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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA offers hip-hop summer camp for high school students

This summer, eighth- through 12th-graders will have the opportunity to experience hip-hop in a whole new light through a UA hip-hop camp.

The Planet Hip-Hop youth summer camp will take place at the McClelland Park building and will “give [participants] a taste of what college will be like someday,” since the UA is now offering a minor in hip-hop. The goal of the camp is to help students overcome the misconception that college consists of “a bunch of boring subjects,” said Rebecca Cook, Arizona Youth University program manager at the UA outreach college.

Hip-hop will be used as a cultural lens, to look at the birth of the art form and the factors that played into its creation, said Kendra Cass, the hip-hop instructor who developed the program.

Cass’ mother gave her the funk album “The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein” by Parliament when she was 5 years old, and since then, she has always loved music, she said.

“A lot of kids are consumers of hip-hop through what they listen to and the clothes they wear,” Cass said. “I think this [camp] will give them a mechanism by which to become critical thinkers. It gives pretty good opportunities to ask good questions and challenge them to think critically.”

Cass said she plans to begin with a breakdown of the four different elements of hip-hop: emceeing, breakdancing, graffiti and disc jockeying. A presenter will be showcased in each of these subjects, followed by a discussion where kids will be able to interview the guest, Cass said.

The camp will help students explore hip-hop’s progression through history and how it eventually became an international phenomenon. Students will also dissect lyrics, films and videos and explore hip-hop’s role in social activism.

“Hip-hop has infiltrated all areas of life, whether it is fashion, art, politics, social media and music,” Cass said. “As an institution, the UA would like to have globally aware students and this is an opportunity to get future students thinking about all of the global dimensions of everything that we study at the university. Hip-hop is a great medium by which to start examining that.”

Alain-Philippe Durand, director of the School of International Languages, Literatures and Cultures, as well as a professor of French, was one of the first to begin thinking critically about making the camp a reality.

“We are very excited about this,” Durand said. “It is a good time to do this because of the fact that there has been a lot of attention and buzz surrounding hip-hop culture at the UA.”

Durand helped organize the UA’s first hip-hop symposium earlier this year and has since gone to speak to high school students about programs the UA has to offer. The student reaction reassured him that the camp is a great idea, he said.

“I have noticed that there are always a lot of questions about the hip-hop program,” Durand said. “They are always curious. Seeing that there is so much interaction from the students, I thought it would be interesting to have a summer camp where they could learn more about it. This will give them a chance to familiarize themselves with this study and learn more about diversity, which is a great skill to have when you are going to college.”

Planet Hip-Hop Details

The camp will take place from June 17-21, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Enrollment is limited and the full week will cost $385. Scholarships will be offered.

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