This project grew out of my commitment to culturally relevant pedagogy. Educational theorist Gloria Ladson Billings popularized this term which demands that school effectiveness be measured by the extent to which a student experiences intellectual growth, an appreciation of their culture as well as other cultures, and leads to the development of socio-political consciousness. Hip-hop based education grew out of this scholarship, hip-hop is a space where expression and creativity can spark passion in one’s mind, many educators have been able to use this space in the classroom to foster student learning. As a hip hop artist, I spend weekends and personal time preparing/performing open mics, working on my mini home studio trying to make my vocals as clear as possible and collaborating with other mc.s., poets, and artist. When collaborating with other artist and producers it is necessary to negotiate different visions for a song or project we are working on. Recording clean unified vocals and conveying a consistent message are essential collaboration skills for any song I record. These same essential skills of collaboration are skills my students need for effective group projects. I have often searched for ways to use the skills I honed as a self- produced artist into my classroom to enhance student learning. The imovie Harlem Renaissance Project allowed me to do this by incorporating student voice, research skills, multimedia, and music into a project both students and instructors can be proud of.
I am a 7th/8th grade social teacher in Harlem. I am also a spoken word artist spending weekends at open mic's and in my home recording studio. My primary concerns whether through my writing or teaching revolves around social justice and decolonization of history education. I don't call genocide European Exploration, I don't call war the price of progress.