Hip Hop and Spoken Word Beyond the Classroom Walls
Chapter 9. Pimping Butterflies and Teaching Stars
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. 9 .
PIMPING BUTTERFLIES AND TEACHING STARS
This is the funky outline around a classic breakbeat –Aesop Rock
To Pimp a Butterfly–inspired artwork by a freshman student. ← 105 | 106 →
The Master Narrative
Although most of my research focuses on the extracurricular spaces of the Slam Poetry Club and Hip Hop Lit course, I’ve also integrated the study of Hip Hop into my traditional daytime courses in which I teach freshmen and sophomores. One unit in particular is worth reflecting on in order to demonstrate the ways that Hip Hop and traditional literature can be in conversation with each other in meaningful ways. This chapter is an extended adaptation of a blog post that I wrote in April 2015.
At that time, Kendrick Lamar released his sophomore album, To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), while I was in the middle of teaching a unit on Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye (1970). My freshmen students were grappling with some big ideas and some really complex language. Framing the unit as an “Anti-Oppression” study, we made special efforts to define and explore the kinds of institutional and internalized racism that manifest in the lives of Morrison’s African American characters, particularly the eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove and her mother, Pauline. We posed questions about oppression and the media. After looking at the Dick and Jane primers that serve as precursors to each chapter, we considered the influence...
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