Hip Hop and Spoken Word Beyond the Classroom Walls
Chapter 10. Future Breaks
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. 10 .
Dear goddess, we made this break beat just for you / As an offering, can you hear us now? –Saul Williams
Brian Mooney looks on as a guest poet facilitates a writing workshop with students. ← 115 | 116 →
It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop (–Based Education)
When Kendrick Lamar read an earlier version of the previous chapter, which was first written as a blog post, he contacted me and said that he would like to visit our school. It goes without saying that my students and I were beyond excited. After months of brainstorming, planning, and holding production meetings with colleagues, administrators, and security, we decided to stage a schoolwide event, featuring a panel of scholars, teachers, and students in conversation with Kendrick about his work. Several of the student-poets introduced in this book performed work inspired by To Pimp a Butterfly at this event. These poems dealt with topics like race, beauty, and police brutality.
It would have been easy to invite Kendrick to come speak with a small group of students in my classroom, spit some bars, take some pictures, and leave, but we imagined something bigger, potentially more powerful, and accessible to the whole school community. This was a challenge because the only space able to hold the entire student body at one time is the field house, a large warehouse-like building where students take gym classes. This...
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