A University of Central Florida adjunct instructor who teaches the “Evolution of Hip Hop” and runs a performing arts company that promotes African culture has been chosen by his Union College alma mater to receive a national award for his work with enhancing diversity initiatives.
Donald Harrell of Winter Garden is one of four people selected for the Schenectady, N.Y., college’s UNITAS Diversity and Community Award in recognition of the 15th anniversary of the organization that promotes multiculturalism.
Harrell’s African American Studies course teaches about the development of hip hop and its culture in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, including its African roots and the socioeconomic forces that resisted its growth. He says the music gives African Americans a sense of unity.
Harrell and his wife, Nigerian-born Adetutu, perform in their Orisirisi performing arts company to share the stories, songs and dance of African life. Their performances educate about different cultures, reinforce morals and promote values.
Orisirisi, a Yoruba word pronounced o-re-she-re-she, translates to “different things.”