Social Justice via Hip-Hop: Cool Boy Bobby’s “Hamilton” Listening X Project

Cool Boy Bobby is a self-confessed fan of “Hamilton: An American Musical”. This hugely popular Broadway play incorporates a mix of musical genres: hip-hop, jazz, classic show tunes, and show-stopping numbers based on the life of Alexander Hamilton. This eclectic medley of performative elements has since inspired Cool Boy Bobby to incorporate them into his teaching as a rich resource for his high school students.

This effort has since produced the “Hamilton” Listening X Project, which highlights key elements that make hip-hop music useful in teaching elements of poetry. Just like the play itself, this listening project recommends using hip-hop to open the door to conversations about racial justice and antiracism in today’s America.

Making a case for including hip-hop music in English Language Arts (ELA) teaching, Cool Boy Bobby noted that educators can boost the engagement of portions of American literature through the Listening Project unit he designed. Further, this effort aims to energize the learning of poetry and discussions on topics such as diversity, history, race, and silence with students.

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