Hip Hop and Spoken Word Beyond the Classroom Walls
Chapter 3. Breakin’ It Down
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. 3 .
BREAKIN’ IT DOWN
Break beat fanatic, crates deep in attics / Forty-fives marked up, looped with static –GZA
The Slam Poetry Club. ← 27 | 28 →
The Hip Hop Art Space
I read the poem that concludes the previous chapter at our school’s second-ever Word Up!—near the end of my first full year of teaching. I read last, after nearly twenty students had performed for a sold-out, standing-room-only crowd of excited teenagers, curious teachers, and semi-skeptical administrators. Getting to that moment was a process, a kind of coming-of-age story. It is the story of this event—the story of my students’ development as writers—and the story of my identity as teacher-artist-researcher. These are the beginnings of Breakbeat Pedagogy, a kind of framework for teaching and learning that I hadn’t yet named, centered on the Hip Hop performance art space.
When we returned to school in January 2013 to plan the first Word Up!, I decided to have a few joint meetings between the Slam Poetry Club and Hip Hop Lit class together as one group. Between both groups, there were over forty students who wanted to be part of the event. There are many ways for students to get involved in a poetry slam or Hip Hop event. We needed a DJ, someone to design flyers and artwork, ticket sales, promotion, social media managers, planning/organization, dancers, photography, music production, hosts, and...
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