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HipHopEd: The Compilation on Hip-Hop Education

Volume 2: Hip-Hop as Praxis & Social Justice


Edited By Edmund Adjapong and Ian Levy

This second volume in the Hip-Hop Education series highlights knowledge of self as the fifth and often forgotten element of hip-hop. In many cases, a connection to hip-hop culture is one that has been well embedded in the identity of hip-hop educators. Historically, academic spaces have had misperceptions and misunderstand the authentic culture of hip-hop, often forcing hip-hop educators to abandon their authentic hip-hop selves to align themselves to the traditions of academia. This edited series highlights the realities of hip-hop educators who grapple with cultivating and displaying themselves authentically in practice and offers examples of how hip-hop can be utilized in educational spaces to promote social justice. It provides narratives of graduate students, practitioners, junior and senior scholars who all identify as part of hip-hop. The chapters in this text explore the intersections of the authors’ lived experiences, hip-hop, theory, praxis and social justice.

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Chapter Seven: Decolonizing Traditional Education Spaces: A #HipHopEd(ucators) Guide (Ian Levy)


chapter seven

Decolonizing Traditional Education Spaces

A #HipHopEd(ucators) Guide

ian levy


Historic colonial processes in education were set on erasing indigenous people’s values, beliefs, and knowledge as a means of “saving” them from a life of perceived to be savage. Under the premise that they lacked intellect and value, indigenous peoples were historically barred from the creation of institutions, stripped of their rights, and forced to acculturate, ultimately rendering their knowledge and histories lost (Smith, 2012). To address this marginalization, Smith (2012) stated that “Indigenous peoples [need] to tell our own stories, write our own versions, in our own ways, for our own purposes” (p. 29), in order to “give testimony to and restore a spirit, to bring back into existence a world fragmented and dying” (p. 30).

Emdin (2016) presented the term neoindigenous to prompt educators to deepen their own understanding of the oppression youth of color experience in traditional education spaces. Emdin argues neoindigenous youth use hip hop to tell their own stories, in their own ways, for their own purposes. Hip hop is essential for promoting urban youth voice (Lamont Hill, 2009; Love, 2012), and is therefore necessary for educators to actively examine and challenge the “ways that institutions replicate colonial processes” (p. 9). Chapters in this section highlight the need to and offer practical tools for, reclaiming and using community-based hip hop knowledge, beliefs, and values to push back against the colonial...

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