This session focuses on southern rap, Afro-Futurism, and Black southern expression. Taking a look at one of Outkast’s most influential albums, the panelists will address southern artistry, the southern imagination, and the importance of recognizing southern artistic contribution. This is an interactive session involving music, presentation, and discussion.

Charlie Braxton


Charlie R. Braxton is a noted poet, playwright and Cultural critics from Mississippi, the land where the blues begin.  He is also one of the leading hip hop journalists of the 1990s. His feature articles, essays and reviews on various aspects of hip hop culture have appeared in top hip hop publications such as Beatdown, 4080, Blaze,  The Source, Rap Pages, One World, Rime Magazine, Code of the Street (UK), The Pound (Canada), Bbarak Magazine (Chech Republic), Rap Sheet, Vibe, XXL, Scratch and Murderdog Magazine. Although he has written extensively about East Coast, West Coast and Mid-West hip hop, including cover stories on Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur, Westside Connection and The Fugees.

He is best known for his groundbreaking work on Southern hip hop, chronicling the genre’s rise in the late 90s and early 2000s. During this period Braxton writings played a key role in covering Southern artists like Master P, Pastor Troy, Juvenile, Young Buck, Lil Jon, Ying Yang Twins, Outkast, Killer Mike, David Banner and countless others on a national level.  

He has also appeared on BET, CNN and the BBC’s Radio One.  In 2012, Braxton co-authored the book, Gangsta Gumbo (Camion Blanc Press, 2012), a history of Southern Hip hop was published in France. By connecting Southern hip hop to the broader history of Southern music, Braxton played a key role in helping the world to understand the beauty of the modern-day Southern culture.   

As a political commentator, Braxton’s work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Vibe, Image Magazine, and BK

Charlie Braxton is also the author of three volumes of verse, Ascension from the Ashes (Blackwood Press 1991), Cinder’s Rekindled (Jawara Press 2013) andEmbers Among the Ashes: Poems in a Haiku Manner (Jawara 2018). His poetry has been published in various anthologies including, Trouble the Water edited by Jerry Ward, In the Tradition Edited by Ras Baraka and Kevin Powell, Step Into a World edited by Kevin Powell, Roll Call edited by Tony Medina, Soulfiresedited by Rohan Preston and Daniel Widerman and the Def Jam Poetry Anthology edited by Tony Medina and Louis Reyes. In addition his poems have appeared in the literary publications such as African American Review, Cutbanks, The Minnesota Review, The Black Nation, Massiffe, Candle, Transnational Literary Magazine, Eyeball, Sepia Poetry Review, Specter Magazine and The San Fernando Poetry Journal.

Dr. Regina N. Bradley

Dr. Regina N. Bradley is an alumna Nasir Jones HipHop Fellow (Harvard University, Spring 2016) and an Assistant Professor of English and African Diaspora Studies at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA. Her expertise and research interests include post-Civil Rights African American literature, hip hop culture, race and the contemporary U.S. South, and sound studies.

Dr. Bradley earned a B.A. in English from Albany State University (GA), an M.A. in African American and African Diaspora Studies from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in African American Literature from Florida State University.

Dr. Bradley's current book-length project, Chronicling Stankonia: OutKast and the Rise of the Hip Hop South (under contract, UNC Press), explores how Atlanta, GA hip hop duo OutKast influences conversations about the Black American South after the Civil Rights Movement. Chronicling Stankonia stems from her critically acclaimed series OutKasted Conversations, a YouTube dialogue series about the impact of OutKast on popular culture. She is also the editor of a forthcoming collection of essays about OutKast for the University of Georgia Press. Dr. Bradley’s work on popular culture and race is published in south: an interdisciplinary journal, Meridians, Comedy Studies, ADA, Journal of Ethnic American Literature, Palimpsest, and Current Musicology. Dr. Bradley's public scholarship is featured on a range of news media outlets including Washington Post, NPR, NewsOne, SoundingOut!,  and Creative Loafing Atlanta.

In addition to her scholarship, Dr. Bradley is an acclaimed fiction writer. Her first short story collection, Boondock Kollage: Stories from the Hip Hop South, was recently published by Peter Lang press. Dr. Bradley’s short story “Beautiful Ones” was a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee in short fiction.

Her other stories have been featured in Obsidian, Transition, and Oxford American. Dr. Bradley’s fiction has been supported by the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and the Tin House Summer Workshop. She is currently working on her first novel based on the short story “Beautiful Ones,” The Ghosts Come Home, about the disappearance of a Black teenage boy in Southwest Georgia.

Dr. Bradley can be reached via Twitter (@redclayscholar) or through her website,


Timothy Anne Burnside is a cultural historian and museum specialist whose work explores the intersections between history, culture, and activism through the lenses of music & performing arts and contemporary popular culture.

She has been with the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) since 2009, where she collects artifacts and develops exhibitions and programs that offer complex representations of history and cultural expression. In addition to exhibition development, her background includes curatorial research, archival work, collections management, and program production. Timothy’s work encourages museum professionals and visitors alike to expand ideas of what kinds of objects museums can and should have on display, and what stories those objects can tell. Her unique museum perspective fuels her exploration ofthe changing role of museums, and how they can be spaces that engage with communities to work toward equity and inclusion.

Timothy began her career with the Smithsonian at the National Museum of American History in 2003 where she worked in the Archives Center and Division of Cultural History, then launched that museum’s hip-hop collecting initiative in 2006. In 2009 she joined what was then a small NMAAHC team to work on an exhibition about the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York that toured the country from 2010-2012. She collected objects and developed content for multiple NMAAHC inaugural exhibitions, including Musical Crossroads, Sports: Leveling the Playing Field, Taking the Stage,Cultural Expressions, and Power of Place. In addition to collecting and developing projects for the NMAAHC, Timothy is currently working on the forthcoming Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap, the first collection to include music from every major label and dozens of independent label recordings. With songs, photographs, essays, and extensive liner notes, the Anthology reveals the cultural, social and political implications of this multifaceted genre, and provides a unique window into the many ways hip-hop has created new traditions and furthered musical and cultural traditions of the African diaspora.

Timothy regularly presents at conferences across the country, speaks with college and graduate students about opportunities in the museum field, and serves on the Executive Committee of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. She received her B.A. in History, English, and Music Performance from Lawrence University, and M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University.




This will be a dialogue with industry veterans who have worked behind the scenes in the business of art and entertainment. Each of the panelists have had experience working with Hip Hop and rap music in a variety of arenas. They will help those in attendance understand some of the challenges, pitfalls, rewards, and possibilities that exist in the industry. They will also provide insight into the career paths that exist.

Ebony Haley


Ebony is a born and raised Los Angeles native. A rare millennial- obsessed with being organized with an enthusiasm for the impossible. Gradually, as her network and experience expanded, Ebony scored a amazing opportunity working alongside entertainment mogul, Sean “Diddy” Combs and the legendary music man, Andre Harrell at REVOLT TV & MEDIA. Ebony works as a Producer on REVOLT’s breakout hit show, “Music Talks” and “RMC Presents”, she also heads up the hottest music conference in the industry, RMC (REVOLT MUSIC CONFERENCE) in Miami since its inception in 2014. 

Working along side Grammy Winners & Nominees, Award winning actors & actresses, Music & Television Execs, Fortune 500 CEO’s, Politicians, Presidential Campaign Leaders, and Presidential Advisors. Ebony is highly sought after and strategic in consulting with celebrities and small businesses. Leading operational development teams, television production, branding, content creation, talent relations, and creative partnerships. This inspired her to launch BOSS LIKE ME in 2015 – A platform highlighting millennial executives, celebrities, and influencers across all industries. 

Haley holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration, specializing in organizational development and Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services. As a Consultant, Producer, and Project Manager. She has collaborated with major brands like Apple, Atlantic Records, Def Jam Records, NAN, to name a few.



Mr. Len is best known for his work with underground rap heroes Company Flow. In addition to his DJ duties there, he has toured as a DJ for a wide variety of hip-hop artists, including Jean Grae, Pharoach Monch, Murs, and Everlast. Mr. Len released his debut full-length album, Pity the Fool: Experiments in Therapy Behind the Mask of Music While Handing Out Dummys, in 2001. It featured guest appearances by Jean Grae, Juggaknots, and Mass Influence. Later he formed a group with Kimani Rogers from The Masterminds named Roosevelt Franklin. He also collaborated with Handsome Boy Modeling School member Prince Paul to produce the faux-doo wop group The Dix. He gained critical acclaim for his project The Marvels of Yestermorrow released on W.A.R. Media in 2013. Mr. LeN has also been a label owner, releasing music on his underground imprint Smacks Records. He managed PM Dawn and did voice over work for popular action comedy television series Kung Faux on Fuse network. He continues lend his talent and experience to a number of projects throughout the industry. 



Tai Allen is a poet, performer, vocalist, musician, producer and designer. He has toured domestically and internationally. He has been published in magazines such as Bomb and African Voices. Tai's work has been featured on sites such as Okayplayer, CentricTV, Soultracks, and Grown Folks Music. He has performed (or headlined) at the Apollo Theater's Music Café, National Black Writers Conference (Brooklyn), Restoration Rocks (Brooklyn), American Jazz Museum (KC), Art of Cool Festival (Durham), The Nuyorican Poets Café (NYC), CrimeJazz (Rotterdam), Blue Note (NYC), Charles Wright Museum (Detroit), Bambu (Houston) et al.

He has also coordinated and curated a number of concerts, exhibits, conferences, and festivals. A unique and refreshing artist, Tai has established a reputation as a visionary with impeccable work ethic.

Tai Allen loves basketball. Sterling Brown. Oscar Brown. Roy Ayers. King Tubby. Kevin McHale. Aretha Franklin. Things Fall Apart (both the book and Roots' LP). Kids. Renaldo. Jeter. 2001 Yankees. 2001 Nets. 2012 Giants. Chef Curry. Gelato not ice cream. Jerk Chicken, made on a drum. Oscar Wilde. Brad Pitt. Octavia Butler. Rakim. Jigga not Shawn Carter. Roti… Veggie and Chicken. Poetry. (Sometimes) Parenting. Blogs on technology or sports or politics. Sitting in the sun, somewhere near a body of water.




A Connecticut native who grew up in NYC, this rapper turned US Paratrooper landed at NCCU on the GI Bill.  After a brief stint as an aspiring Legal Eagle, Chris went on to label consulting and artist management.  Celebrating 20 plus years in the game he celebrated 2018 with his favorite accomplishment thus far, A RIAA certified gold record done independently.  

Current Clients

Nappy Roots

G Yamazawa

Ruff Ryders

Othaz Records


Past Clients

Robin Thicke



Frankie Beverly


Cash Money Records

RocAFella Records 

Universal Music Group



This session allows attendees to hear from artists about being an artist and building a career in rap. This is an honest and rich exchange between special guests and area emcees on the move. The topics are varied and the knowledge and insights shared are deep. This is a rare opportunity to find out about the grind in the artists’ own words.





The Black On Black Project curates exhibitions, events and programs aimed at encouraging dialogue between all members of the community. We document the creation and execution of exhibitions and events, along with organizing community programming aimed at creating equity within society. Exhibitions are responses to the needs and concerns of the community, like taking on gentrification, education or policy. 

The exhibition on display during Beats n Bars is called "Black On Black V2." 

Exhibition statement: Were seeing imagery that reminds us of Los Angeles in 1992, Tulsa in 1921 and Wilmington in 1898. These incidents seem to show disregard for the lives of people of color. But we bounce back because there is tremendous strength within our community.

"Black On Black V2" brings together artwork, performances and programs that seek to offer comfort, support and inspiration as we navigate through our day-to-day. Contribute to the conversation: #BlackOnBlackV2ATC.






Minorities in the Media presentation. The goal of MITM is to provide attendees the opportunity to hear directly from artists, entertainers, entertainment industry professionals, professors and more on the current and/or historical state of minorities in the media. MITM sees media as being the traditional newspaper, TV, or radio, in addition to new media such as the internet and social media. In addition to helping to bring more critical attention to the media we consume, one of the goals of this presentation is to make people aware of the various types of media portrayals (of minorities) and the intent behind them.



“I believe Hip Hop culture can be the catalyst and vehicle to improve the lives of the youth and community that it represents.  The socio-economic, educational and empowering effects of Hip Hop will be the driving force and soundtrack for change and upliftment across the globe.”

~ Konata J. Nicholson

As a social entrepreneur and Co-founder/Creator of Hip Hop Gives Back, Konata utilizes the positive aspects and immense possibilities of the Hip Hop culture to inspire, teach and empower the people represented and affected by the Hip Hop community. Konata’s knowledge of the music, culture, entrepreneurial opportunities, and philanthropic endeavors allow for the use of his work experience in Business, Networking, Community Outreach and Mentoring to improve the quality of life of those influenced by the culture and business of Hip Hop.  He was also selected as one of 100 of 2017 Atlanta’s Made Men in the fields of Entertainment & Community.

Born in Brooklyn, NY Konata J. Nicholson spent many of his formative years between the boroughs of New York City and New Jersey.  Moving to Orlando, FL as a teenager and then to Atlanta, GA to attend college influenced him socially and musically and helped to broaden his music base.  

Recognizing his desire to do more for others and for the culture that influenced that has inspired and provided a means to achieve many of his goals, Konata Co-founded Hip Hop Gives Back --, a society and cultural website and company that highlights the positive aspects and deeds by members of the Hip Hop community in 2008.  Respectfully tagged as "the Home of Hip Hop's Humanitarians", Hip Hop Gives Back shines a much needed light on the charitable organizations, programs, monetary and inspirational support the Hip Hop community gives on a regular basis. Even though Konata along with Hip Hop Gives Back had been giving back via resources, mentorship, and time, in 2013, Hip Hop Gives Back officially launched their own non-profit organization Hip Hop Gives Back Foundation.   Divinely assigned with carrying out programs and initiatives under the F.A.M.E. pillars of Fundraising, Awareness, Mentoring Education, Hip Hop Gives Back continues to be the vessel that Hip Hop and the culture utilizes to inspire, motivate, and innovate the members of the Hip Hop community of all ages.

Since its inception Hip Hop Gives Back has created or taken part in events that have given back to the community in the true fashion that is the culture of Hip Hop.  From taking part community cleanups, to the creation and on-going HHGB program “Minorities in The Media” where panel discussions with industry professionals take place Atlanta area high schools that provide awareness, education and strategies involving minorities portrayal in the media, recognizing the influence the students have with driving the conversation for change and skills on going forward to achieve their personal and scholastic goals.

Konata has been a featured presenter, panelist and social influencer for several events and organizations including The Black Man Can, Curators of Hip Hop, Philanthropy Reframed, Hip Hop University, Hip Hop Townhall, Black Celebrity Giving and A3C.  He has also created, curated and administered philanthropic events from community clean-ups, various feed the homeless events, this past March's nationwide Hip Hop for Flint water filter drive and annual youth summer camps in the Atlanta area.

Speaking Appearances at Colleges & Universities:

Florida State University

Morehouse College

Johnson C. Smith University

Spelman University

Georgia Perimeter College

Art Institute of Atlanta