Q&A: Kashi Johnson, Class of ’22 convocation keynote speaker

Kashi Johnson, ’93, an acting professor in Lehigh’s department of theatre, served as the keynote speaker for the class of 2022’s convocation on Aug. 26. Johnson spoke with The Brown and White about her time at Lehigh, both as an undergraduate student and professor, describing how her educational plans as an undergraduate changed and how she returned to her alma mater to be a professor.

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Kashi Johnson
Not just ‘rebel music’: Lehigh professors react to China’s hip-hop ban

“When you legitimize hip-hop and integrate it into the academic setting, what it says is that it’s not rebel music, it’s not necessarily outlawed music, it’s not just ‘stuff’ I listen to at home with my friends,” Beachum said. “(Hip-hop) now serves a purpose and is present in the classroom for broader critique and analysis, to connect it to bigger, scholarly ideas.”

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Kashi Johnson
Conversation with Hip Hop Theatre Pedagogy Pioneers

I had the absolute pleasure of talking about my Hip Hop Theatre pedagogy at Muhlenberg College over the course of two days.  I was engaged in several ways including a panel conversation, leading a HHT workshop and moderating the post-show discussion for the incredible Hip Hop Theatre play Dreamscape by Rickerby Hinds.

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Kashi JohnsonComment
Clybourne Park

My latest directing project for the Department of Theatre at Lehigh University. It was a strong show. Funny, compelling and a definite audience pleaser. Phenomenal cast and production team. I'm very proud of this play and the collaborative artistry of all the people who made it happen.

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Kashi Johnson
Black Acting Methods: Critical Approaches

I am a chapter contributor to this exciting new book: Black Acting Methods: Critical Approaches. This work seeks to offer alternatives to the Euro-American performance styles that many actors find themselves working with. This ground-breaking collection is an essential resource for teachers, students, actors and directors seeking to reclaim, reaffirm or even redefine the role and contributions of Black culture in theatre arts.

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Kashi Johnson
Lehigh Alumn has Role in "Roots" Retelling

Threatt said he decided to come back to Lehigh in 2011 to finish his degree. He took a three-credit tax accounting course that he needed and, having done some modeling and acting, enrolled in some theatre courses. The latter, he said, “opened up something that was different in me.”

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Kashi Johnson
Department of Theatre Premiers "Gem of the Ocean"

Playing the role of Aunt Ester has been a tremendously gratifying experience full of challenges and rewards,” says Johnson. “Over the last couple of months I've had to dig deep to discover what it means to embody such a prominent character with conviction and authenticity. Playing the role of a 285-year-old matriarch is both physically and vocally demanding. 

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Kashi Johnson
The Most Human Experience

If they’re willing to follow me, I’ll introduce them to the transformational power of hip-hop and the exciting ways it can inspire them to celebrate who they are,” says Kashi Johnson ’93 of the students in her course, “Act Like You Know: Hip-Hop Theatre.”

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Kashi Johnson
Theatre: Act Like You Know

“My connection to hip-hop is very strong because it helped me find my footing personally and gave me the confidence to recognize that what I have to say matters. Hip Hop is my first love and theater is my passion, so it was no brainer to try and marry these two interests together”

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Kashi Johnson
Finding Their Voice

“A lot of people are looking forward to going through the process of going from feeling like they want to be shy and holding the wall to finally coming center stage and claiming it as theirs. They’re not sure how they’re going to get there—neither am I!—but we’ll get there. We always do,” said Johnson.

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Kashi Johnson