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Guillen students learn about hip hop 'kultura'

Guillen Kultura  Guillen Kultura 2

Guillen Middle School students embraced Rhythm and Poetry Thursday afternoon with a lesson in rap and hip hop culture by Mexican rapper Mare Adventencia Lirika.

The workshop was part of a weeklong of activities on both sides of the border celebrating International Women’s Day sponsored by Kolectiva Fronteriza en Resistencía.

Lirika led the discussion with the students about hip hop and rap, giving them history and a lesson on how to get started.

“I want to become a musician when I get older and I want to learn more about the basics of rap and hip hop,” said seventh-grader Joshua Cervantes. “It’s really cool that someone wanted to come here to Guillen and had the dedication to teach us about rap.”

Kollectiva Fronteriza en Resistencía brought the opportunity to Guillen students to share with them more about the genre as a vehicle for expression.

“Hip hop comes from youth culture,” said Citlalic Jeffers-Peña, a member of Kolectiva. “If you look at history you’ll see it came from economically marginalized communities in New York, in Chicago and LA. Young people have used hip hop for decades to express their struggles. Kids connect to hip hop because it speaks to their experiences.”

Lidika gave students some cue cards and challenged students to write their own rap based on the cards. 

“We hope they find a way to express the realities they find in their lives,” Jeffers-Peña said. “We want them to find an artistic exploration of their own messages, their own struggles, their own identities.”

Simon Chander, Community Schools coordinator, helped bring the group to Guillen for the workshop. He was pleased to see how Lidika’s workshop rapped academics into the lesson.

“They’re writing, critically thinking, problem-solving and inferring,” Chandler said. “They think they are learning hip hop and rap but this has a strong academic component as well.”