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Jay Smooth

Jay Smooth

Hip-Hop Advocate

New York, NY






Jay Smooth is a New York-based hip-hop scholar and cultural commentator, best known for his award-winning Ill Doctrine web video series. Born and raised in New York with a love for hip-hop and passion for social justice, Jay started his career at WBAI Radio, where in 1991 he founded New York’s longest running hip-hop radio show, the Underground Railroad. Mixing the latest independent music with political commentary, the Railroad helped break artists, including the Wu Tang Clan, Naughty by Nature, Jean Grae, and Natural Elements. It was recently cited by Chuck D as home of “the best hip-hop conversations.”

Most recently, Jay has won acclaim for his commentaries on politics and culture at The site’s mix of humor and incisive analysis has garnered millions of views and been featured by NPR, CNN, and MSNBC, where Rachel Maddow hailed him as a “genius.” Ill Doctrine videos, including “How to Tell Someone They Sound Racist,” have become part of the curriculum in many schools and universities, and Jay’s TEDxHampshireCollege talk, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Talking About Race” is among the most widely viewed on the TEDx website. He’s the kind of speaker that manages to get audiences thinking in new ways about serious issues–gender, race, violence, capitalism–while having a surprising amount of fun.

We are not good despite our imperfections. It is the connection we maintain with our imperfections that allow us to be good.
—Jay Smooth

When we find ourselves believing that killing a man makes us more of a man, but loving a man makes us less of a man, it’s probably time to reexamine our criteria for manhood.
—Jay Smooth
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