In this video, Sam Seidel defines hip hop genius as creative resourcefulness in the face of limited resources, or, as it’s known in hip hop, flipping something out of nothing. He argues for the need to transform schools using hip hop genius.
These are just a few of the ways Seidel proposes we can use hip hop genius in education that struck me as salient for hybrid pedagogy:
- the role of sampling/remixing: teachers can borrow from diverse models and improvise innovative blends of educational practices; we don’t have to do the same old thing or follow one model
- staying fresh: we must do something new and different to remain relevant; this is a continuous process
- students have brilliant ideas and instincts: as teachers we should respect and build on their ideas and instincts and allow students to engage as creators, not consumers
The aspect of hip hop culture to which I am most drawn is graffiti. As Seidel points out, graffiti artists realized that they didn’t need a private art gallery for their work to be seen. By using the urban landscape as their art gallery, their work could reach a much wider public audience. But this was (and still is) seen as disruptive, so graffiti artists began to use the disruptive nature of their art as a way to voice political and cultural protests (in much the same way that skateboarders are forced to be disruptive because they have been denied spaces within which to practice their art).
Our students now have the public space in which to explore and create, but far too often they are denied these spaces by schools, teachers, and parents because the spaces and what they do within them are viewed as disruptive, when what we should be doing is encouraging and teaching them to use these spaces in ways that are relevant and meaningful to others and that allow them to engage in promoting change and innovation.
We need to empower them to make their hustle positive or they will (continue to) use it as a negative response to our irrelevancy.