Let’s Talk Hip Hop: A Success #HipHopEd #HipHopEdTO
I am still buzzing from the energy, enthusiasm and experience that filled the room last Thursday at OISE. The wealth of participants made the event and Sam, J-Rebel, Sun and Malikah really inspired the room. From what started as a conversation on twitter under the #HipHopEd hash tag (Tuesday at 9 PM) between Sam Seidel @husslington and myself @brandonzoras weaved into a great event. The room was filled with community, teachers, educators, artists, professors, researchers, and hip hop enthusiasts.
Prezi Presentation: Click Here
Malikah from Red Slam Collective opened the event by smudging and presenting a drumming act along with vocals. Through the introduction of the people in the room, we all soon found out Toronto has a massive Hip Hop scene with caring people who want to see youth do well. I opened with a short bio and presented some of the classroom strategies I used in my classroom and projects that involved Hip Hop. Sam Seidel inspired the room with many messages that resonated with the group. He discussed working together and “sharpening swords” with each other to not just celebrate the successes we have with Hip Hop Ed but to critically analyze and give feedback. He encouraged the Toronto group to “Think Bigger, Keep It Real and listen to students” to grow. He showed us his video on Remixing High School Education, and also what happens at The High School for Recording Arts. J-Rebel and Sun shared their program “Don’t Believe the Hype” and experiences working within the community and schools. They emphasized having community groups working in our schools is such an important task.
What happened next was a conversation that made the room explode! Participants from every possible background started discussing how to educate (both in and out of traditional schools) using hip hop. Much of the conversation revolved around the tough time the community has navigating large institutions like schools boards and higher education. Funding was a top problem amongst community groups trying to get their program off the ground and into schools. Many teachers shared their positive experiences with integrating hip hop and community into their classes but were asking for more. Professors wanted to know who should teach hip hop education, what is the qualifiers for this. Community members and artists wanted people to understand that often they felt schools welcome them in for a workshop or demo but often it is a one shot event that doesn’t offer support for the community. The conversation was far from over.
Lastly networking happened where people got to meet face to face with each other to discuss their own programs, best practices, future ideas and also give congratulations. I am going to be as bold to say this is the start of something huge, not Hip Hop Education, as that has been happening already but I am talking about this network of caring hip hop enthusiasts. They all care about their communities, roots and the futures of the youth.
With this being said, we will be starting a blog http://hiphopedto.wordpress.com as a resource, collaborative and collective area where events will be posted and ideas shared. Please email me any resources or if you would like to a collaborator on a regular basis. In discussion as we speak, is to set up meetings on a regular basis and hear from the community. We would like to keep the #HipHopEdTO hash tag alive where we can post about Hip Hop Education in Toronto.
I would like to sincerely thank all those that attended and presented. I was moved beyond words by the turn out and true wealth and knowledge that was brought. The YouTube recording will be available shortly for those interested!
Let’s keep this alive. Let’s Talk Hip Hop!