League of EXTRAordinary Black Men interview with me!

African American, Culture, Education, History, Uncategorized

I’m extremely honored to be featured on TheBlackManCan.com’s League of EXTRAordinary Black Men! Check out the piece at the link below!

http://theblackmancan.org/?p=3638

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Django Unchained | Discussion w/ @ellication and others

African American, African American, Culture, Education, Films, History, Uncategorized

I just wanted to share this discussion from last week on the controversial film, Django Unchained, that was hosted by Al Elliott. Al Elliott will be having regular discussions on Google+ hangouts about important issues, so stay tuned and get involved.

The #HipHopEd “Profanity Free Mixtape”

Education, Music & Hip-Hop, Uncategorized

#HipHopEd “Profanity Free Mixtape”

Curated by Amil Cook and Timothy Jones for #HipHopEd

#HipHopEd Tuesdays 9-10pm EST on Twitter. Follow the hashtag #HipHopEd

#HipHopEd Tuesdays 9-10pm EST on Twitter. Click Here For The #HipHopEd “Profanity Free Mixtape” YouTube Playlist

On November 13, 2012 #HipHopEd featured its weekly chat session, which was operating off the topic, “Creating and Evaluating a #HipHopEd “Profanity Free Mixtape.” This was an important topic for #HipHopEd to tackle because of the realities that Hip-Hop educators face in teaching our students through Hip Hop music and culture. This chat was not trying to devalue and delegitimize the substantive value of Hip-Hop music that contains profanity and delves into seedier topics. This chat was actually the response to the continuous requests for Hip-Hop tracks that could be played in schools around our country and classrooms throughout the world, without creating ethical and professional dilemmas for these much needed and highly valued educators.

As educators and adults, many if not all of us have learned how to speak effectively in the various settings that we find ourselves in, from our classrooms, office suites, homes, and our neighborhoods.  This instinctive ability to “switch up” is something that many of our young people based on the language that they hear and speak at school and in their neighborhoods.  If you include the language in the Hip-Hop that many young people listen to and the movies that they watch, they are bombarded with profanity filled narratives that can limit the range of how youth use words to communicate.

The #HipHopEd “Profanity Free Mixtape” is a resource for educators to allow young people to hear Hip-Hop that met and or meets the musical aesthetics test of the day based on overall production, content, and delivery.  The songs on this Mixtape can also serve as examples for students who believe that you can not effectively rhyme without using profanity.  In putting together the Profanity Free Mixtape, we wanted to be conscious of trying to focus on music by Artists with a level of commercial success so that students wouldn’t dismiss the Mixtape as an underground effort of Artists who never achieved mainstream success.

For this endeavor “Profanity Free” is focused on language with some consideration for subject matter.  We know that you can have a song with questionable subject content without being profane and in these circumstances we as the Executive producers of the project made the decision as to whether to include the song on the list.  We also wanted a list of songs that are absent of profanity which is different than edited versions of songs that are on the radio and are on sale at retailers such as Walmart.

Out of this chat, came numerous song suggestions, that have been collected in one place for educators, Hip Hop aficionados and others to enjoy, share and teach with. Here is the link to #HipHopEd’s “Profanity Free” Mixtape Edcanvas, an intuitive educational media platform, that contain profanity free Hip Hop track in each of its tiles. Here is the link to #HipHopEd’s “Profanity Free” Mixtape YouTube Playlist of profanity free Hip Hop tracks.
It is our hope that more songs will be suggested and included to this dynamic and live database of profanity free Hip Hop tracks. If you have a suggestion, comment or find profanity in any of the songs let us know.

#HipHopEd Tuesday 9-10pm EST on Twitter. Follow the hashtag #HipHopEd

#HipHopEd Tuesday 9-10pm EST on Twitter. Click Here For The #HipHopEd Profanity Free Mixtape Edcanvas

For those who don’t know, #HipHopEd is a Twitter hashtag that hosts interactive chats on a range of topics at the intersections of Hip Hop and education. These chats take place every Tuesday from 9pm to 10pm EST. Unlike many other educational Twitter chats, #HipHopEd embraces the freestyle, the cypher and inclusion of the everyone in attendance. Timothy Jones (@tdj6899) serves as the Master of Ceremony, tweeting out the week’s topic on Tuesday mornings, inviting special guests and community members.

#HipHopEd was created by two top tier leading educators, Brandon Frame (@brandonframe) and Dr. Christopher Emdin (@chrisemdin). #HipHopEd has organically grown into a significant community, mission and movement, intertwining and advancing education and Hip Hop simultaneously. The community’s response to #HipHopEd was so overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic that other participants and leaders were brought into #HipHopEd’s leadership team. #HipHopEd  celebrated its second year on November 27, 2012. Make sure you get involved with #HipHopEd and come through the weekly Tuesday night chats from 9pm to 10pm EST. Alright ya’ll, it’s time to get it! Let’s keep building!

Peace,

Amil

Tioki – Moving Tech & Education Forward

Education

As an educator and techie, I am always scouring the Internet for the latest and greatest tools that can be used to empower students, educators, and our entire community. In my quest for more tools, I ran across Tioki, an innovative tool that allows educators to connect, share ideas, thoughts and find out the latest goings on in educational technology and instruction.  So I signed up and this led to a series of conversation with Tioki’s co-founder, Mandela Schumacher-Hodge, an amazing educator and entrepreneur. If your an educator you should join Tioki and here are five reasons why:

  1. You will learn about other amazing tech tools for educators
  2. You will be able to participate in discussions and see what other innovators in the educational world are doing
  3. You will be able to share your ideas, tips, and lessons
  4. You will connect with amazing educators and build your professional network
  5. It’s free and easy

Anyways, Mandela and I sat down for a discussion about Tioki and the importance of educators being active and visible in digital spaces. As always, I also discussed #HipHopEd so make sure you read the article and watch the interview! Feel free to drop a comment and share this with your friends, colleagues and family.

Click on the photo below You can see the full article here.

Sign Up for Tioki

Connect with Mandel on Tioki

Follow Mandela on Twitter

We Must Learn More About Africa

Africa, African, Culture, Education, Films, History, Politics, Uncategorized

Africa: States of Independence – The Scramble for Africa

Africa has so much meaning for humanity and particularly for African descendants spread throguhout every corner of our globe. Africa though, is a complex continent for many to comprehend, with a complicated history, burdened by mis characterization, prejudice and exploitation.

In 2003, I was fortunate enough to travel to Africa as a student learning about Human Rights. It was a journey that had many meanings for me. On one hand it meant reconnecting with the land and the people on the continent where my father’s descendants lived. It also meant being actively connected with young people struggling for progress in their respective nations in the spirit of Pan Africanism. Lastly, it meant an incredible summer as a 20 year old fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel abroad for the first time.

I remember watching a scene in the movie, Belly, where Nas’ character, Sincere, announces to his friends that “I’m going to Africa!” In this scene he explains how he is getting his life together, moving away from his past lifestlye and reconnecting with his roots and his motherland.

Personally, I have always felt this type of affinity and connection with Africa. I am sure that being raised by a Pan-Africanist father has a little something to do with that. Anyway, Africa is a complicated continent and it is important that people of the African Diaspora in particular become knowledgeable about Africa’s history ancient and more importantly the history colonization and decolonization. This documentary published by Al-Jazerra English effectively provides a snapshot of Africa’s experience with colonization and its sturggle for decolonization.

The film highlights the glorious period of the fall of colonization, the subsequent failed governments, the coups and the modern struggle with the exploitation of neocolonialism. If you are interested in learning more about the current state of Africa, I would suggest that you begin by learning which countries were colonized by which European nations. Then I would begin meeting different people from the continent and discussing some of their history with them. When did your country get Independence (be careful though Ethiopia was never colonized)? Who are your famous leaders? What are some of the major ethnic groups in your nation? What is the name of your capital city?

Many times growing up in the inner-city environments we are surrounded by people who have recently immigrated from Africa. Often times its the classmate, the sister braiding hair or the brother driving a cab that can help us learn more about Africa. We just need to take the initiative and ask. I am sure that if we can work to avoid judging, keep an open mind and sincerely try to learn, our questions will be appreciated and our knowledge will increase. It is my hope that you are or will be inspired by Africa, the great continent, the cradle of humanity, the wounded land, the hopeful l. Hope you enjoy, share and comment.

Lupe Fiasco on AJStream Speaks on #Occupy

Education, Music & Hip-Hop, Politics

Lupe Fiasco on AJStream – Speaks on Occupy

 

Lupe Fiasco was recently on The Stream, which is a  daily television show and web community created by Al Jazeera English. In this episode, Lupe Fiasco shares his thoughts on the Occupy movement. For those who didn’t know, Lupe Fiasco is not only an incredibly talented Hip Hop artist, he is one of the United States’ most outspoken celebrity activists. Amazingly, Lupe Fiasco is proving to the music industry and other artists that your art can have strong political and social overtones and still be commercially viable. As the Occupy movements continue to galvanize support around the nation and the globe, it is important that we pay attention to Lupe’s thoughts and insights on the movement. I hope you find this show informative and empowering.

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Akala: Bringing Hip Hop Back To Its Roots!

Africa, African American, Culture, Education, Europe, Music & Hip-Hop, Race, Uncategorized

Akala: Bringing Hip Hop Back To Its Roots!

I recently read an article entitled “It’s a hip-hop planet”  by Akala, an award-winning Hip Hop artist and the creator of the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company from England. In this article, Akala discusses the global impact and importance of hip hop music and culture explaining how Hip Hop serves as “a news network of the downtrodden, oppressed and the socially conscious across the globe.” This article was so well wrtiten and spot on in its analysis of the meaning and significance of Hip Hop that I had to find out who wrote this compelling piece. I saw the profile picture of the author, sporting a matter of fact no nonsense expression in his profile picture and a powerful Afro that expressed very similar sentiments.

Upon further investigation, a click on his profile picture, I was forwarded to another page with  link to the Akala’s own website akalamusic.com. I quickly shuttled to this page and saw a YouTube video posted there entitled “Akala – Fire In The Booth” and naturally my curoisity led me to click play. I apprehensively waited to hear this Hip Hop generation writer and educator get busy on the microphone, hoping that I was not going to hear a mediocre rap that would lessen the esteem Akala had garnished from the article I had read just moments earlier. As I listened, I was blown away with the nearly nine minute lyrical and politically charged rap. Only 45 seconds into the rap, I was convinced that I was going to watch for the entire nine minutes of the video. I was not disappointed in the least! On this one track, Akala spoke on issues like discrimination, self-hatred, for-profit prisons, lynching, Marcus Garvey, African history, false patriotism, consumerism, racism, education and the list goes on. These subjects, which are so often dodged by mainstream Hip Hop artist and the media, were championed by MCs of the “golden era of Hip Hop.” Akala has definitely not forgotten about the roots of Hip Hop and he has proved he is here to drop Hip Hop’s most potent formula on a world desperate for change.

Akala – Fire In The Booth Video

In the vocal booth and on the written page, Akala tackles “race, politics, self-deception and social conditioning.” Akala’s official bio clearly states that the goal of his art is “breaking down the culture of cliché and stereotype that smothers the genre he loves…” Not to mention, Akala is no rookie in the Hip Hop world. This brother has been turning out singles since the early years of the new millennium and he has released his third album, Double Think, this past year. Below is Akala’s Fire In The Booth version with the lyrics, in case you wanted to get every single jewel he dropped. It is clear that Akala is going laying down the foundation to become a legendary name in Hip Hop, not only due to his lyrical ability but for his commitment to uplift the consciousness and social condition of oppressed people and youth worldwide. It definitely is a Hip Hop planet and Akala is definitely what this planet needs right now!

Akala – Fire In The Booth w/ Lyrics

A Moment To Reflect…A Call To Action: Video of President Obama’s Speech at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Dedication

African American, Education, History, Politics, Uncategorized