Expand your knowledge and learn about Hip Hop’s rich history and global cultural currency with these informal online talks.
Welcome to the Hart House Hip Hop Café. Whether you’re a sneakerhead or a novice, an emerging fan or an old school expert, we’ve got a Hip Hop conversation for you.
Hip Hop Café is a space created for students and community to come together and explore how Hip Hop is infused into our everyday culture. Peer and community-led conversations in this space will leave you with a deeper appreciation and a greater understanding of how Hip Hop culture continues to influence our world.
Basketball is Hip Hop. Hip Hop is basketball. It’s no way Hip Hop would be around without basketballQuavo | Rapper, Producer
For this Session
Hip Hop and Basketball share an undeniable common culture. There's connective tissue between the social roots, style, and worldviews from which a majority of Black athletes and artists see their sport and their craft entwined.
Join us as we engage members of the sports media community, and our online audience, in this unique and timely dialogue. Our special guests include renowned sports writers and broadcasters Kayla Grey of TSN and Donnovan Bennett of Sportsnet.
Now, more than ever, Hip Hop and basketball are expressing a new, even stronger commonality; the need to get loud and speak truth to power regarding the systemic racism and social injustices Black individuals and communities face on a daily basis. Much like conscious rappers and Hip Hop communities surrounding them, we're seeing professional basketball using its voice and power to help shape the conversations around racial justice and social change.
U of T hip-hop conference highlights virtual storytelling, activism.Canada's National Observer, Read the article.
Special Guest Facilitators
Writer, Broadcaster at Sportsnet
Donnovan (D.J.) Bennett’s many roles with Sportsnet include being a feature host, producer, and radio host. A member of the Sportsnet team since 2013, Bennett’s work often touches on the intersections between sports and race, politics, gender, and pop culture.
Previously nominated for both a Gemini and Digital Publishing Award, Bennett has made a name for himself by telling stories on multiple platforms. In addition to his role as a writer, Bennett hosts videos for Sportsnet’s social media platforms and on radio as a co-host of Free Association, Sportsnet’s NBA podcast.
Donnovan's's Hip Hop Café theme track: Alright by Kendrick Lamar
Writer, Broadcaster at TSN
Kayla Grey is an award-winning journalist who is currently an anchor for SPORTSCENTRE on Canada’s leading sports network, TSN. When she made her debut on SPORTSCENTRE in 2018, Grey became the first black woman to ever host a flagship sports-highlight show in Canada.
Most recently, Grey was announced as weekend host of Sports AM by TSN on Quibi. She also contributes to TSN’s basketball coverage which is highlighted by serving as a reporter for the Toronto Raptors during their historic NBA Championship run. She also was a reporter for the 2019 Toronto Raptors NBA Championship parade which was attended by an estimated 1.5 million people in the city of Toronto and watched by 5.7 million people across Canada. Grey also hosts the Biosteel All-Canadian Basketball Games which is a showcase for the country’s top high school prospects.
In 2019, Grey won the ByBlacks.com people’s choice award for TV personality of the year. In 2017 She was named to CBC’s list of 150 Black women making history in Canada and CIBWE’s list of 100 women to watch.
A graduate from the College of Sports Media in Toronto, Grey began her broadcasting career in Winnipeg as a Digital Broadcast Journalist for Global News. Shortly after, she took over as a senior reporter for CFTK-TV news in Prince Rupert, British Columbia before making the move back to her hometown of Toronto to join the TSN team as a radio producer in 2015.Website
Guest Student Moderator
Ryan Lau is a 4th year undergraduate student in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto. As a physiotherapy clinical intern and as orthopaedic biomechanics research student, he is currently investigating the potential existence of asymmetries in the hip that may affect surgical procedures. He intends to enter medical school upon graduation.
Lau’s pursuit in medicine has complimented his passions of sports, pop culture, media, and social issues. Throughout his undergraduate education, he has grown an appreciation towards helping others and advocates for global awareness towards the intersectionality of culture, race, and sports.
Ryan is a Chinese-Canadian from Markham, Ontario where he grew up playing multiple sports, primarily basketball. As a DeMar DeRozan fan, and an even bigger Toronto Raptors fan, he indulges in NBA content with a passion. He could spend hours discussing anything basketball related. As a past time, he enjoys trying new foods, playing video games and spending time with loved ones.
Ryan's Hip Hop Café theme track: The Bigger Picture by Lil Baby