At Montgomery Blair High School, beyond these class room doors some students can look forward to a new lesson starting next Fall…
“Hip Hop History and Culture. First and foremost, this is not about rap music, that is a part of the culture, but this looks at the historical development of hip hop in New York City in the early 70’s and we look at the different eras in hip hop up until today in 2019,” said African American Studies and Sociology Teacher, Kenneth Smith.
Smith says grew up in the golden era where he listened to artists like Public Enemy, KRS One, Tribe called Quest, and Queen Latifa. He says for the most part that’s what inspired him to be a teacher.
Inspirational facts, and photos line the walls in Mr. Smith’s classroom where the course will be taught. Students will learn not only the cultural elements of Hip Hop.
“But we also look at the social, the political, the economical context that was occurring in the Bronx in New York City in the early 70’s that created the environment for this…so I really want to focus on particularly those young people that were left out during this urban blight during this era and how they used their creative intelligence’s in order to create what we know today to be this pop culture,” Smith added.
Smith says this is something students are anticipating.
“One reason I think it’s important, number one because many of my students live and breathe hip hop culture, yet and still, just like with any culture you don’t realize how much culture impacts your lives, the way you view the world, the food you eat, the way you dress, the way you talk, all these different elements become a part of any culture but with hip hop culture, I don’t think the students really understand how it impacts their lives,” Smith said.
The course is a pilot program, so that means if all goes well it will possibly be offered at other Montgomery County Public Schools in the future…
“I was engulfed in the culture as well, but with that segment, with that lane that I was in, it forced me it challenged me to listen to the music, listen to the lyrics and then do my research, what are they talking about. I got involved politically because of hip hop so like I always say, when I enter a room hip hop culture enters with me, and I want to share that with my students,” said Smith.