Christopher Driscoll is a PhD candidate within the African American Religious Studies Program at Rice University. After receiving his bachelor’s degree focused in religious studies and anthropology from Texas Christian University, Christopher continued at TCU, enrolling in Brite Divinity School where he obtained the M.T.S. degree with a focus in Black Church Studies. His master’s thesis explored black and womanist theological responses to the problem of redemptive suffering within the black Christian tradition.
His current research interests and lecture topics include theological anthropology, philosophical theology, issues of theory and method in the study of religion, theology and culture, liberation theologies and the relationship between religion and oppression. Christopher is also co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s “Critical Approaches to Hip Hop and Religion” group.
Daniel White Hodge, PhD
Daniel White Hodge PhD is the Director of the Center for Youth Ministry Studies and Assistant Professor of Youth Ministry at North Park University. As a speaker, writer, and activist, he has spoken on many college campuses including Stanford University, UCLA, USC, & Union Theological Seminary. Dan teaches classes around the world on subjects such as Black popular culture, personality & the self, Hip Hop discourse, and race/ ethnicity within religion.
Ebony A. Utley, Ph.D. is an expert in popular culture, race, and romantic relationships. Her book, Rap and Religion: Understanding the Gangsta’s God addresses all of the above by closely examining the juxtaposition-and seeming hypocrisy-of references to God within rap music.
In her other research, Utley examines how Americans talk about race and racism, asks probing questions about women’s experiences with infidelity, investigates beliefs about marriage, and explores the tenuous relationship between hip hop and love. Her writing has appeared in a variety of high-profile publications, including Black Women, Gender, and Families, Critical Studies in Media and Communication, Truthdig, Ms. Magazine, Religion Dispatches, and Women and Language.
In addition to national radio, print, and online appearances, Dr. Utley lectures at universities across the country and is an associate professor of communication studies at California State University Long Beach. She resides on the web at theutleyexperience.com.
Anthony B. Pinn, PhD
Anthony B. Pinn is the Director of Research at the Institute for Humanist Studies and the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University. Pinn is also the founding director of the Rice University Houston Enriches Rice Education (HERE) Project. HERE seeks to explore and enhance in a creative manner the relationship between Houston and Rice University. He also served as the first executive director of Society for the Study of Black Religion and served as a member of Board of Directors/Executive Committee of the American Academy of Religion.
Pinn received the BA from Columbia University, and the MDiv. from Harvard Divinity School. Pinn also completed the MA and PhD at Harvard University. His teaching interests include liberation theologies, black religious aesthetics, religion and popular culture, and African American Humanism.
For nearly a decade, the ministry of Julian “J.Kwest” DeShazier has been an exploration in the relationship between music and faith. As artist, this Chicago native has used his unique rhythm to tell stories of deep meaning, inside and out of the church. He is a 2007 Holy Hip Hop Award winner, and has been celebrated as “Living Black History” by Urban Ministries International, while sharing stages at every major gospel music festival. His song, “So Blessed,” was featured on the grammy-nominated compilation Holy Hip Hop: Taking the Gospel to the Streets.
Monica R. Miller, PhD
Dr. Monica R. Miller is Visiting Assistant Professor in the department of Religious Studies at Lewis & Clark College where her research focuses on the intersections of religion & material/popular culture. Miller currently serves as a Senior Research Fellow with The Institute for Humanist Studies (Washington, DC) and is co-chair of a new AAR consultation entitled Critical Approaches to the Study of Hip Hop and Religion. Miller is also principal investigator of a large scale survey project in Portland, Oregon which explores religion in youth culture (Remaking Religion).
She is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Religion and Hip Hop and is currently at work on a second book entitled: Blacklandia: The Subtleties of Race in Portland (www.blacklandia.net – coming soon!).
Andre E. Johnson, PhD
Dr. Andre E. Johnson is the Dr. James L. Netters professor of rhetoric & religion and African American Studies at Memphis Theological Seminary. He also is an instructor in communications and African American studies at the University of Memphis. He serves as senior pastor of Gifts of Life Ministries in North Memphis. He is a graduate of UT-Martin and holds a Master of Divinity from Memphis Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Memphis. Editor of “The Literary Archive of Henry McNeal Turner” and the forthcoming “The Forgotten Prophet:The Prophetic Rhetoric of Henry McNeal Turner” and “Urban God Talk: Towards Constructing a Hip Hop Spirituality.”
Digital Strategist – Faith-rooted Organizer – Social Entrepreneur – Minister of Information and 2015 Social Justice Institute Fellow at Boston University School of Theology.
Jamye Wooten is the founder and publisher of KineticsLive.com ; a faith-rooted organizer that has documented social movements from across the United States, United Kingdom and Africa. He is the former program director of the Collective Banking Group, Inc. (CBG), a Christian ministry that draws together leaders from the faith, business, and public service sectors to develop and enhance economic empowerment strategies for the African American community.