*Recently, I was at New York University for the 1st Annual Extra Credit Awards. The affair had a dual purpose; national recognition of hip-hop culture via the Hip-Hop Education Center, as well as the recognition of individuals who are already using hip-hop culture to educate.
The event was hosted by educator, hip-hop artist and author MK Assante, among the celebrity and presenters on hand to support the festivities were Malik Yoba, Fab 5 Freddy, DJ Marley Marl, Erica Ford, DJ Spooky, Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Kanene Holder and Dr. David Kirkland.
The Hip-Hop Education Center, in conjunction with NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and Transforming Schools and Wikiburg, created The Extra Credit Awards.
We had in-depth conversations with MK Assante, Ma Dukes of the J. Dilla Foundation as well as exclusive footage of the entire affair.
The night’s honorees were a combination of hip-hop educators from the entertainment world, education, business and philanthropy.
The following is a list of honorees and their respective organizations: Afrika Bambaataa of Universal Zulu Nation, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, mother to late hip-hop composer J. Dilla and President of the J Dilla Foundation, Christopher Emdin & The GZA for Science of Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S., Thomas Alavarez & Rob Jackson of Beats, Rhymes and Life, Dr. Olajide Williams, Artie Green, Easy AD & Doug E. Fresh for Hip-Hop Public Health, Donnie Smith & Che “Rhymefest” Smith for Donda’s House, David T. Ellis for High School for Recording Arts. DJ Stephen Levitin, Pierce Freelon & Dr. Mark Katz and Beat Making Lab and Toki Wright- Hip-Hop Studies Program, McNally Smith College of Music.
The Hip-Hop Education Center’s digital presence exists as a social network of education through hip-hop. The organization also recently launched a petition drive for President Barack Obama to designate original hip-hop culture as a national treasure by:
- Have President Obama publicly acknowledge Hip-Hop culture as an American treasure worthy of study and practice in all public schools.
- Create a national alliance with a policy committee for the Hip-Hop Education movement.
- Introduce a joint resolution in both houses of Congress to integrate Hip-Hop culture in K-12 public schools curriculum and the National Park Service programs.
If successful, teachers would be able to teach the tenants of hip-hop culture (DJing, Rapping/Spoken Word, Breakdancing, Graffiti Writing, and the pillar of Knowledge of Self in public schools, which is currently prohibited in many school districts.
The Hip-Hop Education Center’s We The People for #HipHopEducation campaign is touted as a strategic intervention to address the U.S. education crisis.
The Hip-Hop-based curriculum they tout are concentrated in the areas of Science, Technology, and Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), as well as social and emotional learning, academic literacy.
The ultimate end is to use this Hip-Hop educational model to effect attendance, engagement, college prep and reduce dropout rates.