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9th Wonder, Grammy-award winning producer and Winston-Salem native, named visiting scholar at Wake Forest University

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Patrick Douthit, also known as 9th Wonder, has worked as a producer with some of the biggest names in the music world. He is a native of Winston-Salem.

Grammy-winning producer 9th Wonder is coming back to his hometown to join Wake Forest University’s African American Studies program, the school announced Tuesday.

9th Wonder, whose real name is Patrick Douthit, has worked with many of the country’s biggest stars, including Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z. 9th Wonder graduated from Glenn High School and enrolled at N.C. Central University, where he helped form the hip-hop group Little Brother.

Douthit will be professor in residence in African American Studies for fall 2022. He will teach an undergraduate seminar called, “Where It All Began: A History of Hip Hop.”

In a statement, Douthit said he’s happy to return to Wake Forest.

“I’ve been connected to Wake Forest since 1989 by way of Ernest Wade, former director of minority affairs at the University,” he said.

Douthit said when he was 14, he was selected to be part of Project Ensure, a college prep program for academically gifted minority students from Winston-Salem who were going into the ninth grade.

“I spent every summer there until I graduated from high school in 1993,” Douthit said in the statement. “Wake Forest was my very first taste of what college life could and would be. I am excited about this opportunity, and how everything has come full circle.”

Also coming to Wake Forest is poet Brenda Marie Osbey. She will be the Distinguished Professor of the Practice in Residence in African American Studies for spring 2023. She will teach the undergraduate seminar, “Modernist Africana Poetry of the Americas,” which will examine the origins of modernism among African authors of the Americas and poetry, poetics and poetry movements in Brazil, Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States from the late 19th century through the first half of the 20th century.

Douthit became a fellow at Harvard University and has been teaching hip-hop at Duke University and N.C. Central. He is also a member of the Kennedy Center’s Hip Hop Cultural Center, along with such luminaries as Questlove, Common and Fab 5 Freddy.

In 2019, 9th Wonder was inducted into the N.C. Music Hall of Fame. Wake Forest University said Douthit and Osbey will participate in special programming for both Wake Forest and the wider Winston-Salem community during their teaching semesters.

“We are so fortunate to be able to welcome these two extraordinary visiting scholars to Wake Forest,” said Dean of the College Michelle Gillespie. “Each will help our students and entire community conceptualize the multiple relationships of the arts to teaching and research in African American Studies in powerful new ways. Both Osbey and Douthit exemplify the too-little acknowledged centrality of artists in shaping history, society and culture.”

Corey D.B. Walker, Wake Forest professor and the founding director of the Program in African American Studies, said, “We are excited to have these two tremendous talents join our intellectual community.”

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@mhewlettWSJ

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