Thursday, September 1, 2011

Can Hip Hop save MB High School Education?!?

So I was fortunate enough today to stumble across something called Hip Hop Genius.  It is this amazing 4 minute video that will change the way you look at education. This video talks about how our school systems need to start looking around at the way the urban centres and urban cultures are developing TODAY and work from the gifts that the students have. Its using student creativity as the base for the learning and expanding it from there. It is about being creative in how you borrow and cross-contaminate and reference and build lessons! You can be adaptive and creative!


The only reason why I am such a believer in this Hip Hop Genius thing, is THAT’S EXACTLY what AYO has done. That’s how we have been built.  We have been trying all along to do exactly what this video recommends systems to do. We have been demonstrated the very definition:

Hip Hop Genius: Creative resourcefulness in the face of limited resources (aka flippin somethin’ outta nothin’)

Now, AYO exists because young people have passion and ability.  AYO exists because, in our oppressed and unheard community, we saw hope. We had a vision, using only what we had available. And that is how we exist with no funding. We have created a base that is built upon the passion of young people’s IdeaZ. In our community, we don’t have a lot of money, in our community we are food insecure, in our community our families are challenged and under constant attack. But the IdeaZ of young people... THAT is a resource that we have plenty of in our hood. It’s fueled on their passion for justice and the belief that our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children, elders and indeed our entire community deserve better.


One of the elements of Hip Hop Genius says we have to stay fresh. Yesterday outside of Ralph Brown, while people were not attending our event, they were outside the building playing hockey. I spoke with those 4 boys, all 13 years of age and asked them what they wanted to do in the evenings once school started. They said hockey. And so now I know a re-direct. I need to change my thoughts on politics to integrate it with sports. Whose to say that we can’t have a hockey program where we talk about politics/current events at the beginning and end of every session (shout out to my co-worker Curt for that idea).  Who to say we can’t make something out of the ideas these 4 young boys already will have.


I see their leadership because they are playing hockey instead of stealing a car. They are looking out for their friends instead of stabbing them (literally) in the back.  This is the anti-gang kind of behaviour that I want to see out of all North End youth. This is the kind of attitude that will save our community.  It may not make the paper that you are doing such great things yet boys, but I noticed. When we stick together, share our gifts, work hard, and play hard. We must be honest with what our interests and passions are, and ho from there. We will make something out of what we have….some call it nothing, I call it


PS – I hope our leadership and local hopefuls take the time to look at this video and re-evaluate their campaigns and their strategies for education over the next couple weeks.


  1. this is exactly what the green party wants to do. we have a strong platform on social programs for youth and this is what we need.


  2. My recent introduction into the Hip Hop community of Winnipeg had shared with me this very thought...Hip Hop is and of itself an education allows and encourages our individual voices to be creative and be the story-tellers, while challenging and nurturing the internal artist, the gifts we are born with, to grow and create a better life for ourselves and our families...So in response to your question, Hip Hop can not save the MB High School Education, it can one of the agents of change. Changing it from institutionalized ways of doing predetermined things, to doing things we are most passionate about, and doing them with others on the same journey - no matter who they are or where they come from. We can become the active participants in a community, within a community, creating change. And change doesn't have to take a can happen right now!


North End MC

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Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Representin the North End of Winnipeg since 1987. I will share my journey tryna set an example and live a proud Cree life. I'll include my challenges and feelings and progress in terms of AYO! Aboriginal Youth Opportunities. You(th) are the reason.