Details

Biography
Topics
African Americans
Art & Politics
Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders
Biracial, Multiracial Identity
Hip Hop
Multiculturalism
Poetry/Spoken Word
Programs for High School Students
Racism/Racial Justice
Women & Feminism
Youth/Student Activism

Aisha Fukushima is a public speaker, educator, singer, and ‘RAPtivist’ (rap activist). RAPtivism is a global hip hop project spanning 10 countries and four continents, highlighting the ways culture can contribute to universal efforts for freedom and justice by challenging apathy with awareness, ignorance with intelligence, and oppression with expression.

As a leader of the ‘RAPtivism’ project, Fukushima has engaged in hip hop communities across the United States and from France to Morocco, Kazakhstan, Japan, Germany, England, South Africa, Senegal, India, Denmark and beyond.

As a public speaker, Fukushima combines the art of performance and lecture. In her speeches she links themes such as hip hop, global citizenship, youth engagement and activism in a way that is accessible to audiences of any age and background.

Most recently Fukushima was part of several institutes and workshops at the 2014 National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) including:
• Hip Hop Education and Social Justice: Pedagogy, Praxis, Engagement, and Action
• Hip Hop as Evolution: From Urban Shadows to the Global Mainstream and Academy
• Social Justice: Healing from Historical Harm through Stories and Analysis
• Youth Focused Intergenerational Movement Building

She was the first non-Native person to deliver a keynote address at Montana’s 2012 Schools of Promise Conference for Indigenous youth and has presented at such diverse venues as Stanford University, Michigan State University's Asian American conference, People of Color in Independent Schools (POCIS) conferences, UMass Amherst, TEDxSitka, TEDxWhitman, Rock The School Bells, Osaka University, among others.

Over the last 8 years, her passion for empowering young people through the performing arts has led her to build educational programs such as Turn Off The Stereotypes (2005), Whitman Institute of Summer Enrichment (2006) and SISTARZ, an all-girls hip hop club (2012). She has also been honored with a number of prestigious fellowships for her work from institutions such as Duke University’s Ralph Bunche Institute of Summer Enrichment, Humanity in Action’s European Program (The Netherlands) and the Thomas J. Watson Foundation.

Fukushima’s ‘RAPtivism’ work has been featured by Oprah Magazine, KQED Public Television, The Seattle Times, TV 2M Morocco, The Bangalore Mirror, HYPE, South Africa’s #1 Hip Hop Magazine, among others.

Growing up behind the scenes of the music industry, Fukushima was exposed firsthand to legendary artists who inspired the birth of hip hop such as James Brown, Funkadelic and The Stylistics. This eventually led her to create her own unparalleled vocal style blending soulful melodies, poetic lyricism, and beatboxing. Fans compare her music to the likes of renowned artists such as Lauryn Hill, Adele, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Jill Scott. Her influences also include Erykah Badu, Lupe Fiasco, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Mos Def, and countless international hip hop acts.

In 2012, Fukushima released her global “RAPtivism” (rap activism) album featuring more than 20 leading political hip hop acts from around the world including Black Noise (South Africa), Positive Black Soul (Senegal) and DJ Noize (Denmark). Additionally she has been featured on a number of albums including MAD lines’ “MAD Habits” (2012), Street Poet Inc.’s “Origins” (2012), Ras K’dee’s “Cloudwriter” (2011) and Emile YX?’s “Conscious Rhymes for Unconscious Times” (2010).

Fukushima holds an honors degree in Rhetoric and Film Studies from Whitman College (2009) with minors in French Literature and Gender Studies. She currently lives in the California Bay Area where, in addition to performing, she is the Youth Coordinator at the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC). Fukushima is fluent in French and is building proficiency in Japanese, Arabic and Wolof.
 

Testimonials

"Aisha's ability to weave arts, praxis and action is relevant and necessary to the work of education. Her intersectional work bridges and inspires the type of change needed in today's complex and globalized world."  

— Michael Benitez, Jr., Chief Diversity Officer and Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, University of Puget Sound WA

"Aisha restored hope in the future when it comes with social justice and hip hop. It was inspiring to see the use of hip hop as a way of creating social change. Her ability to convey her  discovery about how history has used hip hop to discuss social issues gave me hope for the future that I can accomplish the same thing.  She inspired me to being more creative in my own path in incorporating social justice."
— Tracey Onyenacho, Cross-Cultural Center, University of California, Irvine

"Aisha Fukushima is an artist, activist, and educator to her core. Her presentation at UAB was stunning and inspiring. The audience was engaged and students left feeling empowered. It was an honor to have her here, her knowledge of hip hop and social justice created the perfect foundation for our event...Aisha is truly amazing. She has and will continue to change our world for the better using performance as her vehicle. She is welcome in Birmingham any time!"

— Cortney Johnson, Senior Coordinator of Multicultural and Diversity Programs, The University of Alabama at Birmingham

"Aisha Fukushima is the truth! A non-stop lyrically poetic powerhouse who can blow your mind, touch your heart, and rattle your bones all in one verse."
— Tim Wise, author and speaker

"I had the pleasure to attend Ms. Aisha Fukushima's event on the University of California, Irvine's campus, where she talked amongst students about the depths of social justice in connection to the rap culture as well as the need to spark change within communities through activism. Ms. Fukushima's bubbly and charismatic personality filled the room as she discussed her "RAPtivism" movement and illustrated just how much hard work and dedication pays off. Her endless desire to keep her movement alive sparked a motivation within myself to keep working at my personal goals and dreams. Her personal story highlighted the notion that the road towards success is in no words easy, but in the end hard work towards a dream will not go unnoticed. "
— Olaitan Jimoh, Cross-Cultural Center, University of California, Irvine

Speeches

Hip Hop Education and Social Justice: Pedagogy, Praxis, Engagement, and Action

Hip Hop as Evolution: From Urban Shadows to the Global Mainstream and Academy

Social Justice: Healing from Historical Harm through Stories and Analysis

Youth Focused Intergenerational Movement Building

Media
Music for Social Justice with Aisha Fukushima | KQED Arts