Celebrating Black Poetry During National Poetry Month

“The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even but a millimeter the way people look at reality, then you can change it.” James Baldwin

As educators, our jobs are to do exactly what Baldwin mentions above, shift the way our students view the reality around them. In order to do so I believe it’s necessary to not just use the poets mentioned above or some from their era but also elevate poets like those featured on Def Poetry Jam within the classroom. There are obviously dozens of Slam Poets featured on the now historical HBO series but some of my favorites to use in class are the following:

The words of a Griot!

It’s refreshing to hear music that is intentionally moving away from some of this contemporary trash we have to deal with. Don’t get me wrong I be loving certain songs when they add to my overall vibe, but I acknowledge the lack of substance in a lot of the records. And while I’m not saying that I only want to listen to this conscious type of rap, I am saying that I appreciate the way in which this can impact our kids.

The Aesthetics of Black Excellence; Celebrating BHM Through Visual Literacy

All content areas require literacy, so I’d encourage educators to access those literacy skills through the visual arts.  Contrasts and contradictions, repetition, imagery and symbolism are tools that help us construct meaning in our world.  The development of these skills is at the heart of critical thinking which makes it possible for us to imagine a different world than the one we live in.  

I’m in awe of Blackness right now.

Let’s share a little of that awe with our students and bring our classrooms to life by looking at our content through the eyes of the great Black artists of our time.  

Let’s Do It for the CHI

“I think it’s so dope that I’m here in Chicago and contributing to the music scene that’s thriving. People are so happy Chicago’s shining that everyone is willing to say ‘I represent Chicago.’ That wasn’t always the case.” – Chance the Rapper   Now throw yo hands up for the CHI!! Today as we celebrate […]

All Hail Queen Josephine

“Americans, the eyes of the world are upon you. How can you expect the world to believe in you and respect your preaching of democracy when you yourself treat your colored brothers as you do?”   As an artist and performer, I revel in every opportunity to CELEBRATE THE HISTORY OF BLACK MUSIC! The beginning […]