Added October 5, 2018
In the 1970s, hip hop culture arose as a mechanism for speaking up about the challenging conditions faced by many minority groups, often due to the absence of resources in education and mental health in those communities (Chang, 2005). Building off the power and potential of hip hop culture, Hip Hop and Spoken Word Therapy (HHSWT) can be used to explore emotions, and expose coping or defensive mechanisms, through the process of listening to and composing lyrics (Levy, 2012).
In this article, the authors explore the creation of the hip hop mixtape as a distinct hip hop cultural process. Historically the hip hop mixtape was the main source of communication for black and brown communities suffering from modern forms of colonialism and imperialism (Ball, 2011). In lieu of the necessity to provide culturally sensitive counseling services, the authors suggest the emergence of a new model rooted in the process of creating a hip hop mixtape. The hip hop mixtape creation process is harmonious with the process of Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), where young people are empowered to engage in the development of research, collection of data, and dissemination of findings regarding issues they deem most relevant to their lives (Smith et al., 2010).
Following the same critical process as youth participatory action research, school counselors utilize salient activities and facilitation skills of HHSWT to lead the Critical Cycle of Mixtape Creation (CCMC). Drawing from the cycle of investigative inquiry (Cook & Kruger-Henny, 2017), CCMC uses hip hop song construction to engage young people in researching an issue they deem important to their community. Specifically, youth engage in a series of emotional discussions with their school counselor that culminate in the creation of hip hop music about their discussions and research. Young people move from the stage of mixtape theme identification and planning to disseminate their findings through the release, and evaluation of their mixtape. CMCC contains a series of steps, including: Identify Action Mixtape Area of Interest, Research Mixtape Content, Discuss and Digest Findings, Develop a Tracklist, Plan the Recording and Release of Mixtape, and Evaluate Mixtape Process and Response to Release.
The authors posit that school counselors can use CCMC in restorative circles to push beyond the mitigation of small-group conflict and disseminate their work to the larger school community.
Ian P. Levy, EdD, Amy L. Cook, PhD, Christopher Emdin, PhD
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