Conference Keynote Performance: Free Land: A Hip Hop Journey from the Streets of Oakland to the Wild Wild West

  • Ariel Luckey


Free Land is a dynamic hip hop theater solo show written and performed by Ariel Luckey, directed by Margo Hall and scored by Ryan Luckey. The show follows a young white man’s search for his roots as it takes him from the streets of Oakland to the prairies of Wyoming on an unforgettable journey into the heart of American history. During an interview with his grandfather he learns that their beloved family ranch was actually a Homestead, a free land grant from the government. Haunted by the past, he’s compelled to dig deeper into the history of the land, only to come face to face with the legacy of theft and genocide in the Wild Wild West. Caught between the romantic cowboy tales of his childhood and the devastating reality of what he learns, he grapples with the contradictions in his own life and the possibility for justice and reconciliation. Free Land weaves spoken word poetry, acting, dance and hip hop music into a compelling performance that challenges us to take an unflinching look at the truth buried in the land beneath our feet.

Author Biography

Ariel Luckey

Ariel Luckey is a nationally acclaimed poet, actor, and playwright whose community and performance work dances in the crossroads of education, art, and activism. Named a “Visionary” by the Utne Reader, Ariel seamlessly weaves storytelling, spoken word poetry, dance, acting, and hip hop music in compelling narratives of personal and political transformation. Born and raised in Oakland, California, he has been a featured artist at the North Bay Hip Hop Theater Festival, the Hecho en Califas Festival, Café Cantante in Havana, Cuba, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City, the White Privilege Conference, and the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity. Ariel’s hip hop theater show, Free Land, and his first book of poetry and lyrics, Searching for White Folk Soul, have inspired and informed audiences at theaters, conferences, community centers, and classrooms across the country. Ariel sees his community work in the world as an extension of his most precious and important work as father to his two sons.

How to Cite
Luckey, A. (2017). Conference Keynote Performance: Free Land: A Hip Hop Journey from the Streets of Oakland to the Wild Wild West. Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, 2(1). Retrieved from
Creative Works & Self-Reflections