I was fortunate to be a part of PATH’s (Preserving Archiving and Teaching Hip Hop) workshop at Edison Public Library in the heart of Little Haiti for Black History Month. PATH instructor, Natty, was running the workshop on rhyming.
The youth gathered around a table in the back of the library surrounded by books to listen and participate in a presentation on the elements of Hip Hop. All of the workshop students, except for one, native language was Haitian Creole.
After the presentation the students were handed out a copy of KRS ONE’s You Must Learn‘s lyrics. The students worked in pairs and underlined the rhyming words and looked at the rhyming patterns. The next step the students worked on a rhyming hook on the theme of Haiti. Natty encouraged the youth to use some Haitian Creole in the hook in order to connect with their Haitian roots. After the hook was written, the students again broke back into pairs and each pair wrote two lines of a rhyme on the theme of Haitian freedom.
the hook the workshop wrote is as follows:
What you see don’t define me
I will not stop even if you hold me
I fought for justice and avec liberté
Our pouvoir will last for éternité
It was wonderful to watch the students open up and share their life and watch them smile as they all sung the hook. PATH is out in the community using the elements of Hip Hop as an in to teach life skills to the youth.
Every summer PATH runs a 2 or 4 week program at the Miami Light Box where the youth are instructed in the elements: Emeceeing, Djaying, B-boying, and Urban Art. For more information on PATH please visit www.pathtohiphop.org and you can join them on their Facebook group and on Twitter.
I also cut a short video of the workshop for PATH.