Hip Hop Think Tank III #HipHopEd

The Hip­Hop Education Center and The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in collaboration with the Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Teachers College – Columbia University and the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, Steinhardt School ­ New York University

After over a year of participating and another year lurking on the #HipHopEd Chat I decided I needed to meet these amazing educators and artists.  Having a weekend conference was the perfect opportunity for me take the bus down for the weekend.  Having met Sam Seidel and Elliot Gann in Toronto two times it was great to see them again in NYC.  The conference had many organizers but Martha Diaz did such a great job with the event. I have emailed Martha before and her enthusiasm and love for community was even more evident in person.  Finally meeting Dr Chris Emdin was an honour, after reading so many of his articles and his book, I still can’t believe I forgot the book to get him to sign it. Timothy Jones, who tweets me weekly, was such a pleasure to meet as well.  Meeting Brad Cunningham was great as another teacher from Canada but from the opposite coast.  We talked about similarities between BC and Ontario and how we use Hip Hop in our classes. There are way too many people I met that day and so would like to thank everyone else for the great learning and friendships formed.

Martha kicked off the conference with a great opening and the room filled up with such a great diversity of people. Hip­Hop Development: From Expression 2 Pedagogical Commodity” Dr. P. Thandi Hicks Harper (Founder and President, Youth Popular Culture Institute, Inc. – Clinton, MD) had an amazing speech that moved the audience.  I purchased her book on Hip Hop Education which was a great read for the bus ride home.

Opening The Cipher ­ Framing The Conversations ­ Martha Diaz (moderator), Dr. Raymond Codrington (Director, HHEC – New York, NY), Sam Seidel (Hip­Hop Scholar­in­Residence, Teachers College Columbia University ­ New York, NY), Casey Wong (Think Tank Manager & Development Associate, HHEC / Founding Director, MIC Empowerment Program – Stanford, CA), Moira Pirsch (Think Tank Logistics Coordinator, HHEC – Harvard, MA), and Moises Lopez (International Research Committee Manager, HHEC ­ New York, NY).  This was a great session that set the context of the days events and where Hip Hop Education stands across many cities within the US. It was good to hear from the rich experiences of the panel.

During the break off session of creating a Hip Hop Education Certificate, much heated debate happened over who should teach Hip Hop and how to “certify” someone in this field.  Many people questioned if institutions like colleges and universities should co-opt Hip Hop and sell it as a program someone can be taught it.  I think it is a double edged sword where you don’t want to remove it from the community but at the same time to help students succeed having regulations and professors researching it would be helpful.

I was most excited for this next segment Dropping Science, Sparking a Social Movement as I have been following the #sciencegenius program and entered the contest with my own students. To here Dr Emdin live in person was amazing, he has great TedTalks and videos on the net but feeling the power and enthusiasm in person was inspiring. Timothy Jones, Ian Levy, Bakari Kitwana, and Jabari Johnson gave a great perspective about the project.

During the Hip­Hop Pedagogy Lightning Rounds, many community groups got to share all the great work they are doing with Hip Hop. Dr Elliot Gann gave such an inspiring overview of his program Today’s Future Sound. ­ John Jennings, Nate Nevado, Nathan Jones, and Kareem Edouard all shared the amazing programs across the country they are involved in.

The book talks started with too many to list.  I bought  Dr. Emery Petchauer’s Schooling Hip­hop: Expanding Hip­hop Based Education Across the Curriculum and  Albert “Prodigy” Johnson’s My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy and Dr P Thandi Hicks Harper’s book. All of them I got to meet with the author and get an autograph. Meeting Prodigy was super cool for me as listening to Mobb Deep growing up and seeing an artist interested in the community and Hip Hop Education movement was exciting.

I spent day 2 not at the conference but going on my own Hip Hop self guided tour of NYC. I came back with so many great ideas, new friends and energy to make a difference for youth back in Canada. Schools and curriculum don’t work for all students and by engaging in Hip Hop as pedagogy can make a more accommodating space for youth.

The Conference Agenda Agenda: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/scmsAdmin/media/users/sl1716/Hip_Hop/CLEANTTIIIProgramCopy.pdf

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More photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/bzoras/sets/72157637554455185/

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