#BlackMusicMatters - The JUNO Awards

Celebrate Black History Month in the classroom with MusiCounts Learn #BlackMusicMatters Lessons

MusiCounts is celebrating Black History Month in the classroom with #BlackMusicMatters: Hip-Hop & Social Justice in Canada, a listening- and inquiry-based resource designed for teachers with students in grades 7-12. Throughout the month of February, MusiCounts will release four lessons that explore hip-hop songs by Canadian artists. Each lesson will be free to download, and includes a wealth of resources to help teachers explore and celebrate Canadian Black culture in the classroom.

In recent years, many organizations and institutions have been reflecting on and responding to systemic racism and the oppressive structures that exist in our society. Since 2013, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has been calling for social change to eradicate white supremacy and to intervene in violence and injustice inflicted on Black communities. Long before the BLM movement, Black artists have been protesting and advocating for social justice through hip-hop music.

Hip-hop music, like many other forms of Black music, has been historically underrepresented in school music classrooms. As a result, Black students are not seeing themselves reflected in music curricula and students in general are missing opportunities to learn about Black culture and creation in their music classes. Music educators across Canada have expressed their desire to engage Black and racialized students in music education. This is why MusiCounts brought together Black artists and educators to create a new resource that will empower educators to explore Black culture, history and creation across the curriculum.

 #BlackMusicMatters was developed and written by Darren Hamilton, a music educator, researcher, and choral conductor; and Jon Corbin, an English and social sciences educator and hip-hop artist. The resource includes cross-curricular lesson plans for educators teaching music, English, geography, history, visual arts, and social sciences, to help them bring Black culture, history, and creativity into the classroom through the lens of hip-hop music. It aims to introduce students to Canadian hip-hop artists and music while engaging them in a critical inquiry of a variety of social justice themes.

In the first lesson, available for download now, students can explore the history and legacy of gentrification experienced by the residents of Africville, Nova Scotia through the song “Africville” by Black Union featuring Maestro and Kaleb Simmonds.

Featured image: #BlackMusicMatters. Photo credit: Ben Weins.