What We Do


Formed in 2010, The Hip Hop Education Center catalyzes social change and equity by influencing the field of education to be more inclusive and culturally responsive to students through research, programming, curricula, 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 Education Center (HHEC) has been at the forefront of generating academic research and evaluation reports to define and map the fledgling field of Hip Hop Education. The HHEC has published three field reports, presented successful hip hop-based education models at teaching and learning conferences. 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 the Annie E. Casey Foundation.


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’s Institute for Diversity Arts.


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.


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.


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.


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 a national cultural treasure worthy of study and practice in K-16 public schools. The Hip Hop Education Center has been working closely with politicians, grassroots organizations 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.


Ultimately, our goal is to support and encourage the advancement of the archiving and preservation of Hip Hop culture. The HHEC 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.

  • 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 HHEC has been at the forefront of using technology to advance the field of Hip Hop Education. In 2009, through a partnership with New York University, Teachers College and the University of Wisconsin, Hip Hop Association, and the Hip Hop Education Center presented the first inter-collegiate teleconferencing speakers series.