from the prophets in the Old Testament, from civil rights voices like Dr. King and also in hip-hop music, and it’s important to highlight this especially as we mark the 50th anniversary of the genre.”
Welcoming global perspectives
Dr. Jennifer Adkins, Trinity Western’s vice president for inclusive excellence and a member of TWU's Black History Month planning committee, said showcasing the pro-social contributions of hip-hop will help break the negative stereotypes some associate with black musical culture.
“Being inclusive as an institution means providing opportunities for our community to learn about and appreciate global musical cultures, and the popularity of hip-hop makes it a relevant focus for our Black History Month celebration this year,” Adkins said. “This lecture also fits well with Trinity Western University’s commitment to equip students, faculty, staff, and graduates to participate more fully in God’s renewal of the world.”
Critical thought and faithful living
The 2024 Black History Lecture with Dr. Hill is sponsored by TWU’s
School of the Arts, Media + Culture (SAMC). Dr. Scott Macklin, dean of SAMC, said the goal is to challenge students to be critical and faithful consumers and creators of popular culture.
“Whether it's the words of political leaders and pastors you hear on a stage or the music and graffiti you encounter at the street corner, communication plays a powerful role in creating and maintaining culture,” Macklin said. “But it can also be used to repair and transform culture and the School of the Arts, Media and Culture at TWU wants to shine a light on how it can perform this critical function through the artistry of black hip-hop.”
TWU 2024 Black History Month Lecture featuring Dr. Theon Hill Topic: Black Prophetic Rhetoric from the Civil Rights Movement to Hip-Hop
Wed. Feb. 7, 12 p.m.–1:15 p.m.
DeVries Centre auditorium, Langley campus
Other TWU speaking engagements featuring Dr. Hill on Feb. 7
Please see the full list of Chapel: Dr. Hill will be speaking at 11 a.m. as a prelude to his lecture
Post-Lecture Colloquium: Hear Dr. Hill dive deeper into hip-hop music as social justice discourse from 3 p.m.–4:15 p.m. Location: RNT 125.
2024 Black History Month events here.
About Trinity Western University
Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is a global Christian liberal arts university. We are dedicated to equipping students to discover meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. Drawing upon the riches of the Christian tradition, seeking to unite faith and reason through teaching and scholarship, Trinity Western University is a degree-granting research institution offering liberal arts and sciences as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has campuses in Canada in Langley, Richmond, and Ottawa. Learn more at
www.twu.ca or follow us on Instagram @trinitywestern, Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.
For media inquiries, please contact: