Formed in 2004, The Hip-Hop Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community building organization catalyzing social change and equity by influencing the field of education to be more inclusive and culturally responsive to students through research, professional development, and leadership building.
Our objective is to cultivate hip-hop educators and advocate for the use of hip-hop-based education in public schools to increase the number of high school and college graduates, reduce incarceration rates and youth recidivism, and build equitable learning cultures that lead to employment and business opportunities.
The Hip-Hop Association has been at the forefront of generating academic research and evaluation reports to define and map the fledgling field of Hip-Hop Education. In collaboration with the Hip-Hop Education Center, H2A has published three field reports, presented successful hip-hop-based education models at teaching and learning conference. We convene with seasoned practitioners to guide our research, determine best practices, develop goals and standards, and assess the needs of the field. We began our research with a national scan of hip-hop programs in collaboration with New York University’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools. Since then we have collaborated with dozens of institutions and organizations including, Teacher’s College Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Stanford University, and Annie E. Casey Foundation.
II. HIP-HOP EDUCATION THINK TANK
It is critical for the development of the movement that we bring together Hip-Hop scholars, pioneers, business and community leaders, administrators, social workers, and seasoned k-12 teachers to exchange information, assess research data and curricular models, coalition-build, and collectively engage in a political and economic strategy to formalize the field. We have presented four international Hip-Hop Education Think Tanks in partnership with New York Univesity Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, Columbia University Institute for Urban and Minority Education. The Schomburg Center, and Stanford University Institute for Diversity Arts.
III. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Through our professional development services and sponsored events, we share information, resources, and tools with educators, teaching artists, cultural leaders, scholars, and pre-service teachers. Our partners vary from NYU Metro Center’s Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality Conference to American Education Research Association.
IV. FELLOWS AND SCHOLARS PROGRAM
We cultivate problem solvers, education innovators, and social entrepreneurs to develop the next generation of leaders and hip-hop education ideas. Through our Fellows and Scholars Program, we have supported over 100 projects and initiatives. Our visiting scholar program supports international research, scholarship, and community programming projects. Scholars have visited from Japan, South Africa, United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Ukraine, and France.
V. EXTRA CREDIT AWARDS
The Extra Credit Awards (ECA) recognizes exceptional leaders and organizations using hip-hop, technology, and social entrepreneurship to advance the education field. The ECA also honors pioneers and champions of the hip-hop and education field. The Award was designed by Carlos Mare139 Rodriguez, an internationally acclaimed sculptor/ painter/ Hip-Hop Scholar/ US Cultural Ambassador and creator of the annual BET/Black Entertainment Award.
VI. WOMANHOOD LEARNING PROJECT
H2A is led by women, and we are particularly interested in highlighting and empowering women in hip-hop to instill a more just and equal playing field. It is important to reclaim our stories and counter the dominant narrative within hip-hop culture by acknowledging and celebrating those courageous women leaders. There is a handful of celebrity Hip-Hop women role models of which the public is aware, such as Queen Latifah, Eve, Missy Elliot and MC Lyte. However, the media and the rap industry have not embraced the wealth of female talent that exists outside this select circle. They are on the microphone, off-camera, building schools and community programs, and behind the scenes holding weighty positions at the top of the industry’s professional food chain. Yet many remain tucked away, Hip-Hop’s own “Hidden Figures,” as anonymous. In our eyes, and those of their community, they are shining stars who should have respectful acknowledgment. Their efforts in the United States, and globally demand some type of worldwide wake-up call that will motivate and remind the world that there are women who have bravely navigated Hip-Hop’s sexist system, and became successful at the same time, without having to bare all. Through our Fresh, Bold and So Def awareness campaign we honor the contributions and diversity of women in hip-hop.
VII. POLICY + ADVOCACY
In order for the Hip-Hop Education field to grow and become sustainable, hip-hop must be officially acknowledged by the United States government and established as national cultural treasure worthy of study and practice in K-16 public schools. The Hip-Hop Association has been working closely with politicians, grassroots organization and collectives, parents, educators, and students internationally to advocate for the integration of hip-hop culture as an interdisciplinary, culturally relevant and responsive teaching subject and tool.
VIII. PUBLISHING AND DISTRIBUTION
- Hip-Hop Education Guidebook (H2ED GBK) Series – In 2007, the Hip-Hop Association [H2A] published The Hip-Hop Education Guidebook [H2ED GBK]: Vol I, as a goal to aggregate and archive lesson plans and reference best practices that were being presented at the annual H2ED Summit. A sourcebook of inspiration and practical application, The H2ED GBK provides examples of how to use Hip-Hop culture as an educational tool in classrooms from K-12, and for after-school programs. The guidebook also includes theory papers and selected peer-to-peer journal articles from notable world scholars. The H2ED GBK: Vol I is a groundbreaking book that engages teachers and students alike. Educators from all over the United States and Canada contributed creative, rigorous, user-friendly lessons that cover a range of subject areas, and have been used successfully in both formal and informal academic settings.
- H2ONewsreel – In 2008, H2A partnered with Third World Newsreel to form H2ONewsreel, a distribution label for educational hip-hop movies. Through the partnership, H2ONewsreel provides professional development training, access to media equipment and editing facilities, and marketing and promotions.
IX. ARCHIVING AND PRESERVATION
Ultimately, our goal is to support and encourage the advancement of the archiving and preservation of Hip-Hop culture. H2A has been leading the charge to make the Hip-Hop archiving and preservation field more transparent and accountable to the community through educational opportunities, dialogue, and collaboration.
- H2O Collection@ The Schomburg – In 2013, H2A donated the H2O collection and additional seminal films to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of the New York Public Library. The largest collection of its kind offers a myriad of hip-hop voices and stories that educators, students, researchers, scholars, teaching artists, and the community-at-large can use for educational purposes.
- Documenting History in Your Own Backyard – A daylong interdisciplinary forum that
seeks to explore the process of documenting and preserving Hip Hop’s history. The symposium includes presentations from archivists, curators, collectors, educators, and scholars representing educational, cultural, and preservation institutions, for-profit and non-profit community organizations/enterprises, and government agencies. The first iteration of Documenting History in Your Own Backyard took place on October 19, 2012, at The Schomburg Center in Harlem, NY, and it was presented collaboratively by the
Hip-Hop Education Center, The Schomburg Center, Cornell University’s Hip Hop Collection, and The Smithsonian Archives Center in the National Museum of American History. It was the first symposium dedicated to advancing organizational and outreach strategies around hip hop’s preservation and informing the community about Hip-Hop archives and their critical importance.
The H2A has been at the forefront of using technology to advance the field of Hip-Hop Education. In partnership with the NYU Metro Center, H2A has been developing and cultivating the Hip-Hop Education Center (HHEC), the first online digital library that provides tools and services that help educators, youth, and those interested in hip-hop and life learning to research, organize, manage, archive, teach, map and curate, hip-hop data, collections, art, media, and other cultural material. The HHEC will help connect internationally to thousands of youth and young adults and will offer a plethora of educational opportunities to nurture, empower, and liberate the masses. The HHEC began as a research project led by Martha Diaz while she was a graduate student at the NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
- In 2009, through a partnership with New York University, Teachers College and the University of Wisconsin, H2A and the Hip-Hop Education Center presented the first inter-collegiate teleconferencing speakers series.