"THE HEALING POWER OF HIP HOP"
BY DR. RAPHAEL TRAVIS JR., LCSW
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
WE GON' BE ALRIGHT
Since publication, "The Healing Power of Hip Hop" got a few things right. Hip Hop culture, being grounded in empowerment, continues to be our voice, our community, and our soundtrack for the struggle - pulsating through the mind, body, and spirit. It is local, it is intergenerational, and it is global.
EQUITY AND JUSTICE
Hip Hop culture, while its roots are long and varied, coalesced and was "born" in the Bronx amid an extraordinary nexus of inequity and injustice heaped on Black and Brown communities. We have seen that these foundations persist and help anchor individual and community resilience in the face of systemic racism, but also protest, advocacy, and mobilization for positive social change.
USING MUSIC FOR BETTER
We have seen the educational and therapeutic benefits of engaging Hip Hop flourish worldwide. Unique and innovative models and strategies are used across settings and across disciplines, using all of Hip Hop's elements in practice. Whether it is helping youth re-write their personnel narratives in a healthier way through lyrics, therapeutic beat making, movement and dance, Hip Hop pedagogies in the classroom, or other mechanisms of empowerment through Hip Hop, the culture is alive, vibrant, and impactful.
A CULTURE OF EMPOWERMENT. On the streets, in our schools, in our homes, on social media... everywhere, we continue to experience the manifestation of Hip Hop, as a global, intergenerational culture of empowerment.
HIP HOP HELPS US GET BETTER. When we engage Hip Hop, listening, creating, or otherwise, we are able to feel better, do better, be better, better belong, and work for better conditions for the communities we care about. Hip Hop is about self and community improvement.
FIVE NARRATIVES DIMENSIONS. Hip Hop's narratives and counternarratives exist within five core dimensions: ESTEEM, RESILIENCE, GROWTH, COMMUNITY, CHANGE. Whether listening, analyzing, or creating through Hip Hop, these dimensions are the pillars of healthy development, across the life-course, across generations, and across the globe.
WE DELIBERATELY LEARN AND GROW. We use Hip Hop to self-regulate, as motivation to get better, and make our communities better. Our emotions play a role, whether it is appreciating it's qualities, gaining new knowledge or insights, or other usefulness. Emotions are triggered when they mirror content, but also through memory, imagination, understanding, and social connectedness.
NEW EDUCATIONAL AND THERAPEUTIC PLATFORMS, EXPERIENCES, AND OPPORTUNITIES. Hip Hop's Cultural Ambassadors have risen to new heights, amplified the voices of others, created new platforms that allow people to learn, grow, and heal through the culture.
OUR CULTURE, OUR STRENGTH, OUR RESILIENCE. We have been reminded of the richness of our Black and Brown communities from which Hip Hop was born. We know our individual and collective strengths, and our ability to create and thrive amid the most challenging contexts. These realities exist as we endured and are enduring an extraordinarily challenging and often retraumatizing period in terms of combatting systemic racism, massive and widespread inequities, and persistent and egregious injustices toward Black and Brown populations.
ANECDOTAL TO EMPIRICAL. We continue the shift from mostly experiential and anecdotal support for the benefits of Hip Hop culture to added levels of empirical support and new innovative ways of sharing the meaningful impacts of engaging Hip Hop.