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We Will Rise Conversation Series with Aysha Upchurch


Aysha Upchurch, the Dancing Diplomat, is an award-winning artist, passionate educator, and sought-after consultant who creates, facilitates, and designs for radical change. She holds an M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University and an Ed.M from Harvard University. Aysha is a Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she has pioneered courses and initiatives to elevate Hip Hop and movement as necessary tools of transformative education.  She is the founder and director of HipHopEX, a lab project that explores the power of Hip Hop in education through intergenerational programming.  

As a dancer/choreographer, Aysha considers herself a storyteller who leans on African diasporic movement to create stories of joy, connection, and liberation on the stage that seek to stir up that which is stagnant in order to bring performers and audiences into closer dialogue with each other and themselves. She has shared her experience and expertise about artfully designing equitable and culturally relevant classrooms, the importance of dance and movement in education, and embracing Hip Hop as a powerful literacy and lens in schooling at national conferences and most recently at TedxUConn. Endeavoring never to separate her identity as artist and educator, her work on the stage and in the classroom braids together social justice and youth advocacy and provides the foundation for her media and merchandise project D.O.P.E. - dismantling oppression and pushing education.

Queen D. Scott is an unapologetically Black hip-hop educator and MC with a mission to empower and inspire authenticity from the stage to the classroom. As an artist, Queen D. Scott deftly combines her classical background as a pianist, her fluency in technology and production, and her lifelong fascination with wordplay to immerse you in her lyrical and musical storytelling.

As an educator, Scott roots her teaching in the appreciation and examination of cultural context that challenges her students to investigate art beyond technique to expand to their creative expression through deep understanding and integrity.

A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Queen D. was the campus’ first female MC in the college’s pioneering Jazz hip-hop Orchestra. When she joined the faculty in 2006, she made hip-hop history as the first MC to teach at the institution. While serving as Assistant Professor, Scott developed two new hip-hop courses focused around women and social change. She also recently co-directed the campus’ Honorary Doctorate tribute concerts for Chairmen/CEO of Epic Records, Sylvia Rhone, and veteran hip-hop artist, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott.

Queen D. Scott’s talent and expertise has taken her around the world as a teaching artist giving master classes and workshops in hip-hop history and lyrical analysis, as well as R&B and hip-hop vocal performance. Currently, Scott serves as Assistant Chair of the Ensemble Department at Berklee College of Music and continues to pursue her artistry through work on a new album that explores Black feminine identity.


Watch the recording here. Password: w9z$!eK?

Join Aysha Upchurch in conversation with Berklee College of Music's Assistant Chair of Ensembles, Queen D. Scott, for an authentic and vibrant discussion about utilizing your passion for radical change. Learn about Aysha and the many hats she wears as a dancer, choreographer, educator, entrepreneur, and consultant, in addition to what it means to be D.Ø.P.E. - dismantling oppression, pushing education - through hip hop, performance art, and innovative creation and design.