Music and Social Justice Writing Prompts

Posted Dec 3 2006

This was a recent assigment I gave over the Thanksgiving holidays. It's pretty basic, but students enjoyed it. As time permits, I'll post student work. BTW, for some of those films we only watched clips. Our class wouldn't last very long if it was free-for-all!

Music class Thanksgiving Homework
Can be in composition book or typed.

1. Pick two of the following to research. Write at least two paragraphs on each  and name the source of your information (Wikipedia CANNOT be a source).

*The origins and significance of dreadlocks
*The definition of “Ital” and what is included, not included
*The use of marijuana in the Rastafarian religion
*Marijuana laws in the United States
*The importance of Bob Marley
*The political significance of reggaeton
*How early hip hop differs from current hip hop
*How the media covers the “hyphy movement”
*How the police try to deal with sideshows

You can propose another topic, but it must be approved by me. E-mail me at

2. Pick two of the movies that we’ve watched so far, including:

*Favela Rising (Favelas and reggae music in Brazil)
*Third World Cop (clips from Jamaican movie)
*Roots Daughter (Women Rastafarians)
*Beat Street (old school hip hop video)
*Rock School (after school program)
*Hype on Hyphy (E-40)
*Reading Between the Rhymes (hip hop and education)
*El Documental (reggaeton documentary)

Referencing BOTH movies, write at least a page about similarities between them and life in Oakland. For example: the music, how women are viewed/treated, crime, education, language, etc.


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