Thursday, April 26, 2007

Reggaeton in Education and Activism?

If you google "hip-hop education," you get approximately 14,600 items. The first one, very appropriately, is the H2Ed website, an organization whose mission is "to serve educators and those committed to reaching youth through Hip-Hop culture [...] under the premise that Hip-Hop, the most influential cultural force today, has the power to educate, inform and empower today's youth."

If you google "hip-hop activism," you get approximately 44,700 items. Says Jeff Chang: "'Hip-hop activism' is a term [...] meant to show that hip-hop culture could both reflect a social critique and become a unifying force to enact change. The idea of hip-hop activism has since been embraced by young organizers, thinkers, cultural workers and activists to describe their generation's emerging work for social justice. It describes a broad range of social change practices, including youth organizing, cultural work, arts education, popular education, intercultural exchanges, youth development, and celebrity projects and events."

But type in "reggaeton activism" in google and you get... nothing.

Type in "reggaeton education" and you get 48 items—none of them referring to integrating reggaeton into classrooms and/or promoting education through reggaeton.

Considering the HUGE activist and educator networks related to hip-hop, I'm trying to connect with folks who are doing parallel work in terms of reggaeton.

Any leads?


eric said...

was at the Billboard Latin Music Awards tonight, and, of course reggaeton plays heavy role, but, to the point of this article, it still feels a little fringe with respect to political depth and potential as context for activism.

nevertheless...I think it's just a matter of time, that the activism coming with the evolution and depth, not necessarily from the artists themselves directly, but rather from the atomosphere they engender.

u got me thinkin... it's not reggaeton, but I do like the welfare poets. I imagin you know them - met them a few years ago when they used to do carlitos. they are powerful in the sincerity of their presentation and their activism comes thru on and off stage.

what La Sista speaks and rhymes, for example, will do good damage to ill structures and edify in other places if it lands in the right environment...

raquelzrivera said...

Thanks so much for that thoughtful comment. You are absolutely right regarding us not waiting around for artists to take this on. That's actually why I'm so interested in folks who are doing educational/activist work using reggaeton. Regardless of what reggaeton artists do or not do, the genre is still ripe for being used as a tool for education and social justice efforts.