Emmett G. Price III Named Dean of Africana Studies

A world-renowned scholar, educator, writer, speaker, and media personality on Black music and culture, Price is the discipline's inaugural dean.

August 3, 2021

Berklee has named Emmett G. Price III as the inaugural dean of Africana Studies. An internationally recognized expert on Black music and culture, Afro-diasporic sacred and secular expressions, and Christian worship, Price brings decades of experience as a writer, lecturer, scholar, educator, and speaker to Berklee. Price assumes his new role on August 17, 2021. 

A native of Los Angeles, California, Price received a B.A. in music from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh. Price previously served as faculty at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he founded the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience; and at Northeastern University, where he served as chair of the Department of African American Studies. He has been a visiting professor at Boston University, Andover Newton Theological School, Brandeis University, and Berklee, and has been a guest lecturer at over 50 universities across the globe. 

Price is the author of the book Hip Hop Culture, a scholarly work that recounts three decades of hip-hop’s evolution and its impact on society. He is executive editor of the Encyclopedia of African American Music, and the former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Popular Music Studies. He has contributed writings to African American Review, American Music, Black Music Research Journal, the Boston Banner, the Boston Herald, Ethnomusicology, GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal, and International Jazz Archives Journal. In addition to his scholarly work, Price is a renowned keynote and motivational speaker, and has addressed audiences at Nike, Network Health, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, and more. He is a regular guest and contributor to several public radio programs, including WGBH-TV’s Basic Black, WNYC’s Radiolab, and NPR’s All Things Considered

Beyond his educational and scholarly roles, Price is also a trained composer and arranger who has performed throughout the U.S., the Caribbean, and Europe. He has worked with internationally lauded poet and playwright Ed Bullins, the John Coltrane Memorial Concert Ensemble, the Zamir Chorale of Boston, and numerous gospel choirs, sacred music ensembles, and jazz bands from around the world. An ordained minister, Price serves as founding pastor at Community of Love Christian Fellowship in Boston. He is also on the board of directors of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and previously served as CEO and board chair of JazzBoston and as former board chair of the MetroWest YMCA Association. He is a current trustee for the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies and a former trustee for MassBay Community College.

“Emmett G. Price III brings his experience in both higher education and as a trained musician to Berklee at a time where Black and Afro-diasporic voices could not be more important in our global conversation,” said Larry Simpson, senior vice president for Academic Affairs/provost. “As one of the leading experts on Black music and culture, his professionalism and accomplishments are only bolstered by his warmth and personability as a human being. I cannot wait to see what he will accomplish as part of the Berklee community.” 

“I am ecstatic to join the Berklee community and to lead the expansion of the Center for Africana Studies into this new era,” said Price. “The center will be a preeminent global hub where mastery in music, dance, and theater performance will intersect with academic excellence, reflecting the brilliance, legacy, and hope of Black (Afro-diasporic) culture.”

About Africana Studies 

Africana Studies provides innovative, substantive, sustained, and connected programs in Black music and culture, focusing on the study of Black-music practices, history, and meaning. This includes traditional West African music and West African pop, spirituals, ragtime, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, reggae, soul, funk, Caribbean, Cuban, and Brazilian music, as well as contemporary urban music traditions. Housed in the Liberal Arts and Sciences Department, Africana Studies’ programming and courses emphasize the relationship between music and society by increasing students’ understanding, awareness, and appreciation of artists’ roles in the modern world.