Rapper Drake Inspires Youth Through Online Hip Hop Program
According to a 2012 study by Lorena Estrada-Martinez of Washington University in St. Louis, daily stress, particularly related to racial discrimination, can increase risk for depressive symptoms and engagement in violent behavior among African Americans transitioning into adulthood (ages 19-25).
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To address this health concern, BlackDoctor.org and I have collaborated to bring H.Y.P.E.: Healing Young People thru Empowerment to youth through an online platform.
H.Y.P.E. is a nationally renowned Hip Hop Therapy curriculum that explores topics including depression, atonement, and family traditions through discussing rap songs and completing activities. Over the next few weeks, we will outline some online H.Y.P.E. workgroup topics and share feedback from youth participants ages 17-20.
Transitioning into adulthood has always posed challenges, yet today’s youth are facing obstacles previous generations have not. Factors including high unemployment and rising education costs are causing many young adults to feel they have few options for creating the lives they desire.
In this H.Y.P.E. session, the concept of learned hopefulness was introduced through Drake’s song, “Closer”. Learned hopefulness theory suggests experiences that provide opportunities to establish skills and gain a sense of control counter the tendency to feel overwhelmed by life stressors.
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The experience with my H.Y.P.E. family was therapeutic to my spiritual feeding. It’s such an honor that I had this opportunity to be apart of this effective community. My experience with H.Y.P.E. was turned, and we talked about real issues, broke them down, and analyzed the issues around us. For us to change things we must understand how they happen. So special thanks to Dr. Dia, the H.Y.P.E. family, and blackdoctor.org.
Since starting the H.Y.P.E. curriculum I am excited for future meetings. The first week was about hopefulness and dreams. We listened to a song by Drake called “Closer to My Dreams” and discussed dreams of our own. We also shared obstacles we face in obtaining them. It was just the motivation I needed to not only get back in school but to get a job too.
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I’m so excited to say that I was apart of the very first online curriculum. Even though we are far apart, technology makes us seem very close together. Our first topic was dreams, something Doc and I speak on a lot! It’s ironic because being apart of this movement that is monumental was a dream. Now it’s my reality and that’s what the whole message was about! Making your dreams your reality! #HipHopHeals #HYPEMvmt
~Brandi (Lotus) Williams
Dr. Adia Winfrey is an Atlanta, GA based author, psychologist, corporate trainer, and rap lyricist who has been featured on NPR, the Tom Joyner Morning Show and in JET Magazine. She is the creator of Healing Young People thru Empowerment (H.Y.P.E.), which incorporates rap music and lyrics into group therapy sessions for at-risk youth, with emphasis on Black males. Beginning in 2015, through a BlackDoctor.org partnership, H.Y.P.E. online workgroups will be conducted with youth globally. Learn more about Dr. Winfrey and H.Y.P.E. at http://www.letsgethype.com.