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Seminar on using hip hop in education entertains, informs

June 21, 2012

Born and raised in the Bronx of New York City, Intikana has taken to embracing and sharing his Borikén, or Puerto Rico, heritage through hip-hop to fellow educators and youth all over the world.

Intikana lead a workshop and also performed at the Urban Literacies Institute for Transformative Teaching Conference, which came to MSU for the first time this week.

The conference was for educators to take a look at some of the difficulties youth face and some alternative ways to address these issues.

The Center for Applied Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Arts and Humanities, or CAITLAH, within the College of Arts and Letters and Urban Word NYC sponsored the events.

Standing in front of self-made videos with Spanish subtitles, Intikana performed some of his music to an audience of about 40 people at the concert on the closing night of the conference.

“I was doing a bunch of songs that were in English and Spanish, essentially Spanglish, but the inspiration comes from my culture and from my ancestry, my past, my history,” Intikana, a youth mentor for Urban Word NYC, said. “I’m a student of learning, and I’m trying to learn as much as I can and I’m also an educator on educating as much as I can with those cultures, infusing hip-hop and multimedia.”

Using the power of hip-hop and spoken word poetry, various workshops for youth and teachers were put on over the past four days, and ended with a concert in Erickson Hall Kiva featuring five hip-hop teachers and artists, some from Urban Word NYC.

Educators from all over the country flew in to present at the workshops and share their knowledge.

Eagle Nebula, a filmmaker, poet and emcee came all the way from Inglewood, Calif. to teach workshops and perform at the concert.

Julie Platt, a graduate assistant with CAITLAH, attended all the events at the workshop, and said she will use some of the skills she learned in her future career teaching writing.

“Meeting the presenters and listening to talks, it’s been really inspiring,” Platt said. “(I) learned a lot about how we can engage with hip-hop to educate and work for change.”

M.C. K~Swift, co-director of Art Start One Mic and New York resident, said he loved being around other people who are both hip-hop artists and educators.

“(It’s been a) beautiful exchange of ideas, in a way that has immediacy and depth,” he said. “(A) fantastic balance of theory and practice.”

Intikana said he would like his audience to connect with his culture after attending the workshops and learn about the power of hip-hop.

“I hope for folks who attended the workshops as well as the performance, I hope they get the energy and the feel,” he said. “I would love for them to learn more and engage in different modes of learning.”

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