Hip Hop and Spoken Word Beyond the Classroom Walls
Chapter 2. A Nuyo Love
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. 2 .
A NUYO LOVE
Breakbeats have been the missing link connecting the diasporic community to its drum woven past. –Saul Williams
Student rappers perform at Word Up! in the Black Box Theater. ← 17 | 18 →
Spoken Word Democracies
I suppose the present story begins at New York University, where I took a course called Hip Hop & the Teaching of English. It was academically rigorous, thought provoking, and instantly blended my love of Hip Hop with my growing passion for young people and education. We read Paulo Freire, Gloria Ladson-Billings, Bakari Kitwana, Samy Alim, and many other scholars and cultural critics.
I soon discovered a discourse for teachers using Hip Hop and spoken word poetry in classrooms across the world. “Spoken word” is the art of performance poetry. Typically, this kind of art is performed at “poetry slams,” competitions that ask members of the audience to help score poems and eventually crown a winner. The poetry slam has its roots in the 1980s in Chicago, where construction worker Marc Smith devised a clever way to get people into a bar to listen to poems (Aptowicz, 2007). Essentially, it was a ruse because the scores were irrelevant. It was the storytelling that mattered. Eventually, the poetry slam grew in popularity and came to New York venues such as the now-iconic Nuyorican Poets Cafe on the Lower East Side.
Several of my NYU...
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