Opening Hearts: A Workshop on Respectful Hip-Hop Texts
Over the weekend of March 24th-25th, 2023, I had the pleasure of working with a group of young people at the Treffpunkt Sie(h)da in Stuhr, Germany. The purpose of the workshop was to encourage critical thinking about sexist and racist themes in hip-hop music and to empower the participants to create their own inclusive and respectful texts.
As a musician, music educator, and trainer, I focused on intercultural communication, diversity, democracy, inclusion, belonging, peace, and solidarity. I wanted to create a space where the young people could feel comfortable expressing themselves and exploring important topics like gender, sexual orientation, and race.
We began the workshop by playing musical games that helped the participants get to know each other and feel more comfortable expressing themselves. From there, we dove into the main focus of the workshop - creating rap texts that were free from discrimination and embraced inclusion and diversity. One of the most rewarding aspects of the workshop was seeing how the young people opened up and shared what was important to them. It's easy for adults to assume that we know what young people need and want, but often we make decisions without truly listening to their voices. In this workshop, we gave them a platform to express themselves and it was incredible to see the creative and thoughtful ideas they came up with. One participant shared that they felt safe and welcome in the space we created, and even felt comfortable opening up about their sexual orientation. This is exactly the kind of environment we wanted to foster - one that is inclusive and accepting of all identities and backgrounds.
We had some fun moments throughout the workshop as well, including a 15-minute laughter attack that brought the whole group together. The social connection we built through these activities and through the creation of the rap texts was truly amazing.
We also made portraits of ourselves and played more games that encouraged creativity and self-expression. By the end of the workshop, we had created some incredible rap texts that stood up for family, the right to live, the right to exercise our beliefs in any way we like, and the importance of being accepted for who we are.
We even recorded our raps and created our own beat, which was an exciting and memorable experience for everyone involved. Overall, the workshop was a huge success and the young people who participated left feeling empowered and inspired to create positive change in their communities. I want to thank Treffpunkt Sie(h)da, the Team Jugend, Sozialen Service, and the Gleichstellungsbüro of the Gemeinde Stuhr for organizing and supporting this amazing opportunity. I can't wait to see what these young people will do next and I'm grateful to have had the chance to work with such a talented and thoughtful group of individuals.