In a study conducted by The Center for Hip-Hop Advocacy, 28% of U.S. adults — nearly 70 million people — agreed that hip-hop’s musical and cultural history should be taught in schools. That percentage increases to 38% when the question is posed to those with children under 18 in the household.
The results, titled “Attitudes toward the Teaching of Hip-Hop History and Culture,” are part of a larger survey, which examined ways that rap and hip-hop are perceived by the general public.
The Reputation of Hip-Hop 2015, was co-designed by Dr. Joy Marie Sever, the Center’s Director of Research (with data collection overseen by digital market research firm Toluna). The survey touched upon a wide array of issues including whether or not respondents felt “connected” to hip-hop, how much rap music they listen to, as well as their attitudes toward hip-hop and rap music in general.
“Perhaps unsurprisingly, attitudes toward hip-hop education and attitudes about rap are related. “Among those who think positively about rap, 55% also agree that hip-hop is a subject worthy of study in all schools,” explains Dr. Sever. “Among those who view rap negatively, 62% disagree.”
Yet, most interestingly, say the report’s authors, are the 31% of those surveyed who seem unsure of what to think, neither agreeing nor disagreeing.
“This demonstrates an important opportunity to educate the public about the expansiveness of hip-hop,” explained Manny Faces, the hip-hop journalist who founded The Center for Hip-Hop Advocacy and co-authored the survey. “So many people think hip-hop is simply a genre of music, but we’re seeing groundbreaking work when hip-hop is incorporated into fields such as education, mental health care, the technology sector and more.”
The need for an independent, credible voice to help spread this message was the impetus for the organization’s creation, says Faces. “It’s precisely why we started the Center for Hip-Hop Advocacy, to help tell hip-hop’s complete story through original research, advocacy journalism program and public outreach.”
Faces hopes their work will bolster the efforts of other organizations and individuals who seek to use hip-hop in a positive, meaningful way, by garnering vital public support.
“Hip-hop deserves the same respect as other major cultural and artistic movements throughout history,” states Faces. “People need to know that ‘hip-hop’ is much more than just what’s on the radio.”
“Those seeking support for hip-hop education and other hip-hop-related efforts, will surely need to take into consideration the current reputation of hip-hop — and of rap. Likely they know that,” says Dr. Sever. “What The Center for Hip-Hop Advocacy with The Reputation of Hip-Hop 2015 has done is taken its first step toward quantifying that reality.”
The survey results reveal three groups of near-equal size – those in support of hip-hop efforts, those against, and those who have not yet made up their minds. But what do the decision-makers of hip-hop’s future think? And how many of the undecided are, for example, open to hearing that rap includes literary and technical skill, that it holds great potential to engage today’s youth in the learning process, and that it is but one component of hip-hop’s rich culture? These are the kind of questions the Center, in its advocacy role, will tackle next.
In the meantime, raising awareness of hip-hop’s expansiveness will certainly go a long way toward achieving the recognition that hip-hop deserves, as well as building further support for its positive role in education and beyond.
The full results of “Attitudes toward the Teaching of Hip-Hop History and Culture” can be downloaded below. We plan to release additional segments from the overall study over the course of the next couple of months.
For information about The Center for Hip-Hop Advocacy and the research, contact us.