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    One Mic: Pass the Mic with Asheru


D.C.-based hip hop artist Asheru, who performs the opening and closing themes for popular series The Boondocks, is a pioneer in the hip hop education movement and is the first emcee to win the Peabody Award for Journalism.
Through his latest album, Sleepless in Soweto, Asheru hopes to share about his recent travels and cultural exchange between D.C. & South African artists, facilitated in 2010 between Asheru, South African Hip Hop star, Hip Hop Pantsula (HHP), and D.C.-based arts organization, Bloombars. Says Asheru, “Sleepless in Soweto is more than just an album. It is a living, breathing document of solidarity between Africans & African Americans; tied together through the language of Hip Hop. It is a love song to South Africa, my new home away from home... This album is a direct challenge to the status quo, dominant media representation of "Blackness" both here and abroad. It is an example of where we could go with our art form and voice, and the endless possibilities of what it could be. The time is near; we are almost ready... I can't wait for you to hear it.”

Watch Past Performances

Video 1/2/2017: Wes Felton & Asheru Tribute to yasiin bey

D.C. Hip Hop artists Wes Felton and Asheru perform a show in honor of lyrical artist yasiin bey (formerly known as Mos Def) and his retirement from the music business, which coincides with his three-night farewell concert event here at the Kennedy Center through January 2.

Video 8/6/2016: Asheru & Guerilla Arts Ink Showcase

As part of Hip Hop at the Kennedy Center, Asheru and Guerilla Arts Ink present a showcase of young artists from the arts collective, including a screening of the 48-Hour Film Project from 5-6 p.m.

Video 5/6/2016: Asheru

Asheru is a hip hop artist, educator, and youth activist. He has won a Peabody Award, released several singles and collaborations with international producers, and is famously known for writing the opening theme song of the popular TV series, The Boondocks.


Youth Speaks, in collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Millennium Stage, present an evening to celebrate the winners of the national spoken word competition designed to foster discussion among young people and adults about the challenges and opportunities students face as they strive to stay on the path to graduation. Hosted by D.C. hip-hop artist Gabriel “Asheru” Benn, the program will feature performances from each of the five winners, plus an appearance by DJ Questlove and Black Thought, NPR’s Glynn Washington, and Hill Harper.  The RAISE Up project is part of American Graduate - Let's Make It Happen! - a public media initiative to address the drop out crisis, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Free general admission tickets will be distributed in the Hall of Nations starting at approximately 4:30 p.m., up to 2 tickets per person.

Video 9/27/2014: Asheru’s Guerilla Arts Ink

Founded by award-winning hip-hop artist and U.S. State Department Global Ambassador Gabriel “Asheru” Benn, Guerilla Arts Ink is a local arts organization dedicated to serving area youth with authentic arts and cultural programming and apprenticeship opportunities, led by a group of top-notch teaching artists across all genres and media. This performance is a showcase featuring the talents of a very special group of teaching artists who have dedicated their time and talents to make the world a better place.

Video 10/26/2013: Asheru

The D.C. hip-hop artist, known for writing and performing the opening theme song of the popular TV series, The Boondocks, showcases material from his upcoming release Sleepless in Soweto, a musical dedication to South Africa. This performance is a preview of the Center’s spring festival One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide.