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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 Nine: Rapping, Recording & Performing: Amplifying Student Voice to Reclaim a Community (Bianca Nightengale-Lee and Nyree Clayton-Taylor)


chapter nine

Rapping, Recording and Performing

Amplifying Student Voice to Reclaim a Community

bianca nightengale-lee and nyree clayton-taylor

@bnightlee1 and @TaylorNyree

For all accounts and purposes we were positioned to be failures. Retained in kindergarten, labeled with learning disabilities in first grade, and placed in the lowest reading group in second, we grew to understand that reading was not for us … so … we didn’t try. Sadly the educational mirror that reflected our worth cast back a picture of mediocrity that continued to plague our educational trajectory. Unsurprisingly, we traveled through our K–5 years disengaged from our teachers, and disinterested in their scripted lessons, which resulted in bad behavior and low grades. Our school experiences reflected a single-narrative of what it meant to be “smart” which did not include the complexities of the African American experience, and the cultural nuances which served as the cornerstones of our identities. Combine this with a 1980’s curriculum—predicated on mainstream norms and standardization, and you have the recipe for two voiceless students.

Although we grew up in different states, and did not know each other when we were 7, our experiences share similar parallels that reflected a broken educational system that failed to honor our voices, cultures, and life experiences. We use the word “broken” here to represent traditionalized orientations to learning, in which Eurocentric ways of being, speaking, and engaging in the literacy process are the only forms deemed valid...

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