I recently saw a posting for a workshop on hip hop pedagogy at my university, which I unfortunately won’t be able to attend. I’m not familiar with hip hop pedagogy—which is why I’m disappointed I can’t make it—but I like the idea of connecting hip hop as an expressive political force with education and social justice. The New School in New York has a good listing for a course entitled Hip Hop Pedagogy & Practice for this semester as an example of what this form of pedagogy could mean as an educational tool and a framework for social change.
A fledgling thought comes to mind: can hip hop simply be pedagogy? Can it be teaching and learning toward human development, in and of itself? I’m obsessed with a couple of choreographers working in L.A., particularly Kyle Hanagami, who created the dance seen in this video:
I’ve written about hip hop dance and choreography before, and it’s fitting to me to urge on the relatively new 2019 where the battle for justice exhausts and unites us to summon up our strength, our vision for a better future and our raw truth. When you watch these people dance, they are creating themselves as they chose to be. They are youth of color, they are queer, they are whitebread-long-limbed, they are short-dark-spectacular. Female-bodied people show forceful reckoning with their bodies and laws of attraction, and male-bodied people snake and slither. You are, quite simply, your own owned body and self in hip hop dance. It is yours, and you are its, every syllable, every next beat, becoming and being. You bring yourself forward and come back to yourself. You sweat, you strut, you smile, you stare. You’re a kid, you’re grown…and your fellow dancers all cheer and watch and wait.
It is an engagement with your potential in your community, on your own terms…and what is pedagogy, what is education, if not that?