As I close my eyes and drift away to a land where there is love, health, peace, and blessings. I wanted to take the time to think and reflect.
The truth is that I was taking the time to think about my previous thoughts, particularly with regards to musicians, and artists to assist and support students. When I say support, this can be in any form. I am thinking about at-risk students who are living in urban areas, and are faced with challenges arising from family dynamics, socio/economic status, or any other factor that is challenging the growth, development, and the academic success of students. I thought particularly about the hip hop and rap culture. Music is something that is very important to adolescents/teens. But with some hip hop and rap music also arrives a culture. Sometimes the language is not suitable, even with parental advisories kids are listening to explicit languages. These might not have immediate impact, but the forces will be felt through the subliminal messages that the brain receives, enticing and also slowly normalizing, which then leads to replication, and potential adverse affects upon behaviour. So if we have affluent rap and hip hop artists that are talking about race, racism, drugs, alcohol, and sex in their music, and (hypothetically speaking) this music is topping the charts, then don't you think that teens and adolescents will think that it is cool?
Now don't get me wrong or anything, my aim is not to be critical about anyone, or who someone chooses to listen to, but what I am saying is: often kids who are listening to this music look up to the singers, hip hop artists as role models. What if rap and hip hop artists began to evoke positive vibes that will uplift their listeners, especially the adolescents? To use their music to turn around at-risk teens, so they use their God given talents to create something positive out of their lives, in a language that they will understand? To better understand my thoughts, I share the example of the following song:
"Tryna make my mama proud" - 2 Chaniz
While this song does use explicit language (I have share the clean version), that might not be acceptable to some, or offensive. It is a language that speaks to some of the hip hop and rap music that I was referring to, and the culture. If we want to assist radicalized, minority, or at-risk populations, adolescents and students, they have to be spoken in a language that they are referring to, and from the role models that they are embracing. No child regardless of what they have chosen to embrace, or any previous behaviour that was viewed as unacceptable should be viewed as a failure, labelled or defined as an at-risk kid. Where some see problems, others see potential. And it is through this lens, the framework of potential that we have to work, because anything else would be suggestive of giving up.
Educators or teachers in the classroom are doing more than teaching. Teaching is a science it is an art, involving more than knowledge delivery, to bear the sociological and psycho-social factors that are entering the classroom as well. Is it not time to put the politics of schooling to the side, and think that the success of a student is not only the success of that student, it is the educators, the staff, and also the success of the school. And with the addition to the outside forces such as musicians and artists, we should think: If we are able to turn around one kid, its like we've turned around a whole community, because that kid who we are investing in belongs to a community which will also reap the benifits.