2021 AD... the year after the year that provided us with perfect vision, helped me with mine. What became clear to me was that I was working in an area that I enjoyed, yet I felt so unfulfilled. No matter how much meditation, mindfulness, prayer, or affirmation I practiced, I still felt undervalued in a place that I was burying so much of my treasure. From there, the album recreation project commenced. I desired to curate something for the culture that had meaning and could assist us with the on-going traumas that lingered from 2020. The album recreation project served as a means to deliver mindfulness education and strategies in a meaningful way. With each post, a mindful quote, a few lyrics or accompanying yoga reel was provided to help us all just breath. To help us all just be in the moment... with what we had. And that something that we have had since the 1970's is Hip-Hop. But there is more.
As a young professor, I often felt less than... you know... that thing called imposter syndrome. There was this constant reminder that I needed to fit into the academic circle to become successful. But a good friend of mine once told me that "you can't circle a square". So, I decided to use my Hip-Hop identity to address my issue. I began to heavily implement behaviors that are associated with Hip-Hop as instructional practices. Yeah... I know, this has been done before. There is an entire field of pedagogical practices that utilizes lyrics, provides space for cyphers, and accepts Hip-Hop language. This field is #HipHopEd . But, I am speaking about more than what exists in current literature. I found that embedding my Hip-Hop identity into the instructional practices of Occupational Therapy education brought me fulfillment. And not only that, I have data that indicates that students feel more empowered by these instructional practices (stay tuned for the dissertation). With occupational science (the study of humans as occupational beings) and occupational therapy historically and currently serving as predominantly white-female spaces, there were instances when I observed discontentment with the Black students while teaching.
And so it started... I consistently, unapologetically, inserted myself as a tool for learning. Not just a conduit to deliver what already existed. From this practice, stemmed (or brought the creation of...) the Mindfulness is Hip-Hop movement. But just as many subjects need support, I am producing a podcast titled: Hip-Hop and Occupation. Hip-Hop and Occupation will serve as the theoretical aspect to support how and why Hip-Hop (behaviors and roles) are the occupations of so many artists we know and love. Furthermore, these behaviors and roles can (and already do) impact us, negatively. However, KRS-ONE told us, "if Hip-Hop can corrupt young minds, it can also uplift them". Therefore, I have a secret... so lean in. Real close nah... but pull your mask up first. The Hip-Hop phenomenon has supplied us as a people with more positivity than you can see or imagine. Don't believe me? Well, I dare you to tune into the Hip-Hop and Occupation podcast dropping in February. Also, continue to kick it with me and these blog posts. And bring a friend...
And while you are here, please leave a comment letting us know which album recreation was your favorite and why.
In the words of a great laureate of our time, Tupac Shakur... You are appreciated.
Continue to press family. Peace and blessings.
Photography by @drehowphotography
Graphics by @dariancolbert