I remember waaaaaay back in fifth grade, my English teacher Mrs. Fairman (at least I think that was her name!) handed us a in-class assignment with lyrics from Eminem’s classic fight song, “Lose Yourself.” I can’t quite remember the specific instructions of the assignment, but I vividly remember reading the lyrics in class thinking that at the time she was probably the coolest teacher I’ve had in my adolescent life.
Despite the politics regarding the current landscape of rap, one thing fuels rap music more than anything. Lyrics! While some rap artists don’t rely heavily on super lyrical content, there’s no doubt that lyrics can be a powerful force to be reckoned with—if used correctly.
This was the intention for a Bethune Middle School teacher in DeKalb County, Georgia when she asked students to put a positive spin on the song lyrics of “Drowning” for a school assignment. The song—which peaked #38 on Billboard’s Hot 100 earlier this summer—is originally A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie‘s but includes a feature from controversial Florida rapper Kodak Black.
According to ABC Atlanta-affiliate station WSBTV, the lyrics in question stem from Kodak Black’s verse.
I ain’t Jamaican, b*tch I’m Haitian, but I got them shottas
She call me daddy, but I ain’t her motherf*cking father
Crishana Wright, a mother of a student at Bethune, spoke out about the assignment to WSBTV. “It was really against everything that I try to teach them.”
The school’s superintendent released a statement calling the assignment “inappropriate, unacceptable and contrary to our standards.” Furthermore, they revealed to WSB that the teacher responsible for the assignment “has been removed from the classroom and will be held for such poor judgment.”
Although I firmly believe hip-hop can be used as learning tool, my biggest concern here is that the teacher failed to realize young minds, especially those of sixth graders, are extremely delicate with the information and knowledge we fill their heads with. There are several examples the teacher could’ve used to relate to her students with.
Thoughts? Comments? Questions?
Feel free to drop them below!