Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Integrating Hip-Hop Culture and Rap Music into Social Justice Counseling with Black Males

Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Integrating Hip-Hop Culture and Rap Music into Social Justice Counseling with Black Males

Article excerpt

The minute they see me, fear me / I 'm the epitome, a public enemy.

--Ridenhour, Sadler, and Shocklee, 1988, track 3

Despite having overcome countless hurdles to achieve demonstrable successes in virtually every American institution (e.g., education, politics, business), Black males, on the whole, remain a highly stereotyped and stigmatized American subgroup (Dancy, 2014; White & Cones, 1999). This somatization is rooted in hyperbolic, stereotypical tropes of Black males as hypersexualized and menacing individuals biologically predisposed or culturally inclined to engage in criminal, nihilistic behavior (Alexander, 2012; Collins, 2006; Jackson, 2006; Sealey-Ruiz & Greene, 2011). The criminal proclivity narrative is ascribed onto Black male bodies early in childhood and intensifies markedly as Black males mature through adolescence and transition into adulthood (Dancy, 2014; Duncan, 2002; Ferguson, 2001; Henfield, 2013; Noguera, 2008).

The weight of the historical and contemporary codification of the menacing Black male trope in policies and social practices can be psychosocially and physically fatiguing (Smith, Hung & Franklin, 2011) and has discernible, devastating implications on Black males' lives (Harrell et al., 2011; Williams & Mohammed, 2013). A recent study revealed that Black boys are more likely than white boys to be perceived as older and more mature than they actually are and therefore less innocent (Goff, Jackson, Di Leone, Culotta, & DiTomasso, 2014). Educationally, Black males are more likely to receive more punitive disciplinary action (e.g., suspensions, expulsions, arrests) than white males for similar infractions; have routine exposure to lower teacher expectations; experience underrepresentation in more rigorous K-l 2 academic course work; and suffer lethal, extrajudicial encounters with vigilantes and the police with astonishing regularity (Dancy, 2014; Henfield, 2013; Howard, 2013). These trends are emblematic of a cumbersome nexus of oppressive ecological forces that weigh heavy on countless Black males.

The importance of negating these barriers has been emphasized sporadically within the counseling profession. The former president of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD), Carlos Hipolito-Delgado, pledged his commitment to affirming the lives of Black males across the nation shortly after the uprisings in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the nation in protest of the killing of Michael Brown. In a statement, Hipolito-Delgado (2014) spoke directly to the various forms of institutional oppression that African American males must continually overcome. Specifically, he acknowledged that

   examinations of most sociological indicators demonstrate
   the inequities faced by communities of color in general and
   African American males in specific. For example, educational
   achievement rates and incarceration rates speak to the under
   representation of African American Males in higher education
   and the over representation of African American Males
   in special education and the prison system.

The following year, AMCD hosted two sessions of a webinar titled Providing Culturally Responsive Services to African American Males (M. Brooks, S. K. Butler, & A. R. Washington, webinar, June 2015).

During the initial session, one of the presenters, Michael Brooks, a Black male counselor educator, made an unsolicited reference to Kendrick Lamar's rap song "Alright" (Duckworth, Spears, & Williams, 2015), a song that had become an anthem of dissent in response to a crescendo of xenophobic political rhetoric and recurrent police brutality within Black communities (Love, 2016). Brooks's spontaneous reference to Lamar's song highlights the cathartic role Hip-Hop culture and rap music has played in articulating the frustration Black males experience because of long-standing social inequalities and wanton, racially motivated violence (Collins, 2006; Love, 2016; Sealey-Ruiz & Greene, 2011; Washington, 2015). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.