Why Music? Why HipHop?
Music is one of the most powerful tools in the world and is a medium that speaks the loudest to young people and provides a powerful voice to minority groups. Numerous studies suggest that music plays a vital role in shaping Australian culture and our identity. HipHop is a proven vehicle for teaching:
Peace, unity and love
Life, truth, facts and faith
Recent statistics suggest that 9/10 Australians enjoy listening to music each week. 57% of the population attend live music events each year, making music the biggest art form in Australia.
How is HipHop connected to Harmony Day?
The tag line and message of Harmony Day 2016 is ‘Everyone Belongs’ which fits perfectly with the concept of HipHop. HipHop is about unity, acceptance, socio-political awareness and creating something from nothing. Harmony Day is a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home, a time to reflect on where Australia has come from, while also recognising the traditional owners of this land.
Our cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and is at the heart of who we are. It is the spirit that connects the past to the present and lays a path towards the future. Australia is home to our Indigenous people and people from over 200 countries around the world, with more than 300 languages spoken in Australian homes. HipHop provides a sense of belonging for all willing to embrace it and generally attracts young people and minority groups as it offers an environment where self-expression is encouraged, stimulating conversation and provides an opportunity to just be without being discriminated against.
Why HipHop over other genres?
HipHop is proven to be a subculture that attracts and successfully engages youth around the world. It generates social consciousness and is a great way to get young people thinking and talking about social issues and their own personal experiences.
In 2009, Beyond Blue conducted some research around HipHop as part of their evaluation process for programs they ran which used the genre. Here are some their findings:
Hip Hop as therapy
Allen suggests that use of hip hop music and lyrics stimulates discussion, and promotes the examination of life issues, struggles, and experiences in a way that participants experience as relevant to their own lives (Allen NT, 2005). According to Wilkins “rap music and the hip-hop culture represent the pulse, the thoughts, values, and experiences of youth worldwide today,” (Wilkins N, 1999, p. 108). Wilkins suggests, “when we listen and talk to them, we get a look into and an understanding of their challenges and perceptions of the world. Only when we build these types of relationships will we be able to break down the barriers. A key component is learning to listen to their music,” (Wilkins N, 1999, p. 112)
‘Hip Hop’ and culture
According to some authors, Hip Hop can act as a catalyst for culturally relevant self-expression. At the very least, engagement in culturally competent practices could increase the likelihood of building good rapport with clients and might improve the chances for positive treatment outcome (Kobin C and Tyson EH, 2006, p. 346). Furthermore, Hip-Hop’s commercial success provides a natural hook for programs seeking to get kids thinking about the future.
The influence of the culture…coupled with its strong roots among the urban poor make it an enticing vehicle for youth engagement. (Kelly, 2003, p. 15) (Hicks Harper PT et al., 2007). According to Harper “despite the controversial nature of Hip-Hop, many youth development and engagement, education, and prevention experts have advocated its use as an effective vehicle for enhancing youth development efforts, facilitating cognition, and promoting healthy lifestyles among America’s most at-risk youth” (Hicks Harper PT et al., 2007 p.11).
Hip Hop lyrics and song choice
Coinciding with the growing awareness of positive attributes of Hip-Hop culture has been its use in social science and human services research with youth development and engagement programs and in health promotion and disease prevention, including smoking prevention (Sussman S et al., 1995), cardiovascular disease prevention and obesity prevention (Fitzgibbon ML et al., 2002), violence prevention (Bruce HE and Davis BD, 2000), substance abuse prevention and HIV / AIDS prevention (Hicks Harper PT et al., 2007 ; Stephens T et al., 1998).
According Hicks Harper, President of the Youth Popular Culture Institute:
“Regardless of one’s point of view, there is no question that Hip-Hop is a dominant and pervasive influence in the lives of America’s young people. In light of this reality, it becomes imperative that those who work for, with, and in the best interest of youth have at least some understanding of the popular culture so that they may effectively explore and implement culturally appropriate… strategies” (Hicks Harper PT et al., 2007, p. 7)