Term of Award

Spring 2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

John A. Weaver

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

Julie Maudlin

Committee Member 3

Toby Daspit

Committee Member 3 Email



This is an ethnographic inquiry into America's black youth culture. It is an exploration of how the "hip hop culture" influences black youth culture. Drawing on the works of Rose (1994a, 1994b), Dimitriadis (2001), and Kitwana (2002), I explored impact of the hip hop culture in the areas of fashion, language and identity through the lens of young black males. To provide relevant theories for promoting higher academic achievement in African American males, I studied the works of Gay (2000), Ladson-Billings (2006, 2003, 2001, 1999), Weaver & Daspit (2003) and Watkins (2001). Sixth grade male students in a PreK-8 school, located in Savannah, Georgia were the focus of this study. Using group discussions and interviews, I documented the time spent with the students using hip hop and rap music. Each student's view of hip hop and its significance allowed me to better understand their interest in and reverence of the rap and hip hop culture. Much of the literature on hip hop culture deals with music, fashion, language and identity and its impact on contemporary youth culture. A limited number of educational text explored the how hip hop culture can be used to engage African American youth in culturally relevant pedagogy. As a result of the drive for national standards in the United States today, school districts face the challenges of having all students performing at high academic levels. Superintendents, school officials and administrators, and teachers are frustrated by high stakes testing and its impact on meeting Adequately Yearly Progress (AYP). In a school district in which the academic achievement of all learners students is important, it is the intent of this study will be to promote the use of hip hop culture to engage all students in culturally relevant pedagogy.

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