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Music, World Languages

The Beast

About the Artist

The Beast is dedicated to education and cultural outreach. The group has developed workshops on creativity, improvisation, and the history of African-American music based on the Blackademics Hip Hop curriculum founded by emcee Pierce Freelon. Pierce Freelon is an adjunct professor of African American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University. He earned his BA in African American Studies and is MA in Pan African Studies at UNC and Syracuse, respectively. The Former Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Bebop to Hip Hop program, Freelon has educated internationally to a multi-generational audience in New York, Los Angeles, New Delhi and Accra. Pianist Eric Hirsh, Drummer Stephen Coffman and Bassist Peter Kimosh all earned music degrees from UNC with a focus on Jazz Studies.

SANKOFA: African American Music from Spirituals to Hip Hop: Students will learn elements of Storytelling, Improvisation and Call and Response in American Music. A brilliant mix of TedTalk-style interactive lecture with an exciting live band, SANKOFA educates and entertains. Students will learn about the oral tradition through the West African storyteller/poet known as the Griot; explore coded language in Spirituals; join musicians on stage to discover improvisation in Jazz; learn call and response in Reggae, and party with their teachers to some classic Hip Hop.

Developed by Pierce Freelon, a college professor, hip hop artist, and father of two, the curriculum is entertaining and informative for all ages. The performance will be tailored to appropriately suit Elementary, Middle or High School audiences.  We take careful steps to use tone, vocabulary and interactions that specifically relate to corresponding age groups.  Sankofa has been consistently lauded as “the best assembly EVER” by students and faculty alike.

Grade LevelsK-12
Maximums1200 Students, 45 minutes, 3/day
Total Fee1 performance- $1,540 / 2 performances (same day and same school)- $1,980
School Portion1 performance- $770 / 2 performances (same day and same school)- $990


  • Ragen Carlile, United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County, 919-839-1498
  • Betsy Hughes, Lakewood Middle School, 919-280-5986,