Street Folk is dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of “street” folklife. “Street,” as used here, refers to subcultures that have organically emerged out of the interrelation between ethnic traditions and socio-economic inequality in inner cities all over America. We are interested in the ways in which people have collectively seized inner-city spaces, transforming them into canvases for their idiosyncratic creativity. We offer impactful explorations of street creativity from the renown to the obscure. We also want to properly situate those cultural productions that are, rightly or wrongly, condemned. Through our dynamic analysis of street folklife – music, visual art, oral traditions, language, material culture and more – we seek to illuminate the long-standing vibrancy of inner-city life in America.
Langston Collin Wilkins, PhD. is a folklorist and ethnomusicologist based in Nashville, TN. He holds a PhD in Folklore & Ethnomusicology from Indiana University. He also holds master’s degrees in African-American & African Diaspora Studies and Folklore & Ethnomusicology from Indiana University. A native of Houston, Texas, he received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include African-American music & culture, urban folklife, hip hop culture, popular music, and the relationship between music & place.
Along with is academic work, Langston has been very active in the public sector. He is a longtime contributor to the Archives of African American Music & Culture. He also held a joint fellowship with the Houston Arts Alliance and Houston Museum of African Culture which involved him cultivating communities and documenting the folkways of traditional performers in Houston’s African Diasporic Communities. Most notably, Langston is the founder of the Houston SLAB Parade and Family Festival, an event that highlights an urban car-culture that emerged out of Houston’s black community and became integral part of local hip hop culture. The inaugural event brought over 4,000 people, from all walks of life, into the heart of urban Houston in celebration of a distinctly street-based art form.