In this episode Kwasi brings back Dutty Bookman to discuss the movement he has helped dub as the Reggae Revival after a panel at SXSW 2027. He also speaks to Koro Fyah of the Bevel Rock camp about his ABC’s at SXSW as well. Bomani interviews the founder of the Uganda’s Bavubuka Foundation, Babaluku, and their chief archivist Gilbert Daniels about Hip-Hop in Uganda and the Lugaflow movement. Bomani and Kwasi also discuss spirituality in independent music, and how the community discusses things like sin. A must listen!
Check out this interview with Grammy Nominated artist and educator Christylez Bacon. We explore his growth as an artist coming from Southeast DC and graduating from Duke Ellington High school for the performing arts, his experience with the Crushed I.C.E. Teen Program, and we reminisce on our days teaching art integrated workshops with the National Organization for Concerned Black men (before it was called art integration). Also learn more about the cultural exchange program he started with D.C.’s city sister Brazillia, Brazil, and his self taught ethnomusicology that has led him all the way to Iceland. Find more information about him athttp://www.christylez.com/
Had a wonderful time catching up to my old friend and colleague Tim Jones. Tim is the director of the teen program at Martha’s Table, one of DC’s most rekknowned non profit organizations and the place I began my career as a youth facilitator. Join us as we talk about how “urban-education” has evolved from the early 90’s to now with many schools looking to incorporate hip-hop into the educational process. A great listen on the changing dynamics in our field.
I had a wonderful week working with the teachers and staff at Beverly Hills Farms Elementary. Shout out to Mrs. Balzar, Mrs. Cashmere, Mrs. Foley and Mrs. Bardwell and the incredible 5th graders.
On that dark Monday night was the Boston Massacre
100 colonists abused, taunted and provoked
Lobsters, scoundrels, bloody backs they called the Red Coats
The infuriated colonists threw ice covered rocks
In less than 20 minutes lives were taken by the shots
The battle was intense and the riot was hardcore
The Massacre led to the Revolutionary War
On Dec 16, 1773
The Sons of Liberty threw the Boston Tea Party
Samuel Adams lead them in Native American disguise
The British were the ones that the colonist despised
Taxation without representation was constantly abused
They asked Parliament to stop but sadly they refused
After the Tea Party came the Intolerable Acts
All of this happened because of the tax
Midnight, April 18, 1775
This is when it started, Paul Revere’s ride
He used petticoats to muffle the oars
To row past the Somerset, the British man of war
He looked in the North Church tower for the lanterns
1 by land, 2 by sea, Dawes would give the answer
By sea they came, looking for weapons to destroy
If you need a warning Paul Revere’s your boy
The Father of our country is George Washington
The Revolutionary War is a war which he won
He was a patriot, statesmen and war hero
The British army had more size, he had no fear though
The Valley Forge camp was an icy disaster
But he led the Continental Army, was a great spy master
King George showed power by using gun powder
Washington showed power by surrendering power
Join me in this riveting interview with poet, playwright, performer and educator Goldie Patrick. We discuss a wide range of topics including challenging patriarchy and misogyny in hiphop, working with young women through writing and the job of an educator to make education fun and digestible. We take a in depth look she does with her theater company FRESHH and discuss strategies to engage children. “The girls come in thinking they are doing a theater job. The women of the village know that they are doing rights of passage…” – Goldie Patrick
Hearing the excitement in our voices as I edit this interview let’s me know that Drew Anderson and I are definitely on the right path. Listen as we discuss the life of being a young teacher and artist and how it has evolved into Drew’s “Crunk Academy”. A must listen for teachers going through the grind and great insight on how Drew and other Young Audiences teachers use hip-hop in the classrooms.
Baba Bomani interviews artist and educator Konshens theMC about hip-hop in the classroom, the BARS curriculum and the H.E.L.P. literacy program, and strategies to increase engagement of students and parents at underserved schools. Learn more about Konshens and his work at http://www.konshens.com/
Take a listen to my latest project, “The Baba Bomani Show” podcast! This podcast is dedicated to everything education and youth development. Featuring interviews, discussions and tips on art integration, STEM and STEAM, experiential learning, education policy, educational music and much more! This show is for parents, teachers and everyone else interested in the development of young people. Check out the first episode here, and then check out babagotbars.com. Thanks for the continued support!
Hello fellow educators! For well over 15 years I have been using hip-hop, poetry and multi-media disciplines to teach fun and informative workshops with all ages from kindergarteners to graduate students. As you know, the art of MC’ing is reliant on the ability to rearrange complex ideas into concise rhymes. If they done correctly, MC’s can make memorable rhymes that stick with the listener and inform them about the world around them. It is commonly believed that the art of hip-hop rhyming is an innate talent, but by using my program B.A.R.S. to apply the principles of the writing process, any student can be taught to rhyme on topic.
B.A.R.S. workshops, residencies and teaching materials show students how a well- written essay resembles a well-written song, with the Main Idea being the thesis paragraph in an essay and a chorus/refrain/hook in a song, while the Supporting Details in an essay are just like the verses. Using my innovative B.A.R.S. techniques, students learn how to summarize any topic with a well organized paragraphs and rhymes.
floss looking boy, boss looking boy, at the bar showing off looking boy
that’s just a decoy for the pills you deployed took her home and enjoyed
rick ross lookin boy
ioeno why you free looking boy
rob women of their bodies looking boy
then treat her like a toy, are you trying to fill a void
i’ll leave that to Freud, lost me little boy
went from Hey ms. Parker looking boy
to creeping Darren sharper looking boy
the pills would stop her, from acting proper
she ain’t a willing partner but that you avoid
You like them drunk and sloppy looking boy
all up in her like a hemroid
no joke Bill Cosby looking boy
should be an autopsy looking boy
so what’s a date raper looking boy
if she don’t want it i’ll take her looking boy
they’re taking all her joy you a faker looking boy
could play shooting guard for the Lakers looking boy
i can get away with murder looking boy
Brock Turner, Mark Chmura, Rothlesberger looking boy
give the press a story and your fans annoyed
before you even know it her life is destroyed
she came in my room late night looking boy
yeah she put up a fight looking boy
she must be horny, all my fame and my glory
end up locked down, Iron Mike looking boy
funny all the excuses we employ
when you learn our heroes ain’t the real mccoy
she wake up on your pillow in the morning
she don’t remember, Cee-lo looking boy
Woody Allen and Soon Yi looking boy
Weak looking boy, sneak looking boy
Nasty R. Kelly looking boy
With a toot toot and a beep beep looking boy
wait for her after her school looking boy
think that we are fools looking boy
i’ll bend and break the rules looking boy
just to steal her family jewels looking boy
but let’s go a little farther with the story
famous we don’t even bother with the story
they’re supposed to be a father to the boy
Sandusky and Bambataa looking boy
rapist aren’t skulker looking boys
hyenas and vulture looking boys
we got to be more vocal with it boys
so I ask you how’s rape culture looking boys?
#stakesishighchallenge Good thing I put shea butter on my elbows. Spitting some grown man shit about how high the stakes are for me right now.Teige Jireh
you ever have a moment when realities of life spoke to you?
that happened when i got this track to put my vocals to
stakes getting higher each stage of life i’m going through
my thoughts on life were so new when i got married in 02
wasn’t ready for the growth and change that we go through
we both felt robbed and destroyed, our dreams brokeintwo
but now we have the children that we brought into
existence… so what are gonna do?
what do we do when the stakes are higher than me and you?
in the end to thine own self be true
all we really want to do is be great parents to our little crew
a standard we will pursue even when we move onto someone new
This lady came in my life when i was so confused
funny, you can meet for conversation, a smoke or two
learn what they believe, what they’re open to
feeling comes over you
now find yourself making plans for the both of you
why i moved this challenge from the laptop to the vocal booth
i figure i’d raised the stakes if i spoke to you
behbeh, a storm is passing and the sun has broken through
i want to soak in you
i plant a seed of life and of hope in you
plus my sons are never getting over you
whether bumping roads or coasting through
i know which hands are holdable and foldable
my chips are on you like I’m supposedtodo
every word of this verse is a hiphop quotable
I’mma properly record these soon, but If i don’t just spit them out I’ll sit on them forever…
the war on drugs ain’t just reagan and nixon
the blood in my eye causes rose colored vision
so i approach the game like george jackson in san quentin
remind myself that patience has it’s limits
i peep democratic game plan and it’s gimicks
let’s start will Bill Clinton
played sax on arsenio, we all watched and listened
and said he’s blacker than kool-aid and fried chicken
create a trade agreement that depress the state of living
create a system
that put more black men under justice supervision
than there were slaves,
they make money off of prison
Bill was handing out years like handing out minutes
generations know their fathers from upstate visits
then wonder why the black community is diminished
cops hunt us with no limits
and harassment is infinite
screaming “black lives matter”, their confused like it’s physics
send the DOJ to baltimore and ferguson to witness
when they’re done the cops go right back to business
we looking at the Obama like “man, what is this?”
while he steadily explains and defends this
we’re try to break this, he’s trying to bend this
now we elect a president whose family did this
not mention bad decisions and shady stuff she been did
she apologize, we’re forced into forgiveness
scared of trump so we readily dismissed it
choose between a neoliberal and a nitwit
are you an educated voter or you getwit
i watch her run like a getfit
her down home talk, tossing us a biscuit
you say a third party can’t win this
but if not right now, when do we begin this
insanities is a certified sickness
it’s when you do the same thing and expect something different
Son, they shook
’cause if you out here voting for crooks
Scared to death, scared to look
’cause if you out here voting for crooks
Scared to death, scared to look
give back the life that they stole from us son
There’s numerous ways they abuse us to earn funds,
We get shot, locked down even when they’ve won
and still vote for them after the shit they’ve done
That ain’t the look son, you just a shook one,
It’s my pleasure to introduce you to the Watermelon Man Album. A collection of songs I about and for my people working hard to change the world around them. The first track “Libation” is my new official theme song. “Energy does not die, it transforms” is a mantra that reminds me of how temporary our existence is but how permanent our spirit is. Check out the music here and please download a version. Thank you for your continue support!
repost from Young Audiences of Maryland
Teaching Our Youngest Learners Environmental Citizenship Through the Arts
Part 2: Local Ecosystems
This Spring, Young Audiences wrapped up the initial phase of its pilot programming for Prince George’s County Public School District’s new arts integration initiative, Growing Up Green. We introduced the program in an earlier blog post, but here is a refresher for those who missed it:
The initiative is part of an exciting new partnership between Young Audiences/Arts for Learning and Prince George’s County Public Schools and is funded in part by a BGE Green Grant and the Chesapeake Bay Trust. The program engages kindergarteners in meaningful and authentic outdoor experiences that help connect them to their local ecosystems and inspire them to learn more about protecting our environment. The arts provide the vehicle that the students use to demonstrate and communicate their understanding to the greater learning community of their school.
Bomani, a Young Audiences Teaching Artist, began his pilot program by using poetry to investigate the process of composting with five groups of Kindergarten classes at three different schools: John Hanson Montessori, Oxon Hill Elementary, and Benjamin Foulois Creative and Performing Arts Academy. Over 80 kindergarteners had the opportunity to literally get their hands dirty in hands-on learning while understanding everything from what type of trash can be composted to why we need to grow food. Read on to hear more about Poetry and Composting from Bomani…click here
One of the greatest accomplishments in my life has been facilitating safe havens for young people by using the elements of hip-hop culture. Hip-hop “culture” is not a complete culture by itself, it is an offshoot of black culture and includes expressions of art especially graffiti, breakdancing, dj’ing, mc’ing, beatboxing, fashion etc. This force has a dark side that is mass media’s favorite version to exploit. For those of us who use this force for good, we take the role of training young padawans very seriously.
The true force of hip-hop culture is its history of being a safe haven, an academy, a praxeum for black and brown children escaping the stress of street life while having an opportunity to perfect the art of expressing themselves. We are constantly exposed to the Siths and Darths who use the force to highlight violence, extreme capitalism and misogyny, but my tight knit group of us take our calling seriously. We respect the “dark side” and are often fans of many of its practitioners, but recognize the light that can be brought to our streets through the mediums and ideals of hip-hop. Hip-hop folklore has placed it as a protective and transformative force. The idea that hip-hop parties, ciphers, crews and culture as we know it were a response by the young people to the oppressive conditions of the South Bronx, is something we repeat in every grant application and every time we repeat our mission statements to our youth. This ideal runs across all of my favorite people involved in the culture, as well as their many projects. … Continue Reading
Watermelon day is a celebration of summer and summers favorite fruit. Established by the national watermelon association (NWA), it is now celebrated nationwide. In Washington DC Bomani Armah began celebrating watermelon day with festivals featuring music and art in Northwest DC starting in 2011. Today not only does watermelon day feature summer’s favorite fruit it also features everything black, red and green (the colors of The African flag). Watermelon Day has come to also stand for black cultural pride. Inspired (instead of being repulsed) by the stereotype that black people like watermelon, the DC Watermelon Day celebrations ask and answer the crucial question: Why should black people care if they are associated with love and eating watermelon? We, as an ethnic group and a culture, should decide what parts of our history we embrace and reject, without consideration to what those who are outside of and opposed to us think. Watermelon is incredible healthy and practical while having a long history of sustaining and sweeting the lives of black people eve since they arrived here enslaved. To this end watermelon day has featured black businesses, Black books, African drum and dancing, as well as spoken word poetry, hip-hop, rock’n roll and funk music.
Join Bomani Armah (aka the Watermelon Man) as he debut’s all new music that will appear on his forthcoming album “The Watermelon Man” at Kennedy St.’s latest gem called Culture Coffee.
There was no “Tamir Rice Case”. Tamir was not on trial nor did he commit a crime. Tamir was a 12 year old playing with a toy gun (in a state where white people are allowed to openly carry real guns) playing in a playground. This is case about Officer Timothy Loehmann, the City of Cleveland Police department and District Attorney’s office. Tamir Rice suffered from a sanctioned killing by the state, and I am one of millions of people trying to not go batshit crazy about it. Maybe find a life lesson from it to move on from.
The only new life lesson I could pull from the whole incident is to not be that 911 caller. Don’t be the adult who sees that a black child needs to be told a life lesson (in this instance not to play with toy guns as if they are real) and expect the police to come and do it for you. That is not the police officer’s job. “Serve and protect” is like “How ya doin?”. It’s just something you say. The police officer’s job is to be able to prove that they were afraid of a black male, justifying whatever action they take after that. There are officers who choose to go beyond that, and treat their black constituents like people, but all they are required to do to dodge indictment by the law is prove that the black person made them afraid enough to do it. “It”, meaning absolutely anything from beating to shooting them.
Seven years ago around this time, we had just elected a black president. I remember the buzz in the air that lasted long after election night. Everyone was trying to figure out the new world we were in, and just happy to have lived to see it. That year I ended up over my best friend’s house on the weekend after NYE to watch the Rose Bowl. I don’t remember anything about the game, except for that before the end of the 1st quarter the announcer pointed out the black head referee and said, “This is the first black man to be head referee at the Rose Bowl”. My boy and I looked at each other for second, serious screw faces and heads cocked sideways, then we burst out laughing. Full belly laughs. Not that we thought the first black referee at the Rose Bowl was a joke, just that all “first black” (or any black) accomplishments now paled in comparison to what we had just accomplished just weeks earlier. We had moved on in the last few months before that football game, where our goal posts for what we considered success and black historical relevance had changed. The same has happened to the art of black filmmaking.
My favorite place is Sankofa Video and Books Café. We are having a special event on Friday October 2nd from 8pm to 11pm called “Say It Loud!”. Here’s what you do: Go buy the special 2 for $15 tickets at http://sankofasayitloud.eventbrite.com (special price until September 21st). Come early, check out the drinks and the food (the salmon melt there is my favorite, and I drink brown liquor if you’re buying) then wipe your hands and check out the videos and books from throughout the African Diaspora, as well as the largest collection of Black Children’s Books on the East Coast. Then, we will have a community songwriting workshop based on the conversation we have on our facebook event page here https://www.facebook.com/events/932350146830240/ and write a song about it as a group! This is followed immediately by poetry by yours truly, and then my a live performance from my afro-funk-rock-gogo-hiphop band Immaletchufinish! Tell a friend, mark the date on your calendar, and buy your tickets today!
Whenever Tariq Omarii calls, I’m there. Thanks again brother, for inviting me to talk about fatherhood and homeschooling on Views and Vibes. To be clear (I realize I might give a different impression on social media) I am not a “single father”. Olu & Dela’s mom is just as invested and active even though the boys primarily stay with me now. I also hate being considered an “expert”. I’m making it up as I go along, as most parents. This was a great opportunity to highlight the work of the homeschool collectives I work for, and just further the conversation on parenting. Definitely take a look, pass it around, and let me know what you think! (my segment starts around the 15 minute mark)
Whether KRS-1 was screaming “You Must Learn!”, Inspektah Deck admonishing us to “…speak the truth to the young black youth”, Slick Rick teaching lessons in “Hey Young World” or Nas encouraging the youth with “I Can”, hip-hop has always tried (to varying degrees of success) to incorporate the kids. I get asked all the time for hip-hop music and educational material, and have found it a harder to find the music than I expected.
A year ago I asked my social media friends to to give me their favorite rap songs I could play for 3rd graders, and it was even more discouraging. The list of songs I received were incredible, spanning classics and hidden gems from the great hip-hop albums (including De La Soul’s “Me Myself and I” that I actually use in the classroom now). The problem is, “family-friendly” in hip-hop is completely relative. In a genre not afraid of rhyming about sex, drugs and rock’n’roll (even raping corpses at times) the songs that are “soft” in comparison are still to “hard” for an 8 year-old. To that end, I have compiled a few of my most trusted hip-hop resources for kids. This list highlights simply great music that children can find entertaining, to full fledged curriculum with common-core tie in’s and ways to increase your young students knowledge. Here are 4 hip-hop resources 4 your kids.
“More Fraggles than Wiggles, more Soul Train than Thomas the Train, 23 Skidoo is equal parts Dr. Suess and Dr. Dre!”
This is great music for the emotional development of your young person. From his anthems dedicated to childhood favorite activities like “Pillow Fight” or dealing with childhood difficulties like moving to new communities and losing friends in “Chase the Rain”, Skidoo seems to remember what it’s like to be 9. The music and incredibly creative and fun videos offers his poetic insights to make adolescence all better. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo also teaches residencies and was nominated for a Grammy in 2015. With his live instrumentation, and being occasionally upstaged by his daughter MC Fireworks, Skidoo can best be described as hardcore sunshine. Check out his new project The Perfect Quirk and his most popular video “Gotta Be Me”.
“Christylez Bacon offers well-written tales and observations about everyday life that flow smoothly over jazz-influenced tunes” – Curt Fields The Washington Post
Full disclosure, Christylez is my artistic brother. Year ago I would have called him my little brother, as I was one of his many mentors when he began his artistic journey years ago. One of my first teaching experiences was working with Tim Jones (aka Optimist) and the Crushed I.C.E. program at Martha’s Table, where a young Chris was one of our star pupils. I have seen him grow from a teenage lyrical phenomenon, to the unofficial hip-hop laureate of Washington D.C., and one of the most colorful and respected voices in hip-hop music. Whether jamming to his debut project Advanced Artistry, or his Grammy nominated project with Cathy and Marcy Banjo To Beatbox or his new solo EP Hip-Hop Unplugged, your children will be in musical bliss. For an even better multicultural experience, check out one of his Sound Museum events where he takes music from across cultures and mixes them with his unique blend of hip-hop. Christylez is dedicated to making songs that you can play for anyone, a dedication he points out in one of the highlights off of his new project “Children Album Gangsta”.
“As a former educator myself, I understand the importance of developing innovative ways to teach and to make a curriculum come alive for every student in the room. I commend you for all the work you’ve done to develop H.E.L.P and make it come alive in classrooms…” – Barack Obama
Now we are coming to the serious educational material. H.E.L.P. (Hip-Hop Educational Literacy Program) is a series of education workbooks based on classic hip-hop songs. The brain child of educator Gabriel Benn (known in the hip-hop world as Asheru form the Unspoken Heard and Boondocks theme song fame), H.E.L.P. is an educational tool that is quickly gaining popularity in the educational circles. Every educator will tell you that teaching their students is easier when they can make it fun and relative to their real life. H.E.L.P. does that on so many levels, using classic songs as conversation starters for subjects from business skills to creative writing. Breaking down the lyrics of hip-hop luminaries from Rakim, Lauryn Hill, KRS-1 and Ludacris can be fun and educational for all ages. The H.E.L.P. series of books makes this process incredibly easy to follow for any teacher, no matter how fluent you are in hip-hop. Check out their website for lesson plans and pricing. Take a look at Gabe explaining how the process works.
“Flocabulary is the single most compelling way to make students understand the power, magic, and musicality of words.” – Dana Kinsey, 11th & 12th grade teacher
Flocabulary is last on this list, but it is probably the most thorough resource of all the ones on here. Started by artist and educators, and updated on a regular basis, Flocabulary gives you music and study material on numerous subjects in every grade level. These lessons are written to make sure teachers cover important standards in ELA (English Language Arts) and math, but students will hardly notice how much learning they are doing as they keep up with the hip-hop energy and creative word play of their professional produced songs and videos. For those who don’t take our word for it when we explain how the arts are great for all educational settings, their work is thoroughly reviewed and scientifically vetted. It is truly an impressive program they are running at Flocabulary, let alone some amazing artistry. Whether you just use their site for their weekly “The Week in Rap” or their dozens of videos that explain all kinds of educational processes like their most popular online video “Five Things (Elements of a Short Story)“. My sons know many of their songs by heart, and use them when they want to remember all types of educational material. Check out one of their many great videos.
I hope you find these resources as helpful as I do. There are hundreds of artists and educators making music for and about our kids. I’ll keep introducing you to them as I come across them in my own artistic/education journey!