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Dr. Mathew Knowles and Dr. Joi Carr Offer Exciting New African American Music History Course at Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University - Seaver College

Dr. Mathew Knowles

Dr. Joi Carr

Inaugural “African American Aesthetic Culture From Spirituals to Hip Hop” Course Debuts at Seaver College

Through this course, I aim to share the insights gained from my multifaceted career, offering students a firsthand perspective on the profound impact of African American music on our culture.”
— Dr. Mathew Knowles
MALIBU, CA, UNITED STATES, January 31, 2024 / -- Pepperdine University's Seaver College is offering the introduction of the African American Music History course titled "African American Aesthetic Culture From Spirituals to Hip Hop" this Spring 2024 semester. Esteemed music executive and educator, Dr. Mathew Knowles, will join forces with distinguished Seaver College Professor of English and Film, Dr. Joi Carr, to co-teach this groundbreaking course, offering students a profound exploration of the rich tapestry of African American musical heritage. This innovative interdisciplinary course will be a thrilling opportunity for undergraduate students to explore African American studies.

Launched in January, the course promises an immersive journey through the evolution of African American music, spanning from Spirituals, Country, Blues, Jazz, and R&B to the contemporary landscape of Hip Hop. This collaborative effort between Dr. Knowles, a luminary in the music industry, and Dr. Carr, a respected scholar in English and Film Studies, aims to provide students with a holistic understanding of the cultural, historical, and artistic dimensions of African American music.

Dr. Mathew Knowles, a transformative figure in the music industry, expressed his excitement about the course, noting, "As someone deeply embedded in the fabric of the music industry, from my early days in corporate America to shaping the careers of global icons, this course is not just an academic endeavor for me. It's a testament to my life's journey—a journey that spans from boardrooms at Xerox and Johnson & Johnson to the creative studios where Destiny's Child and other legendary artists found their voices. Through this course, I aim to share the insights gained from my multifaceted career, offering students a firsthand perspective on the profound impact of African American music on our culture."

Dr. Joi Carr, whose expertise spans literature, film, and African American Studies, shared her perspective: "I am thrilled to collaborate with Dr. Knowles in offering students an opportunity to examine and reflect on the profound artistic contributions of African Americans in the United States. This will be a transformative journey through the intersections of music, literature, film, culture, and history. This course is designed to foster a deep appreciation for the diverse contributions of African American artists."

The inaugural course is currently active and will run through April 25, 2024.

About Dr. Mathew Knowles
Dr. Mathew Knowles epitomizes a dynamic career marked by resilience and impact. Dr. Knowles is an accomplished author, professor, lecturer, motivational speaker, music executive, artist manager, entrepreneur, and cancer survivor. Currently holding a professorship at Pepperdine University, London College of Creative Music, Prairie View A&M and Point Blank Music School. Dr. Knowles also serves as the Dean of the Black Music Industry Certification Program at the National Museum of African American Music and in addition serving as professor at Texas South University for several years. He passionately educates in Health & Wellness, Entrepreneurship, and Music Business.

With a career spanning the corporate world and the music industry, Dr. Knowles is recognized for his pivotal role in shaping the careers of iconic artists such as Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé, and Solange. In the music industry, he has sold over 500 million records globally and has managed a global record label and collaborated with legends like Chaka Khan and Earth, Wind & Fire, The O’Jays and many more. A pioneer for Black success, Knowles' corporate journey includes top leadership roles at Xerox Medical Systems, Phillips Medical System, and Johnson & Johnson. Dr. Knowles remains a transformative force, leaving an enduring legacy in both business and the arts.

About Dr. Joi Carr, Ph.D.
Dr. Joi Carr, Professor of English and Film Studies and the Blanch E. Seaver Professor of Humanities at Pepperdine University, also serves as the Director of Film Studies and the Creative/Program Director of the Multicultural Theatre Project (MTP) at Seaver College. She teaches courses in film studies and American literature after the Civil War to present. She is the recipient of two teaching awards at Seaver College: Brett J. Love Award for Teaching Excellence and the award for Exemplary Teaching in the Area of Faith and Learning. Dr. Carr recently served in an esteemed appointment as a visiting professor and visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School in 2023, and her academic journey included a research role with Harvard University's Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project. Her commitment to interdisciplinary education and art-based critical pedagogy is evident in her extensive course offerings and her roles as an Academic Director of the Institute for Entertainment, Media, and Sports, and Director of Film Studies and African American Studies.

Joi Carr is also an author, singer-songwriter, actor, playwright, and director. Her contributions to the arts range from television appearances to theatrical productions, guest vocal appearances for national events, and appearances on R&B, Gospel, Hip Hop, and Pop/Rock recordings. She is an active member of SAG-AFTRA and serves as an elected Los Angeles Convention Delegate, an Alternate member on the SAG-AFTRA National Board and Local Board Member, and on national/local committees (EEO, Women’s, and LA Host Committees).

About Pepperdine University
Founded in 1937, Pepperdine University is an independent, Christian university located 30 miles west of Downtown Los Angeles in scenic Malibu, California. The University enrolls approximately 10,300 students across its flagship liberal arts school, Seaver College; the Caruso School of Law; the Graziadio Business School; the Graduate School of Education and Psychology; and the School of Public Policy. Pepperdine is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership. Follow Pepperdine on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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