China and Thailand travel showcase features hip hop and more

UNI NEWS SERVICES – A night of hip hop music, art, dance and performance is planned from 7 to 9 p.m., Thursday, March 14, in Seerley Hall, Room 115, on the University of Northern Iowa campus. The UNI community and general public are welcome to attend.

Hip Hop Travel Showcase
UNI students participate in cultural festivals in China and Thailand.

The evening is an outgrowth of community collaborations that led to students from UNI and the Waterloo Community School District performing at cultural festivals in Thailand in January and in China last fall. The travel showcase will feature video of the trips as well as live performances by the students along with guest performers from Des Moines and the Waterloo area. 

The full line-up of events includes: 

  • Video of the China trip, including performances by the Waterloo Hip Hop Literacy students at the Hangzhou Citizens Leisure Festival.
  • Video of the Thailand trip, part of the Thailand International Folklore Festival, which included the UNI hip hop dance group, The Movement.
  • Live performances by both student groups. 
  • Additional hip hop performances by Des Moines-based Hip Hope, and King Tez and Marcus Jackson, local performers. 
  • Written works and art projects by Waterloo students who are part of the Waterloo Writing Project and Youth Art Forum. 

The Waterloo students who participated in the China trip are part of the Hip Hop Literacy group in Waterloo, a summer camp co-founded by Shuaib Meacham, Ph.D., associate professor of literacy education at the UNI College of Education, and Lamont Muhammed, a teacher with the Waterloo school district. Meacham sees both trips as reflective of partnerships in place. “They really grew out of community connections that have been made. Waterloo has so many resources and talent, so it’s been one of my purposes to connect with talented artists here and bring them into connection with the hip hop program.”

The trip to China grew from a connection UNI doctoral student Dongyub Back in leisure studies had with the World Leisure Organization. This led to an application to perform at the Hangzhou festival. While in China, representatives of the Thailand festival extended an invitation to perform in January. This time, UNI undergraduate students who are part of a campus hip hop dance group called The Movement joined other local artists and performers on the trip. 

The performers in both China and Thailand were treated like celebrities, Meacham said. “In China, the global demand of U.S. hip hop was a real source of fascination. We had the youngest group there, yet had teenagers looking for our kids in hallways and wanting to know them better. Thailand was more of the same, but on a larger level, because we went to rural cities there.” 

Though the trips were not coordinated by UNI, the McElroy Trust provided support to help make the China trip possible, while the UNI College of Education, Center for Multicultural Education, Provost Office and Academic Affairs helped support the UNI students’ trip to Thailand. 

Meacham and Muhammed accompanied the Waterloo students along with independent music producer “Lyrikal TMG” Marc Anthony Nalls; Sheryl Jones, a teaching assistant in the Waterloo schools; Dacia Carter, videographer and UNI digital and communications alum; and Back. Lyrikal TMG and Back accompanied Meacham and the UNI students to Thailand.


Shuaib Meacham, associate professor, curriculum and instruction, 319-273-2760,

Office of University Relations, 319-273-2761