Joan Hanks, Chattanooga Poet And Rapper, Honored

Monday, December 31, 2012
Joan Hanks, a 'Rap Artist', has been officially inducted into the Center of Pop Music at Middle Tennessee State University, under the category of State Songs.
Joan Hanks, a 'Rap Artist', has been officially inducted into the Center of Pop Music at Middle Tennessee State University, under the category of State Songs.

Joan Hill Hanks, a 'Rap Artist', has been officially inducted into the Center of Pop Music at Middle Tennessee State University, under the category of State Songs.  Her "Tennessee Bicentennial Rap" is well known to her friends and associates in organizations she belongs to: Daughters of the American Revolution and Colonial Dames XVII Century, Prudhomme Fort Chapter. 

The “Tennessee Bicentennial Rap” was written by poet, Joan Hill Hanks of Signal Mountain. Mrs. Hanks had been writing poems since the 1970s and made it a practice to read her work “with a beat.” She stated later that she was “writing rap and didn’t know it.”  

In 1995 she wrote the poem that became the “Bicentennial Rap” as a fun and interesting way to teach students and citizens about the history of Tennessee. In January of 1996, State Senator David Fowler and State Rep. Bill McAfee proposed that the poem should become Tennessee’s official “Bicentennial Rap,” and the work was so adopted later that year.

During Tennessee’s Bicentennial year, Mrs. Hanks performed her poem for school assemblies, on television, and before live audiences. If the occasion warranted, she would change the line about “smooth whiskey” and replace it with “Rafting waters, swimming pools. Olympic medals. Cool, cool, cool.”

To view a video and hear the "Bicentennial Rap", visit http://popmusic.mtsu.edu/Homeland/index.html   

It has been noted that the 'MTSU Collection of Music' is the largest collection in the world.

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