Dominion of New York

Art & Entertainment

August 17, 2012

Afrika Bambaataa Appointed A Visiting Scholar at Cornell

More articles by »
Written by: Kelly Virella

Afrika Bambaataa performing in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Cassio Abreu


ow here’s some news that almost makes you want to apply to college again. Afrika Bambaataa of Planet Rock Fame has been appointed to a three-year term as a visiting scholar at Cornell University. He’ll be meeting with students, professors and community groups and performing on campus starting in November. I know the chest of many a Cornell grad is puffed out now. Let’s wait to see what Bambaataa thinks about Cornell before you start your brag fest! (Yes, I admit I’m a hater.)

A youngster who once interned under me at another magazine and is otherwise a wonderful human being once said to me that he saw no reason to be excited about “Planet Rock.” I did not slap him, but I remain just as excited by hearing that song now as I do when I it debuted.

A few years ago, when I saw Erykah Badu mashup “Planet Rock”and “AppleTree” at a concert in Chicago, I almost lost my mind. I would love the chance to rap with Bambaataa about the early days of hip-hop. Meanwhile, enjoy this musical selection.

About the Author

Kelly Virella
Kelly Virella lives in an East Harlem walk-up with her husband, her bicycle and her books. She's worked as a journalist for 11 years and started this website during the summer of 2011. She fell in love with New York City during her first visit here as a 16-year-old and finally made good on her promise to move here in April 2010.


Official portrait from his tenure as US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.