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Diaspora Studies Students Invited to Jidenna Concert After Acing Midterm

November 2019

Jidenna and Diaspora Studies StudentsAsia Leeds, Ph.D., co-director of African Diaspora Studies, did not anticipate that tweeting about an assignment in her class would lead to her students attending a Jidenna concert.

In October, Dr. Leeds tweeted that her class would be analyzing the Grammy-nominee’s “85 to Africa” project for their midterm. The artist took notice and invited students who earned an A- and above to his Nov. 5 concert in Atlanta.

“I believe that making academic theories and concepts relevant and useful for Generation Z demands creative and innovative assignments,” said Dr. Leeds. “This moment speaks to both the power of Twitter and rising social and pop culture discourse about the African Diaspora.” Alana Edmond, C’2022, one of the students selected, is grateful for the experience and professors like Dr. Leeds.

“Having to connect his album to cultural concepts was different from anything I’ve had to do before,” said Edmond. “However, much of his album and his commentary truly represents many of the features that shape the African Diaspora.”

Jidenna and Diaspora Studies Students

About Dr. Leeds
Dr. Leeds is currently a tenure track assistant professor in the African Diaspora and the World program at Spelman College. Leeds’ research interests include Afro-Latin America, Caribbean migrations, and Black women’s internationalism.

Based on fieldwork and archival research in Central America, she is currently working on her first book, which investigates black citizenship and the racial geographies of belonging in Costa Rica. Her most recent article, "Toward the 'Higher Type of Womanhood': The Gendered Contours of Garveyism and the Mapping of Redemptive Geographies in Costa Rica, 1922-1940," appears in "Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International."

Dr. Leeds received a social science in practice postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA and was jointly housed in the Interdepartmental Program in African American Studies and the Department of History.

About Jidenna 
Jidenna Mobisson arrived in 2015 with a hybrid R&B/rap sound he called swank. The son of pioneering Nigerian scientist and educator Oliver Mobisson, he cited Nat King Cole, James Brown, and OutKast among his many inspirations. The Stanford graduate signed to Janelle Monáe's Wondaland label and debuted with "Classic Man," where he delivered boastful, foul-mouthed rhymes and a neat vocal hook over a sparse, street-level beat in 2015.