Mako Fitts

Mako Fitts is a Faculty Associate in the Department of Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University. She is the co-founder of Women Who Rock: Making Scenes Building Communities, an annual Seattle-based conference of activists, scholars, musicians and artists that promote dialogue about women, music and social justice.



""Third World Wide": Transnational Narratives of Resistance Amidst Seattle's Growth Machine"

“Third World Wide” is a track on Seattle hip-hop artist Gabriel Teodros’ 2007 album Lovework. It represents Seattle as a global city at the epicenter of transnational narratives of hip-hop that reflect urban communities in flux, resulting from transitions in the labor force, rising immigrant populations, increased urban development, displaced people of color from the urban center, and decreasing opportunities for economic and social mobility for youth. The Central District is a historically diverse neighborhood that, prior to shifts in fair housing policy and commercial investments in urban revitalization, was the primary location for the city’s Black population. This gentrified community is the site where the hip-hop generation is fusing Black, Latino and Asian-American narratives of racial, ethnic, gendered and sexualized identities with diasporic cultural legacies of resistance that reflect processes of negotiating place and belonging within a neighborhood in transition.

From artists at the forefront of the underground hip-hop scene – including Blue Scholars, Gabriel Teodros, Silent Lambs Project, Alpha P Crew, Thee Satisfaction – to hip-hop based political and community organizations – Hip Hop Occupies, Hidmo Empowerment Project, Umoja P.E.A.C.E Center, 206 Zulu – Seattle hip-hop has a profound social and political consciousness. The spaces where hip-hop artists and spectators congregate have become targets for organized acts of repression and intimidation by new urban dwellers, law enforcement, and the broader interests of the urban growth machine.

This presentation examines spaces of cultural production, consumption and the performance of counter-hegemonic hip-hop narratives that emerge within this twenty-first century Western global city and its contentious socio-political urban milieu. Moreover, the challenges for artists in producing their music as well as negotiating government, philanthropic and non-profit systems for resources to support community-centered arts programming and organizing projects.

My Speakers Sessions

Saturday, March 24

9:00am EDT