May 4, 2010, - 6:18 pm

HipHop Curriculum: Your Day in the DeeKline of PublicK SKoOL EdYOOKayshun

By Debbie Schlussel

Got problems with students who can only, um, “converse” in Ebonics and don’t want to learn real English, math, or American history?


Meet Your Kids’ New Publick Skool Teachahz

Well, Hip Hop Hooray.  Do I have a curriculum for you!  My law school and business school alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has an “if you can’t educate ’em, join ’em” way to further downgrade your teaching skills and finally “get down with the struggle” and be real with your students.

Among the new high-flown languages in which you’ll be “educated” (or rather de-educated) to speak is “Nuyorican.”  And here’s more on this scintillating way of using hip-hop in the classroom (because our students aren’t dumbed-down nearly enough). Love that multi-culturalism.

Hip-hop workshop focuses on teaching tools

Now celebrating its fifth year, the Hip-Hop Educator and Community Leader Training Institute will be held on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus from July 7-11. . . .

Once again, the UW-Madison Office of Multicultural Initiatives will team up with Urban Word NYC to offer this weeklong program for teachers, educators, community leaders and education students to learn the best practices in hip-hop and spoken word pedagogy.

“Spoken word and hip-hop pedagogy is vital because it not only aligns itself with the voice of our next generation of young scholars and leaders, but also because it makes relevant a culture that has impacted and connected our global community,” said Michael Cirelli, executive director of Urban Word NYC and director of the institute.

Um, how can they use the word “scholar” and “hip-hop” in the same sentence with a straight face? Ditto for pedagogy. With hip-hop, it’s more like pedophilogy.

Institute participants will learn proven, hands-on techniques that will help them to develop lesson plans and strengthen their course study, as well as create a platform from which they will understand the scope of hip-hop history, culture and politics, Cirelli said. The learning component is supported with night programming by lecturers and performers who will synthesize the day sessions with effective strategies and cutting-edge multicultural educational approaches.

“Hip-hop history”? Is that like memorizing the day that Russell Simmons and Rev. Run bought their first pair of laceless Adidas? Or is it the date the first naked butt was shaken in front of the camera in a rap video? Or maybe it’s the first day Ice T smoked his first crack pipe with a stripper. Forget reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic.  Perhaps it’s the day Professor Griff of Public Enemy uttered his first “Dirty Jew” reference.   It’s very important to America’s future that kids in school learn the important facts of hip-hop.

Math problem:  If 50 Cent has 9 bullets in his body, but gets two removed while all but two of his 30 tattoos are lasered off so he can star in movies, how many women did he infect with herpes divided by how many used condoms need to be recycled to keep things green?

“These opportunities will help educators deepen their practice as spoken word and hip-hop educators, as well as engage the best practices in student-centered liberatory education models.”

What the heck is “liberatory education”? Spare me. I don’t want to know.

This year’s instructors include lead institute instructor Michael Cirelli, Christina Marin on theatrical methodologies, . . . Patrick Camangian on the teaching tools to help students develop critical ideology, Lavie Raven on integrating art in the curriculum, along with Sam Sellers (DJ Rabbi Darkside) and Tracee Worley on using existing knowledge bases to broaden academic success, including standardized test scores.

New Book: How to Score 1,600 on Your SATs Through the Study of ‘Lil Wayne Lyrics While Visiting Him in Prison and Sending Greetings to His Four Kids with Four Women by DJ Rabbi Darkside. Yeah, that’s the academic ticket.

Daily workshops are paired with a week of evening performances featuring readings, panel discussions, hip-hop theater and a concert. Two poetry powerhouses, McKibbens and Regie Cabico will kick things off, while a fresh line up of local and NYC hip-hop artists close out the week. Featured artists include NYC underground kingpin Homeboy Sandman and the Vancouver/Brooklyn crew Old Money.

Yes, that sounds like the recipe for academic success and the highlight of becoming an educated American: listening to Homeboy Sandman. What–no HomeBitch SandHo? These guys are sexist.

The workshop is the winner of the 2007 North American Association of Summer Sessions “Creative and Innovative Program Award,” and enrollment in the summer institute has topped more than 40 community volunteers and educators. Now in its fifth year, the teacher-training institute has grown with additional support from both Professors Carl Grant and Paula Wolfe of the UW-Madison School of Education’s curriculum and instruction program.

Just how much federal and state tax money is going to finance this BS “instruction” on how to warp the young mind even more than it already is?

The following evening lectures, panel discussions and performances are free and open to the public . . . .

Friday, July 9

“First Wave Jump Off Concert” with NYC’s Underground Hip-Hop Phenom, Homeboy Sandman, and Brooklyn to Vancouver Transplants, Old Money, at 7 p.m., Wisconsin Historical Society Auditorium, 816 State St.

Saturday, July 10

Spoken Word Theater Piece “Daddy Dress Up” by Thiahera Nurse at 7 p.m., Memorial Union Terrace, 800 Langdon St. Nurse is from Hollis, Queens, and is the newest addition to the award-winning First Wave program at UW-Madison.

Wow, high culture. And you wonder why each generation of American kids is dumber and more incompetent than the next. A curriculum of “Daddy Dress Up” might be a hint why.

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166 Responses

dakota on May 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm

The thing that disgusts me most about Debbie’s post is that she attacks the work of a teen writer, whose play “Daddy Dress Up,” is one of the most profound and sophisticated pieces of writing and performance I have ever seen. The play in question not only brilliantly deals with myriad issues affecting a teenage woman, but also is a testament to the power and impact of youth voice. This same student, recently won a full ride to Ms. Schlussel’s alma mater, University of Wisconsin, and attends one of the most academically rigorous school’s in New York City.

It is true cowardice, fear, racism and ignorance that would have an adult of Debbie’s background and education, attack at 16 year old student.

Debbie, maybe Duke would have been a better choice of schools, considering the deep-seated hatred you embody. I pray for you.

White Man on May 5, 2010 at 5:53 pm

You are so ridiculously misinformed I feel sorry for you.I can’t believe you honestly are under the impression that this is the way in which we discuss and love Hip Hop. I cannot believe that you honestly feel that we cannot discuss Hip Hop in a scholarly manner. I invite you to come and converse with us. These are the most intelligent and compassionate people I have ever met in my life. The art we create is beautiful, well versed, and honest. The conversations we have are charged, critical, and again honest. If anything, we understand the present state of Hip Hop and encourage it’s movement to a more encompassing expression of art -and not just what the labels are playing. You are racist and ignorant; way to show us

Dianna on May 5, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Dear Debbie,

Since people I respect have already said everything that could be said about your ignorance, I’ll simply tell you this:

You’re a disgusting attention monger whose only appeal is your violent foolishness. What flows from you is sewage. You disgust me.

Dear internet,

Please fall in love with more free-thinking, rational people. You’re disappointing me.



OmahaRoss on May 5, 2010 at 6:04 pm


This summer we invite you to please attend the Hip Hop Educators Institute. I think it would be a great experience. Whether you leave with more things to criticize and attack, or you learn something you were ignorant to before….we welcome you.


Alida on May 5, 2010 at 6:31 pm

The sad truth of the matter is that Ms. Schussel’s commentary is merely high drama for her very conservative fanbase. As with most of the conservative “intelligentsia” (and I use the root “intelligent” VERY loosely) they base little of what they say on fact and rather retort to shock value of a very xenophobic, racist, homophobic or sexist nature. If there was at least a shred of fact or truth in any of her statements, I’d be more inclined to be riled up. The fact is, her degrees are not worth the paper they are written on considering how poorly she doctors the truth.

It is sad really how someone can feel very confident and cosy attacking young people with unsubstantiated hate on their own blog, knowing full well their never have the courage or the chance to go face to face with the people or organizations they criticize.

So Ms. Schussel I would love to see you actually in a real debate not one of the staged fox propoganda circus’s that you and your ilk usually do and deal with the facts. Not your bias, not your fundamentalist radical ideals about education and youth. We all know the truth….you couldn’t handle it. Stick to your blog, its much safer.

Mikal Amin Lee on May 5, 2010 at 6:44 pm

This is perhaps the most racist and ignorantly uninformed article I have ever read. Debbie, all you have done is taken the most negative aspects of a movement and use it to disempower the youth who reject your skewed view of societal norms. There were counter-productive voices in the civil rights struggle and the women’s suffrage movement as well. Does that trump their impacts? Of course if you had a blog during those times I am sure your ignorant self would criticize their rhetoric out of context too.

Debbie, did you have to look up the word pedagogy? Because it is clear you have no basis for expertize. We live in one of the most broken education systems in the world, with a staggering achievement gap. Spoken Word and Hip Hop Pedagogy has been successful countless times in classroom settings around the country. Just yesterday I presented at the Forum for Juvenile Justice Educators and Trainers Annual Conference–our spoken word and hip-hop pedagogy seminar was well-received by educators in juvenile detention centers all over the country. But those teachers are probably dumb. Last fall we did the same at the Founder’s Table at the National Association of Multicultural Educator’s Conference–one of the largest educational conferences in the world. This year they are asking us to apply to be keynote speakers at the event. Of course, all of those educators with their multicultural worldview must be very stupid.

Debbie, I did not write the last paragraph to brag. I did so to show you what it looks like to have an argument with claims to back it up. Before you ignorantly bash not only a pedagogic methodology, but a whole artistic movement itself, could you at least do some research or read a book so it appears you know what you are talking about?

Henzbo on May 5, 2010 at 7:50 pm

“Arguments” are for FOOLS…

…& Lord knows plenty of “fools” are being turned out and un-educated by our wonderful Public “FOOL” system…

Who cares? on May 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Wow…a whole bunch of posts from liberals screaming “racism!”. It’s getting old. I like a lot of different styles of music…if it sounds good to me I’ll listen to it – even hip hop. I think the whole point of this article is how ridiculous the subject matter being taught is. Seriously…think about it. And by the way, what if a workshop on redneck country hillbilly slang culture was being funded for and held at a university? That would be just as ridiculous. Get over yourselves…why does it always have to be about race? Dumb is dumb no matter what color you are.

Angela04 on May 5, 2010 at 8:44 pm


    Hip Hop Pedagogy is about utilizing the knowledge your students bring into the class with them. So if your classroom is filled with “redneck country hillbilly slang culture” kids, then the lesson plan would be filled with rhetoric they relate too–Garth Brook and The Judds, etc. I’ve taught classes in rural Indiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, even in Marshall, WI miles away from the University of Madison which Debbie Downer mentions. Many of their writing exercises were about farm life, dirt bike racing, tractor pulls, and all the other aspects of rural life they relate too. It just so happens that the students she is referring to are African-American, Latino, Eastern-Asian, etc. I know several of the kids in the Madison program Debbie Downer refers to, so yes, an upperclass white woman ignorantly belittling their learning style and cultural values IS RACIST. Just because I am liberal doesn’t mean I am bandwagon or frothing mad. I am a respected educator, much like many of the people who responded, and UNLIKE Debbie Schlussel. You should google some of the teaching artists who responded to this post and recognize how level-headed and impacting to the community they are.

    Henzbo on May 5, 2010 at 9:12 pm

The whole pedagogy movement is a farce. The kids that are being left behind in school (which there are many) understand english pretty well, they just don’t want to hear a rich kid from the suburbs preach to them. The bigger problem is their societal position and their individual out of school issues. Only then will you see the real you, only then will you see your puppet master for who he really is…. George W. Bush is behind all of this and is playing you for fools!!!

criticalpedagogychamp on May 5, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Hi Debbie

Thank you for exercising your freedom of speech. I know many of the artist you’ve mentioned and think that maybe you should check out their music. Homeboy Sandman for example is a master wordsmith. His lexicon and grasp of the English language is superb. I dare you to listen to his album and share your honest opinion with me.

Your post begins with a poster of Snoop Dogg. I hope you understand that most of the artist you mention are the antithesis to the music and image that main stream rappers portray in popular culture. This education is not an education of gun totting gangsters, but of a real culture that exists in AMERICA today. The term multiculturalism does not apply to an American culture. You would agree that we are all American wouldn’t you? Right or Left wing aside we are all American right?

Either way, thank you for promoting so many of my friends. Your post has probably already helped them sell albums and tickets to their shows, which in turn helps stimulate the economy.


Eliel Lucero

Eliel Lucero on May 5, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I know this may be hard for someone like yourself to understand, but today’s impoverished youth need a reason to learn in a system that tells them from the minute they enter it that they will not amount to much and should be happy with that. Teachers know that the way to reach these kids is to find something that interests them and teach them through that medium, be it hip hop or something else. I noticed you did not present an alternative method of education. You have officially become part of the problem by disregarding the solution before giving it a fair shake. Please, for your own sake, open your mind.

bonnierico on May 5, 2010 at 9:09 pm


Hip Hop Pedagogy is about utilizing the knowledge your students bring into the class with them. So if your classroom is filled with “redneck country hillbilly slang culture” kids, then the lesson plan would be filled with rhetoric they relate too–Garth Brook and The Judds, etc. I’ve taught classes in rural Indiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, even in Marshall, WI miles away from the University of Madison which Debbie Downer mentions. Many of their writing exercises were about farm life, dirt bike racing, tractor pulls, and all the other aspects of rural life they relate too. It just so happens that the students she is referring to are African-American, Latino, Eastern-Asian, etc. I know several of the kids in the Madison program Debbie Downer refers to, so yes, an upperclass white woman ignorantly belittling their learning style and cultural values IS RACIST. Just because I am liberal doesn’t mean I am bandwagon or frothing mad. I am a respected educator, much like many of the people who responded, and UNLIKE Debbie Schlussel. You should google some of the teaching artists who responded to this post and recognize how level-headed and impacting to the community they are.

Henzbo on May 5, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Wow!!! This is probably the most racist article I have ever read! How many years have we taught white socialist history, art, an philosophy in our public schools? I think it is time for a change and teachers should teach some of America’s multicultural history! Debbie, I’ll be praying for your closed minded self and I hope that someday as you are walking down the street gloating your hard headed ignorant self that an ally apple doesn’t get launched at your head…
Oh and if you don’t know what an ally apple is…you need more education in just this subject and maybe you should attend one of these conferences!

ArtTeacher on May 5, 2010 at 9:17 pm

It physically hurt me to read this article, to watch you tear down people that you don’t even know for the sake of taking some shots at hip-hop and the Black community. I bet you think you’re just defending your people, your country, your children from the ass-shaking, crack-dealing, grillz-wearing thugz of rap, but you’re not. You’re just making it worse, showing everyone how easy it is to hide behind closed doors and tear down anyone whose different from them. “Each generation of American kids is dumber and more incompetent than the next” is because their won’t open their eyes, shut their mouths, and just think of the pure hatred that’s spewing from it.

Psssssst, Michael Cirelli isn’t the Lil Wayne lookalike you hoped he’d be. He’s white! Just like you! Scary, huh?

Try pulling your head out of the 1890s before you post your next “scholarly” diatribe. Realizing that I’m the same race as you, I’m horribly, utterly ashamed.

WhitePoet on May 5, 2010 at 9:20 pm

I’m sorry, Debbie. All I hear in this blog post is a bunch of baseless allegations about an educational tactic you clearly know nothing about. Attend one of these seminars, read books, talk to kids who have participated in these kinds of workshops- in other words, gain some context- and try, try again. Perhaps you missed the class on responsible journalism. Fact check, please…

Lauren Nelson on May 5, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Hip-hop exists, and will exist whether you want it to or not.

That said, would you rather we support the movement and use it to educate and empower today’s urban youth?

Or would you rather they just sit powerless reading articles like yours, equating their art form with street trash? If you do not want our youth to continue to be “more dumber and incompetent”, I’d recommend you start by evaluating your own prejudices of hip-hop music. Supporting urban youth means supporting the activist hip-hop movement. No way around it.

Ben on May 5, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Debbie, I hope in light of all these comments you will reconsider your stance on this extremely innovative and impactful program. Yes, although much of these comments are insulting, I am sure you realize how much you have insulted an entire culture which you are not familiar with, not to mention the belittlement you have so casually bestowed on very respectful intellectuals and their valiant efforts at bringing underprivileged youth out of the circumstances and mindsets you are so hateful towards. Please know that although these comments will naturally incite a defensive “shrug off” reaction in you, if you take just a moment it is not hard to see that the folk commenting on your blog are very kind-hearted and well-intentioned, and only want to see all Americans lifted up to have equal opportunities. Proliferating hatred is never the way to go; sometimes we forget that simple blog posts reach a global audience. These people are praying for you, and although this ill-informed post has been very hurtful, I pray that the resulting comments are the catalyst that begins your education in cultural diversity and the norms exercised in different social classes. May your viewpoint of those that are different from you mature.

Katia on May 5, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Hey Debbie,

Are you aware that there are prestigious universities that actually offer a course on Tupac Shakur? I’m sure you’ve heard of him- the thug life rapper who got shot and killed and there ya go! That proves your theory that this is ignorant. But wait a minute, Debbie. Now, here is a guy that grew up in housing projects and the ghetto, saw death every day, people overdosing around him every day, and he chose to write about it and he embodied all the negative aspects of that lifestyle and poured it into his music and he was one of the best that will we ever see and we can discuss this with truth and intelligence because young black men are still dying like this and young white men and hispanic, men, etc for that matter and I am sorry if you don’t want to hear about this, read about this, see this or admit these problems exist in your safe little teeny tiny world but it does and ignoring it and labeling it ignorant won’t make it go away. What is ignorant is that we, America, is one of the most technologically advanced countries on the planet and we still have problems like this in our society. Both sides have a part to play in this. I live in a city housing project, am white, and see my black neighbor walk to the end of the block, meet a couple white kids in thier daddy’s lexus, hand them some little packages and take their money………..would you rather they keep coming here to buy mind altering substances or learn about something positive in the classroom. Because children learn what they see. And if all you teach them is that this whole other group of people are ignorant, than they’re going to go out and find out why. Are you understanding this or is it over your head? C’mon, look at yourself before you start placing blame. I know you’re just trying to make a buck. You know what? So is my black neighbor. Enough said.

Connie on May 5, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I am amazed that would would write so negatively of something you obviously have very little knowledge about. I am a teacher and after a workshop I observed students who have never turned in written work, writing with joy and gusto. If was not college level material, but you have to start somewhere. I recommend you attend some training before you make judgements that to me sound really racial.

I wish you knowledge of the truth and happiness.

Paula (a white teacher)

Paula on May 5, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Debbie, Debbie, Debbie.

I’m going to guess this is what happens when you’re under a deadline. Lazy punditry backed by not a shread of substantive critique.

I’m willing to give you a pass, the benefit of the doubt, and simply chalk this article up to lack of time to research. Because anything less than that would clearly be another in a long line of attempts to make brown people disappear. And we know you’re above that, Debbie.

I’ll be waiting for your apology to Miss Thiahera Nurse, as well as to the poets and teachers in this woefully under-researched article. Looking forward to hearing from you. Or not.

Rich Villar
New Jersey

Richard Villar on May 5, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Posters who attacked Debbie’s piece are a bunch of dumb-downed morons coming out of “Idiocracy”. The idea of promoting hip-hop language in public education is truly DUMB, DUMB, and DUMB.

Hip-hop music, no matter how awesome and moving it sounds or plays, is a mean to dumb-down young people.

Bobby's Brain on May 6, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Dear Bobby,

    I know many of the rappers and spoken word artists who responded to this post and I guarantee many of them probably have a bigger vocabulary than you. To me the idea of dumbed-down education is making claims with no warrants and making ad hominem attacks to feed a close-minded point. Hopefully you are not an educator.

    Henzbo on May 6, 2010 at 12:38 am


    Please use your brain for a minute. Think. You say teaching hip hop in schools is dumbing down education. Have you seen any of these workshops occur in schools or are you just going by what Debbie says? And if hip hop is responsible for dumbing down education, what, does Brian’s brain think we should do to smarten up education? Oh, wait, yeah, I remember. Write a blog about how hip hop is dumbing it down. Wow. Your intellectual properties astound me; alas, I’m not in the market for run down real estate. I prefer more fully mantained dwellings. Ya dig? It’s okay. I know you don’t.

    Connie on May 6, 2010 at 1:29 am

“If you and I are having a single thought of violence or hatred against anyone in the world at this moment, we are contributing to the wounding of the world…” Deepak Chopra

Yellow on May 6, 2010 at 12:43 am

There’s not much I can do to enlighten ignorant adults. Yet, I can and will continue to try.

However, as a poet, urban arts educator and an employee of Urban Word NYC—specifically, the employee who is in charge of working toward the goal of assisting inner-city teens in the process of applying, gaining acceptance, gaining finances and following through with attending and EXCELLING in college (I run the Creatively College Bound Program at Urban Word NYC)—I put the task of “trying to enlighten ignorant adults” at a very low place on my list of priorities.

Following the well-known proverb: You cannot teach an old dog new tricks; and assuming that if there is truth in this idiom then it would be fruitless to focus too much energy on changing the minds of the fully grown “dogs” who are trapped within a certain pattern of thinking; I instead choose to focus on the youth.

This is our primary aim at Urban Word NYC: serving the youth, and in turn, hopefully, making their lives (and the world at large) somewhat more beautiful than the beauty that was already in place. Because let’s not forget that part: this “generation of American kids” who Debbie Schlussel calls “dumber and more incompetent” than any before them—this group of young people who have been the subject of numerous blog-comments addressing the best way to “fix” and “correct” and “educate” them in regards to this article, are in fact, a beautiful and amazing population of kind, tender-hearted, phenomenal and unbelievably fierce-minded intelligent citizens. You cannot know this, until you meet them. I can say this with absolute surety, because I have.

And: They were these amazing forces of beauty even before they entered any sort of classroom—be it traditional or innovative. I think that part is being overlooked.

I have much to say about this article and this debate. Too much, in fact. Luckily, my amazing colleagues and like-minded fellow-Americans have covered a lot of it in the previous posts. Therefore, I would like to stick to having my comment serve only as a reminder or enlightenment to everyone involved in this conversation of this fact: it is the striking abilities and talents of these students that make organizations like Urban Word NYC want to give them a place to foster, flourish and aim their gifts. It is their potential, not their flaws, that inspire us to create new curriculums and new opportunities for them to bless the world with all that they are. We are not all born with equally paved roads or equally sturdy ladders to help us drive or climb to the heights we are meant to reach. It is our duty as fellow residents of this PLANET to nurture one another.

I am not in the business of calling anyone stupid, dumb, having a “warped mind” or being unable to converse in “real” English. Not only is it ignorant, but it is also completely untrue: I know this for a fact because I spend endless hours working as an instructor in both inner-city classrooms as well as in the classrooms of prestigious Universities. To the best of my knowledge, Debbie Schlussel has no experience of this sort whatsoever, and, I am very thankful for this. However, I do ask that anyone without any factual evidence of “stupidity” or “dumbness” please try not to degrade the very group of powerful young people that we are all working so hard to make aware of their incomparable brilliance.

I am proud to say that our students at Urban Word NYC are currently attending and/or have been accepted to institutions such as Yale University, Cornell University, UPenn, The University of Wisconsin, Columbia University and more. Not to say that this is any measure of their worth or the worth of our instruction as far as I am personally concerned, but since I know that it may be the measurement by which others concern themselves, I just wanted to let you know.

Many Blessings,
Erica Miriam Fabri

Erica Miriam Fabri on May 6, 2010 at 12:55 am

Dedicated to Debbie!

Before you do anything, think. If you do something to try and impress someone, to be loved, accepted or even to get someone’s attention, stop and think. So many people are busy trying to create an image, they die in the process… seriously this is by SH

Salma Hayek on May 6, 2010 at 12:58 am

As an a college educated..Hip-Hop Poet and Spoken Word Emcee
I find the ignorance in the post beyond belief
Clearly your knowledge about Hip-Hop (which literally breaks down to an awareness movement…Hip to be aware..Hop to move)is sorely lacking I suggest you digest something outside of the isolated ignorant songs and trends found in EVERY OTHER AMERICAN MUSIC.
And Hip Hop is the only other AMERICAN music since Jazz copied and spread to every other country in the world.
Hip-Hop isn’t dumb down children..The MASS MEDIA is dumbing down children and what’s filtered to them via the MASS MEDIA is dumbing down our children.

OL SOL on May 6, 2010 at 2:03 am

Hip hop is trash. I read stupid females defending hip hop. Are you serious? How has hip hop influenced its male listeners to be upstanding gentlemen? Women should hate this trash. However some foolish women have defended hip hop. OK lets look at the utter contempt for women, the manipulation of women, the disrespect for women. What has it brought inner city women? Some women get impregnated and then blamed for having a baby. Who taught these values to these male savages who won’t care or financially support their offspring? Is this empowerment? A life of crime and excuses. This goes for all the listeners of hip hop who live this hip hop lifestyle. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Whites.

Pastor Manning asks, ‘Have you No Honor?’

CaliforniaScreaming on May 6, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Here’s an excerpt from my comment posted yesterday to this thread: Like every form of music in existence, hip-hop has its share of misogynist & violent images, lyrics and performers, yes. These facts, however, do NOT strip the hip-hop culture of its historical, social & political significance. Just like rock n’ roll isn’t dismissed as being full of pedophiles just because Elvis had a live-in 14-yr old girlfriend back in the 1960s and Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13-yr old cousin. You don’t find me saying all country music is about drugs and murder after hearing Johnny Cash sing “I shot a man in Reno / just to watch him die” or “I took a shot of cocaine / and I shot my woman down.”

    …it is painfullly clear you have done nothing to inform yourself of the origins aka “HISTORY” of hip-hop: Griots, West African oral traditionalists who date back to the 1800s. Their vocal stylings paved the way for blues, jazz, scat and rap. (Which was, in turn, stolen and “fixed” to become white bread rock ‘n roll of the 1950s, but I digress.)

    A hip-hop curriculum is designed to engage the most reluctant readers and writers by creating a pedagogy that utilizes the strongest components of hip-hop (rhyme scheme, hyperbole, alliteration, metaphor/simile, cadence) as devices that will enable students to find parallels between the contemporary griots of today and the classic poets. As an educator who was a high school student in the 90s, let me be the first to tell you, THINGS CHANGE. Constantly. The American history books I was taught from were excessively 1) outdated 2) one-sided 3) reductive. It is our responsibility as educators to keep up with the times. If it means learning the best parts of one of the most influential movements in musical and cultural history, where’s the harm in that?

    Rachel McKibbens on May 6, 2010 at 9:24 am

CaliforniaScreaming…okay. Cool.


Oh…and for the record…I’ve been rapping for about nine years now. No police record. Go figure.


Adam Moshe Levin on May 6, 2010 at 2:45 am

Rich Villar had the money post on this one. And was that the real Salma Hayek?! Good on ya miss.

Did California Screaming really just say “savages?” ahahahhahahah. What’s next, are these “savages” getting too “uppity” for you? Does it totally get your goat when the “arrogant ones” “forget their place?”

I’ll bet you a month’s worth of collection collection plate payola that the youth in these programs have more honor in their book bags than Pastor Manning’s got in his whole chapel. And while we’re at it, should we judge him and your church by the amount of “Christian” ministers who have impregnated partners out of wedlock, or who have had sex with prostitutes, or who have impregnated teens in their ministries in many cases? Or all religion by pedophile priests?

If your answer is No. Then please don’t try and tell me shit about what you “learned” about Hip Hop from a fear peddler in church during Sunday service. Or from Rush Limbaugh, or Glenn Beck. Or on Mtv. Or from Debbie Does Privilege, because your judging a vast web of interlocking international communities (made up of millions of people) based on what you think you know about maybe 1% of those who comprise it.

If your answer is Yes. Then fine, but I don’t follow the advice of people who take life lessons from spiritual leaders who cheat on their spouses with members of their own congregations, assault their children, support prostitution, embezzle money, and support War.

There’s just not a lot of “honor” it.

Jared Paul on May 6, 2010 at 3:37 am

    Anyone who creates children and doesn’t care for them is a savage. Anyone who treats people with disrespect and want respect from other is a savage. Anyone who disrespects a whole group of women as HOs is a savage. A savage is a dishonorable, disrespectful person. My statement was limited to “Who taught these values to these male savages who won’t care or financially support their offspring?” If you create babies and leave the woman alone and expect others to take care of your offspring then you probably are a savage.

    It is always so funny how in Hip Hop, all women are HOs, except their mothers and daughters. The logic is your daughter is pure and to some other man that same women is a HO.

    CaliforniaScreaming on May 6, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Liberals will simply condone anything they believe pokes a finger in the eye of traditional, American values. Racism has nothing to do with finding this entire “hip-hop pedogogy” utterly repulsive. I’m black and am humiliated, embarrassed and saddened that white folks think that the ONLY way to get blacks to learn anything, is by “teaching” sports or music. Wow. That really shows how much disdain white people truly have for minorities, that whites think we aren’t smart enough to learn American History or English Literature, so they lower the teaching standards in the name of “diversity.” When will you idiot liberals see that the only real racism comes from the left? Conservatives give us WAY more credit for being sentient human beings. Liberals still think we’re apes.

nikki on May 6, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Dumbing Down.

    I love when people assume that teaching black culture in a way relevant to black culture that it must be dumbed down. It’s insulting to say the least. Hip-Hop has a deep culture that can be traced through centuries of great minds, it takes bits a pieces from every artistic culture and channels itself through every generation differently.

    It would behoove everyone to teach the children how to properly wield the power of words because you best believe it will only have a bigger impact as time goes by.

    Debbie’s article is ignorant and I don’t like that I feel like i have to leave a comment on it.

    Enig on May 6, 2010 at 10:34 am

    You should be humiliated… by your own ignorance. You clearly took no interest in learning what the aforementioned programs are or what they do before commenting; if you had, you’d have a hard time convincing yourself that they in any way defy “traditional American values” (as if this country has such a great tradition of offering opportunities for black people). In fact, looking back at your post now, I believe that you are either A) not actually black, or B)dumber than dishwater. I’m banking on A).

    J on May 6, 2010 at 10:47 am


    As a classically educated “Black” person I wonder and question your own understanding of your culture, history and heritage. My degree is in the romantics from one of the most prestigious private Jesuit schools in the North East (Marist College, sadly are alumnus include one of your conservative gods BILL O’REILLY) and have spoken on panels at Georgetown, Yale, and Connecticut College.

    IN short, its hard to take your hateful rant seriously as its rooted in so much ignorance about how your own people are taught and approached. I will tell you this, in order to respect someone’s knowledge and understanding you must deal in terms that relate to them. American History, OUR history is indisputable in its treatment towards people of color and their intelligence. The conservative public has done exactly the opposite of what you claim. Their entire approach to “black” people has been….although we have implemented fiscal policies that have crippled your community, institutionalized mental and physical abuse that have sapped confidence and compassion from your children, its up to you by yourself to clean up the mess we made.

    The sad fact here is my colleagues and peers have wasted their valuable time here because when the fight is already won. We have your children. They realize the lies you’ve told them and they are no longer listening to you. They realize that their heritage, their traditions have value, worth and are more a part of the American Dream and ideal then have been given credit. Its so sad how little you wish to understand, that the teachings of people like Garvey, Martin, Malcolm, Dubois and many others are the roots of much of the ideology behind HIP HOP. Not the radio created versions that MUCH OF WHITE CORPORATE AMERICA helped to proliferate and choke out what essentially has been proven to be the LAST GREAT AMERICAN ART FORM (which by the way is the only redeemable thing about country built on elitist, sexism and racism…Jazz, Blues, Soul, Bluegrass, Rock, Hip Hop…..this is your conscious, this is the only truly beautiful thing about YOUR America…)

    The truth is, it doesn’t matter what small minded, bigoted misinformed people think. The world recognizes its worth. YOUR children recognize its worth. Their really is nothing you can do about it.

    I challenge EVERY CONSERVATIVE on here to for once come up with some type of FACT instead of tired mudslinging rhetoric. No one who takes 10 seconds to look through your paper thin arguments actually listens…conservatives rarely if ever back anything they say up in TRUTH or FACT. You rely on fear and dissension. IT worked for hundreds of years in this country. IT still has power….but the power will only last for so long.

    Mikal Amin Lee on May 6, 2010 at 11:58 am


    No one has argued that liberals are not racist. Many of the most racist people I have ever met have been white liberals. I am also a white liberal, and I try every day to take the unfair privileges I have been given and use it to repair the race gaps in our education and justice systems.

    But if you read this blog and saw nothing racist I really don’t know what to tell you. Hip-hop curriculum is not just about rap and football, it is about changing the curriculum from the euro-centric curriculum about the Magna Carta, The Fairy Queene, Charlemagne, Alexander Pope, and all the lily white skewed information we learned in school. It is about increasing their multicultural worldview and teaching kids about their origins–historically, geographically, and artistically, which is where the hip-hop comes in. Tupac and Langston Hughes talked about the exact same struggle, so why are they not appropriate to be paralleled and examined? The kids then relate to Langston Hughes BECAUSE Tupac echoes him. It is just a vehicle to take them to the next step.

    Nikki, if you feel so negatively about an art form, perhaps you have some prejudices as well to examine. I really encourage you to look into this type of critical pedagogy and discover how well researched and practiced it is.

    Henzbo on May 6, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Thank you for exercising your freedom of speech. I know many of the artist you’ve mentioned and think that maybe you should check out their music. Homeboy Sandman for example is a master wordsmith. His lexicon and grasp of the English language is superb. I dare you to listen to his album and share your honest opinion with me.

islamicnet on May 6, 2010 at 7:46 am

I´m very glad that so many of my colleagues and other like-minded individuals have commented on this ridiculous article. I actually wrote a long article in response, which I may post on my blog. I felt personally attacked by Debbie´s piece for many reasons. 15 years ago, I was a teen engaged by Hip Hop, expressing myself through rap and excelling in academics. I am now leading Hip Hop Scholar & Educator. You know what, I´m still incensed so I´ll be posting the blog for my friends to read when I get back to my laptop.

M.C. K~Swift on May 6, 2010 at 7:47 am

I speak for many I’m sure but I speak from my heart and as 50 year old Black man,who grew up in NY, went through the public school system of NY and graduated from college…I just really want to go off on a un-adulterated tirade and call you a racist ass-hole! But I wont! Ok, you promoted some names of some very talented, well-educated, professionals, poets, performers, but none of them would agree with this curriculum, none of them learned from any educators who would deem that ebonics and HIP HOP is going to not only motivate learning,but excel students who dont want to learn!!! stimulate senses maybe…but educating the proper awareness and tools necessary to get a job or educate their children, Are you saying Blacks are only capable of learning through the rhymes of gangsta rap, knoddin their heads to beats and rhyming, the glorification of murder, money, mayhem… degradation of our women, dismissal of the proper esthetics of learning, oh keep, keep us in our projects and corners and liquor stores and drug selling…Hip Hop is a musical culture, voices of struggle, street, freedom of speech of under-priveledged poor young people who have been exploited and made rich,and really not much more… and I think we have all learned from the asthetics of the Hip Hop culture,its internationally and nationally mainstream but not every young Black, Spanish, minority young man and young woman is aspiring to live, survive and breathe through HIP HIP/ as you think this is a tool of has mechanisms for teaching if carefully researched and injected through music programs…but our children like anyone elses children need a sound and proper education that begins in the home and exemplified and strengthen through an accredited and organized educational system, that in most urban and poor areas already has its own share of problems! I respect your freedom of speech, however you need some educating and learning of a real serious prospective of Black culture! and the music is just a small realm of its importance in our lives. Careful Debbie! this is not funny, or will be taken lightly!

Ed Toney on May 6, 2010 at 8:45 am

What’s really sad about Debbie’s post is that it BLATANTLY misrepresents the Hip Hop Education movement through lies and misinformation.
Here’s what I just posted on my blog…

Who is Debbie Schlussel and why is her opinion worth our attention?
On Wednesday, May 5th, an article was shared with me entitled, “Hip Hop Curriculum: Your Day in the DeeKline of PublicK SKoOL EdYOOKayshun,” by Debbie Schlussel. This ridiculous headline is underscored by a picture of Snoop Dogg in pimp regalia, surrounded by half naked women, of course. The caption reads, “Meet Your Kids’ New Publick Skool Teachahz.” Expectedly, the piece goes on to viciously demean Hip Hop culture specifically and American youth in general. She makes these attacks while using questionable punctuation and grammar as well as misleading citations. This is shown by how she opens the article with the aforementioned photograph. If she had done about 90 seconds of research, she’d possibly have figured out that no educator in their right mind would embrace this image of Snoop Dogg in a curriculum engaging Hip Hop. In fact, it would most likely be used to start discussion around misogyny in American popular culture in general.

Where’s this all coming from? Apparently, Debbie is upset that the University of Wisconsin-Madison hosts an annual institute on Hip Hop Education. I’ve presented at this institute twice due to my relationship with Urban Word NYC, the organization which does much of the coordination of the event. In her deplorable writing style, she dissects the schedule of events inaccurately, spinning every thing she quotes in order to serve her bigoted interests. She also seems to enjoy making things up.

“Among the new high-flown languages in which you’ll be ‘educated’ (or rather de-educated) to speak is ‘Nuyorican….’ Love that multi-culturalism.” I’ve never heard of any one teaching Nuyorican as a language. That just doesn’t happen. As one of the leading Hip Hop Educators in the country, I can say this with authority. I imagine she picked that single word out from someone’s bio that mentioned the legendary Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe.

Let’s look at another example of her foolishness. “New Book: How to Score 1,600 on Your SATs Through the Study of Lil Wayne Lyrics While Visiting Him in Prison and Sending Greetings to Hi Four Kids with Four Women by DJ Rabbi Darkside.” I can’t help wondering if she knows that the perfect SAT score hasn’t been 1,600 in about a decade. Worse than this is her imaginary Hip Hop math problem. I won’t post it here. You can read it at her page, and then leave a comment.

Debbie has poor English skills. She shows a lack of reading comprehension by refering to a one-woman theater piece as “curriculum.” It’s also clear to me that she hasn’t a shred of journalistic integrity. Wait, is she a even a journalist? I doubt it. She’s definitely not a writer. Critical thinking doesn’t appear to be her strong suit either. “And you wonder why each generation of American kids is dumber and more incompetent than the next.” No, Debz. I wonder how you take yourself seriously. I wonder if people who agree with your drivel would support the ban of ethnically aware education in Arizona public schools.

I could have been writing a song or a lesson plan. Instead, I read and responded to commentary on my identity and work by someone who probably wouldn’t give me the time of day in a wrist watch strap shop. I’ll do something Debbie wouldn’t ever do; listen to Homeboy Sandman’s “Airwave Air Raid” and smile about it.

M.C. K~Swift on May 6, 2010 at 8:50 am

If at anytime Debbie would like to get off of her knees and stop trying to suck the decency out of humanity…it would be nice

Friends of Poetry on May 6, 2010 at 8:50 am


Jumper on May 6, 2010 at 9:13 am

looks like responding to deb’s article became a hip-hop class assignment…

howardroark on May 6, 2010 at 10:19 am

    When good and valuable programs are attacked by unhinged and racist nutjobs, exploiting white panic for the advancement of their careers as d-list pundits, is it any wonder that the backlash is substantial? Of course, you, naming yourself after a rapist in an Ayn Rand novel, cannot be expected to have much sense.

    This is no class assignment. These are real people that are genuinely offended by your pet Debbie, and her bile, and a few sockpuppets coming to her rescue does not undo the fact that everything that comes out of her mouth is offensive, kneejerk incendiary bullshit.

    Jake on May 6, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Incorrect. A community of dedicated and talented educators expressed their views.

    A Teacher on May 7, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Anybody else think it’s funny that this argument is going on with an ad for Ozzie Osborne on the side?

Pete Bone on May 6, 2010 at 10:27 am

Debbie, I am struck by your ignorance and floored by how threatened you clearly are. Attitudes like this- dismissive, arrogant, misguided- seem to be the trend lately as the country’s demographics switch and institutions like public education (finally!) begin to take a closer look at themselves. Your post reminds me of the violent resistance to change we are seeing from the tea party and the far right as of late. You know what? Thank God the hip hop generation is so resilient. In fact, maybe we should thank you for the reminder of how essential the work we do as artists and educators- working toward heightened understanding, peace, and justice- really is.

Coriel Gaffney on May 6, 2010 at 11:56 am

Seeing that everything that could be said, has been. I would like to simply add

You fear that which you don’t understand, as Ms. Schlussel clearly shows. As if the age gap gap doesn’t do nearly enough to place judgement on my generation you, with your article, are tacking on about 5 more layers of separation.

As a young person some of these workshops and curriculums have serviced over the years I’ll be the first one to say you’re just wrong. Wrong also, are the people who even take 5 minutes out of their day to try and defend you and this piece of writing (some of which aren’t defenses as much as as they are insults…or things bullies say when they feel stupid but still want to rummage for some pride via humor @howardroark)

There’s something to be said about change, as well as the people & things that are reluctant to it. This world is an ever-changing one. We are beings built for adaptation, cognition, and growth. Since you are utilizing none of those abilities I say:

Either get with it or get lost (dinosaur style).

Ashley J. on May 6, 2010 at 11:59 am

Note: A very good way to bump up your hits count:

Attack something that is incredibly popular, successful and well respected with countless supporters who will visit your page to leave angry and disgusted comments, then you take it to the bank…

Hey Mr. Capitalist, wouldn’t you like to buy some ad space on my page? I had two-hundred hits in the last hour!

You didn’t have to do any research or fact checking. Hell, you basically just made up the whole damned thing as you went along. Maybe my second masters degree and pursuit of a doctorate is a waste of time; I mean doing all of that intense research and writing for no compensation.


T on May 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I understand that all of the misuses of hip hop present in this article have already been exposed by the posters below. However, I just wanted to know if you actually listened to a Homeboy Sandman track? That direct attack against this emcee (Home***** Sand**)was definitely unwarranted. His songs promote among other things- vegan living (the song “Fuel”), education (Air Wave Air Raid) and self respect. This Ivy League graduate’s songs have more positive influence and intellectual content then your entire blog.
All I am saying is do the research before you make conclusions and dirty someone’s name. By the way, Air Wave Air Raid may be one of the most truthful and meaningful songs and actually successfully addresses the issues that you so miserably failed to do.

Daniel on May 6, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Sexism, violence and various other deviant behaviors have been manifested in every form of music in existence to date. I challenge you to find a genre, even classical, that does not have these elements present in some of it’s pieces.

Furthermore, music is but one of the many artistic forms that is used in education. Is there not this same violence present in fiction novels and poetry? Perhaps we should not spend our tax dollars on English Courses. Visual art often depicts cultural values and norms that may have been acceptable in one culture at one time, but are now considered “repulsive.” What about US and World History? Lot’s of violence there, we better not each that anymore….etc.

Now, in case you are not following my line of reasoning, what I find to be ridiculous about your portrayal of hip-hop music is the way in which you have chosen one element of a genre and reduced the whole genre down to that one element. An equivalent with a different genre could come by highlighting the mention of whiskey or moonshine in country music and determining the whole genre to be a culture of alcoholism and instantly ignoring the various positive aspects of that music.

These educators are professionals who capture teachable moments and generate excitement for learning. They make the material realistic for the students by offering it in a culturally relevant manner that aligns with their own life experiences.

As a former NYC teacher I can tell you first hand that much of the state curriculum utilized in inner-city schools seems completely foreign to urban-dwelling youth; just as much as a hip-hop themed lesson might seem totally out of place in a traditionally rural town.

I think that the real fear of this pedagogical method is that it actually works. Studies and test cases have repeatedly showed increased success-rate and passage percentages on standardized tests.

The goal of standardized testing is essentially two-fold in nature: 1. To separate students into very distinct class categories based largely on their geographical placement in society, and 2. To destroy public education and privatize the education system. There is lot’s of profit to be made for business-minded conservatives who wish to “open up this market.”

Furthermore, there are a whole lot of disgruntled unemployed and underemployed white folks who take solace in the notion that no matter how bad they have it, at least they’re not black or latino. Having a permanent under-class does wonders for the egos of those who are in a low position in society; at least they are in society…

I’m heartened to see so many comments from other readers who found this piece to be ridiculous and offensive on so many different levels. May the righteous prevail.


Mayday on May 6, 2010 at 1:03 pm

I mentioned it above, but I just want to make sure that you do realize that Homeboy Sandman (who you referred to Home***** Sand**) is a graduate of an Ivy League school and attended two years of law school. Rabbi Darkside is also a college grad and a high school teacher. I didnt see that information mentioned in the article, but I guess those facts wouldnt help your cause.

Daniel on May 6, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Its beautiful to see so many people with LOVE KNOWLEDGE AND TRUTH… there is not much I can say that hasn’t been said…
We all see where “your” education has gotten you!


spknwrdsvdmylife on May 6, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I don’t know how to feel… DS you truly are an ass. HR follow the other lambs to the slaughter house… maybe the reason OUR country is in the shape it is is because idiots like you continue to reproduce and teach lies to my children. I am blessed to see such support from the community…
I thank the supporters of what WE do…
I have nothing nice or educated to say except…


spknwrdsvdmylife on May 6, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Simply, your ignorance astounds me.

Jeni on May 6, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Perhaps, you should devote your time and opinions to something, in which, you have even the slightest expertise. Like the study of spouting off degrading generalizations as a means of condemning (get this, because it’s the best part) DEGRADING GENERALIZATIONS. The major differences between you and your chosen whipping boy (excuse me BOI!) is that hip hop speaks of a culture it is actually a part of, and has the good sense to leave high-minded pretenses at the urine soaked elevator door.

Uwudn't Care on May 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Spoken word as a movement has impacted my life in nothing but positive ways. Don’t get me wrong I was always on the college path, and will be obtaining my bachelors degree next spring (in three years mind you), but this movement did more than that. It made me excited about learning, and discover the power in words and having an outlet. I know plenty of people who attend UW’s program that deal with performing and spoken word, they are talented and positive individuals. I believe the writer of this article is grossly misinformed and should have done a few interviews instead of dissecting a press release with no background information. Maybe after seeing a few of these comments she will start doing her job. I’m not here to defend hip-hop, everything has problems, including whatever genre of music she may listen to. I hope all the artists mentioned in this article just realize that part of art is being woefull misunderstood. When people don’t understand or give art a chance their inner child dies a little, Ms. Schlussel, stop killing your inner child. Give art a chance, pick up, a cd, a book, attend these workshops and then form your opinion, until then you are perpetuating ignorance (which according to webster is a lack of knowledge or education).
Be blessed

Yveka on May 6, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Hmmm…a very interesting discussion. Initially, I tended to agree with Debbie, as I don’t have much use for hip-hop since I have always viewed it as the several other commenters have already described: disrespectful of women, pro-violence, and kind of vapid with all the descriptions of bling, cars, money etc.

Of course, my own exposure to the genre has been the radio, MTV, whatever makes it to the popular culture. I’ve never set down in a smoky, dimly lit club to hear a performance by a local artist, or heard an independently produced cd, etc.

After reading the reasoned, beautifully articulated responses by the defenders of the genre, I admit to being intrigued. If Snoop Dogg is what is taught to the kids, I’d be hard-pressed to find anything positive in it. But if what is taught is the language used in the above responses, the value is apparent.

Matt on May 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Matt, you can’t separate it from the main message. That pic of Snoop didn’t disturb you? How ’bout using “b****” as a synonym for female, as if women were dogs or breeders? “Ho,” insinuating…well, you know. Emphasis on money, girls-as-golddiggers, the thug lifestyle,pimps as heroes, emphasis on money, bling, and crime, stories of killing cops, white devils and being serviced by “bitches”?

    Repeatedly thru my career as a HS teacher, I’ve had kids, parents and teachers assure me, “This rap’s not like that.” But it always is. It’s the “shock-rock” of music (if you can put it in the music category.)

    It does so much harm to kids. And the “defenders” are like defenders of torture porn — they’re so desensitized that they’ve lost the ability to know what is degrading and ugly.

    impeachthedude on February 23, 2011 at 12:35 am

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