Love and Hip Hop: Dr. Love talks music’s influence on youth


Joe Morganti/ The Record

Dr. Bettina L. Love presented her research and ideas in Bulger South on April 28.

Joe Morganti, Reporter

SUNY Buffalo State presented Dr. Bettina L. Love in Bulger South on April 28 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Love is an award-winning author and associate professor of educational theory and practice at the University of Georgia. Recently, Love was named the Nasir Jones Fellow at the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Center at Harvard University. She began her fellowship at Harvard in spring of 2016, where she developed a multimedia hip-hop curriculum for middle to high school students.

The event began with Love introducing her research, which focuses on ways in which urban youth use hip-hop music and culture to form social, cultural and political identities to create new ways of thinking about urban education and social justice. Love then went on to explain that one of her goals is to transform urban classrooms through the use of non-traditional educational structures. To demonstrate this, Love stated:

“If you ask a question in a classroom, most of the kids will raise their hand even though half of them don’t know the answer.”

Love went on to explain that this is a perfect example of how schools are too structured, and make kids the same rather than unique. This ends up creating stereotypes about kids.

For example, Love explained that if you ask any urban kid about Kendrick Lamar, that the kid could give you every detail about his life. However, if you were ask the kid about Harriet Tubman, the kid wouldn’t be able to give a lot of detail. Love went on to explain that not only does this prove that the kids do have the skill to learn information about people, it’s just that they’re learning in a way that doesn’t use their skill.

Love went on to say:

“When an African American student first sees themselves in social studies, they see themselves as slaves rather than all of the history that happened prior to that. Not only is that wrong, but it puts a kid not knowingly in a different state of mind.”

Love went on to say:

“We need to teach kids to learn through ways that they’re good at. If a kid is in love with hip-hop, then why not teach him through that rather than a random history book?”

Love ended the event by saying that education is the key to ending a lot of crime in urban areas, and even end racism throughout the world, because when a kid wants to learn in a way that they enjoy, they would continue being educated throughout their life.

Love ended the event and allowed the audience to ask questions. An audience member said:

“Thank you for bringing light to this topic, I very much enjoyed the presentation and thank you for being you.”

Love is currently editing a special issue of the “Journal of Lesbian Studies,” focused on the identities, gender performances and pedagogical practices of black and brown lesbian educators.

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