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What  Is  It?

The Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture Program is an award winning, media literacy, music, language arts and social studies program designed to assist low-performing students in developing their language skills, life skills and global awareness through culturally responsive pedagogy. 

The Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture Program is designed for students between the ages of 13 to 19.  It can be offered as:

  • a year-long course
  • after school program 
  • summer program 
  • workshop series
  • or any other format 

Why  Hip  Hop?


Over 3 decades ago, Hip Hop culture was founded on the ideals of peace, love, and unity.  Through the medium of Hip Hop, urban youth were able to voice their dreams, hopes, and goals as well as their concerns and worries.  Over the years, Hip Hop has grown into a global phenomenon.  It is now widely recognized as the voice of today's youth.  While mainstream media has popularized negative elements of Hip Hop, at its core, Hip Hop culture is a tool for enrichment and empowerment and has been effective in improving the lives of millions around the world.  Spanning the continents, the positive impact of Hip Hop culture has been documented by academics, scholars, and professors alike.   Princeton University’s professor of religion Dr. Cornel West believes that “Hip Hop can be used as a potent weapon to create change in our communities." The Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture Program was created based on such premise.

Why  It  Was  Created:

Inner-city high schools across the nation are facing a crisis. African-American, Hispanic, and low-income students are the most affected with national graduation rate widely accepted at approximately 50%.  About 12% of the nation’s 20,000 high schools produce almost three-quarters of its minority dropouts.  In 2004, Los Angeles and New York City, which have the nation’s largest school districts, graduated a little over 45% of their students.  That same year, Detroit, had a 24.9% graduation rate.  Even more alarming is the fact that for many of the students who do graduate, “The average African American or Hispanic 12th grader has lower basic skills than the average white eighth grader.”

Poverty, unemployment, gangs and lack of parental involvement have often been recognized as contributing factors to this educational meltdown.  However, for all of the research and statistical data, the problems persist and the same questions are asked:

  • How can we make students understand the need and value of education? 
  • How can we close the achievement gap?
  • How can students be motivated to learn? 

With all the good will in the world, systemic flaws are nearly impossible to rectify without facing an overwhelming barrage of red tape, budgetary constraints, bureaucracy and resistance to change from the administrators themselves.  If that weren’t difficult enough, how do we deal with the treacherous psychosocial conditions that attack the spirits and minds of our youth everyday, beyond the confines of school grounds?  From this standpoint, the situation appears hopeless.  However, it is not.

A few years ago, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation published a report titled “A Silent Epidemic – Perspectives of High School Dropouts”.  This research was based on a series of focus groups and surveys conducted with high school dropouts in 25 different locations across the U.S. The results were surprising.

  • Forty-seven percent said that a major reason for dropping out was that classes were not interesting.
  • Sixty-nine percent said they were not motivated or inspired to work hard.
  • Seventy-one percent said their schools did not do enough to make school interesting.

The same year, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell issued a news release on an L.A. Times Series on the high school dropout problem in which he stated, "The only way Californians will succeed in this demanding age is by improving our educational system and finding ways to connect with students who do not feel invested in attending school."  State S

One of the ways to connect with students who do not feel invested in their education lies in understanding how psychosocial conditioning, pop culture, technology, social media and other mainstream media outlets influence their development.  Another way to connect with students is to create partnerships with community-based entities that possess a solid grasp on issues affecting urban youth and who have developed specialized methods to address these concerns effectively within a school setting.  The Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture Program was created to make these connections.                    

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