Ambitionz az a Teacha: understanding Contemporary Rap Music’s Pedagogical Implications

Asif Wilson, Daunte Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This case study extends Elligan’s (2000, 2004) Rap Therapy model to explore the pedagogical usefulness of contemporary rap music. Methodologically, the authors borrow the testimonio from Latina Feminist Scholarship, to explore the ways in which young people participating in a summer literacy program analyzed their lives and the world through rap music; how rap music supported their healing; and how rap music was used as a pedagogical tool. Over the course of four months the co-authors of this study created and analyzed 17 co-written testimonios for their generative themes. The authors conclude with a presentation of The (Re) mix—a rap-centered pedagogical framework. The (Re) mix is made up of three, interconnected pillars. One, contemporary rap music (re)tells the experience(s) of the dispossessed. It helps shift the blame for oppression in the world towards the structures of society. Second, contemporary rap music (re)affirms young peoples’ existence. It provides them with an imaginative environment to imagine a more just world. Third, contemporary rap music (re)stores our humanity. It is a tool to name, connect, and move beyond our pain, creating a context for healing as individuals in a collective society. The authors hope that findings of this study empower other educators to infuse contemporary rap music into their pedagogies as a method for students to better read and write the world, adding to the body of knowledge related to critical media literacy.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-55
JournalThe International Journal of Critical Media Literacy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 7 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • rap therapy
  • testimonio
  • imagination
  • oppression
  • healing
  • Black males
  • mentoring
  • curriculum studies
  • critical pedagogy
  • critical media literacy


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