“What comes to mind when you hear the term hip hop education? I’d imagine that the vast majority of people would picture young people learning how to write rhymes, break dance, graffiti or DJ. Sounds like fun, right? And certainly, many people do join these traditional “hip hop classes” for various reasons including self-expression, increased fitness, a better social life, and professional development in the performing arts.”
Hip hop is starting to be used in schools and in the community in much more creative and diverse ways. Like hip hop music – which samples other songs to create new, almost patchwork tracks – such a style of management emphasises the benefits of picking and choosing ideas from other educational systems, rather than sticking to a rigid formula. Hip hop education can take shape in different ways. Hip-hop education also provides a brilliant way into political and cultural discussions. Beyoncé, for example, is regularly praised for demonstrating how such issues can be taught along with hip hop. Her activism really got going with the release of “Formation”, a song that narrates some of the struggles and politics of southern African-Americans, and which resonated with the African diaspora at large. Here Beyoncé, as hip hop has always done, gives voice to the marginalised – this time, in the mainstream. Furthermore, the subsequent release of the album Lemonade stimulated some educators and academics to create a syllabus that draws from a variety of sources to look at the various tensions, politics, experiences that apply to women of the said community. Given all this, I would say hip hop and education work together beautifully. The debates that hip hop taps into are perfectly placed in order to provide relevant content and methods in contemporary urban education. They touch on many issues concerning matters of importance to marginalised communities. These issues are far ranging, from police brutality to discourse around representation and misrepresentation.