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Joan Morgan's Biography

Member Info

Feb 2008

Joan Morgan is an award-winning journalist, author and a provocative cultural critic. A pioneering hip-hop journalist, she began her professional writing career freelancing for The Village Voice. Her first article, “The Pro-Rape Culture,” explored the issues of race and gender in the case of the Central Park jogger. The article and the heated response to it quickly established Morgan’s reputation as a black-feminist writer who was unafraid of tackling the most highly charged topics. Two years later, The Village Voice asked Morgan to cover the rape trial of Mike Tyson. Her insightful coverage earned her an EMMA (Excellence Merit Media Award) from the National Woman’s Political Caucus.

Morgan’s passion and commitment to the accurate documentation of hip-hop culture combined with adept cultural criticism placed her at the forefront of music journalism. She was one of the original staff writers at Vibe magazine and a contributing editor and columnist for Spin. Morgan has written for numerous publications among them MS., More, Interview, Working Mother, GIANT, and Essence magazines where she served as Executive Editor.

Morgan coined the term “hip-hop feminism” in 1999, when she published the groundbreaking book, When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost. Her book has been used in college coursework across the country. Fresh, witty and irreverent, it marked the literary debut of one of the most original, perceptive and engaging young social commentators in America today. Frequently reprinted, her work appears in numerous college texts, as well as books on feminism, music and African-American culture.

Regarded internationally as an expert on the topics of hip-hop and gender, Morgan has made numerous television and radio appearances — among them MTV, BET, VH-1, Like It Is, and CNN. Morgan has lectured at high schools and colleges across the country. She joined esteemed members of the hip-hop intelligentsia — Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, hip-hop historian Bakari Kitwana, filmmaker Byron Hurt, feminist author and scholar Dr. Tracey Sharpley Whiting and others — on a 12 city tour “Does Hip-Hop Hate Women” which brought national attention to the growing misogyny, sexism and homophobia in hip-hop culture.

Morgan has taught at her high school alma mater, the prestigious Fieldston School for five years. She was an instructor in the Creative Writing Program at the New School in New York City. She was also a Visiting Instructor at Duke University where she taught. “The History of Hip-Hop Journalism.”

Born in Jamaica, raised in the South Bronx, she graduated from Wesleyan University. Currently a Scholar in Residence at Vanderbilt University, Morgan resides happily in upstate New York with her son Sule.



hip-hop, bell hooks, toni morrison, gabriel garcia marquez, james baldwin, isabel allende, lite fm, jamaica, the bronx

Upcoming Works

Contributing Essayist: The Speech: Race and Barack Obama's "A More Perfect Union" by T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting (Paperback - Aug 18, 2009)


My Agents:
Sarah Lazin, Sarah Lazin Books (Literary Agent)
Theo Moll, Keppler Speakers (Speakers Bureau)
Ross Haime, Innovative Artists (Television)

Recommended Links


Simon and Schuster

Interests & Hobbies

Salsa dancing, reading, cooking