Lyricism &Leadership: Hip-Hop & Community Change
Since themid 80's the musical art form known as Hip-Hop has been used to communicate, educate and change the complex dynamics of urban communities. Hip-Hop lyricists have used the craft to speak about the realities and experiences of their daily lives and as a result, provided leadership and a voice to those in their community who could relate. Hip-Hop has also been used as a platform for community awareness, education, and activism. While the genre known as Hip-Hop has urban beginnings it has now become one of the most popular music genres in the world bridging gaps between race, creed, culture, language and geographic divides.
In May, 2017, Indie Hip Hop artist Devine Carama (Believing in Forever) and CIL Director, Bryan Hains co-taught a course in the Department of Community and Leadership Development. During the course students were challenged to use the music genre Hip Hop to discuss community development issues within the Commonwealth of KY. As such, a very diverse group of students (age, ethnicity, cultural backgrounds, socio-economic status etc.) wrote, sang and produced a seven-song album to promote community education and community change. To further expand their community development focus, proceeds from the album support a student chosen non-profit organization On the Move Art Studio. It can be argued that this course was highly innovative in that it was co-taught by an internationally known Hip-Hop artist and community activist (Devine Carama) and community educational expert (Bryan Hains). Furthermore, it was a student directed, performed and produced class. Lastly, while the class itself built community among the students and instructors, it also provided community economic development as all proceeds from the sales of the EP are given to budding local non-profit On the Move Art Studio.