Inspiring Children through the Arts: Hip Hop Week at Rankin Inlet

Writing rap lyrics during hip-hop week in rankin
Writing Rap Lyrics during Hip-Hop Week in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut © Kathleen Merritt
Recording a rap song! hip-hop week in rankin
Recording a Rap Song! Hip-Hop Week in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut © Kathleen Merritt
Godson with students in rankin
Godson with Students in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut © Kathleen Merritt

Students in Rankin Inlet were treated to some very special performing arts lessons when Hip-Hop artists Godson, Nelson Tagoona and local throat-singer Kathleen Merritt shared their skills at Simon Alaittuq School (SAS) from November 24 - November 26.

Following the success of last year’s Hip Hop Week in Baker Lake, MAP Nunavut coordinators decided to bring the program to Rankin Inlet, where grade 5 & 6 students learned throat-singing, beat-boxing and song writing.

Yellowknife artist and youth worker Godson developed songs with grade 6 students. Nelson Tagoona of Baker Lake taught beat boxing and rhyming, and Kathleen Merritt taught throat singing in classroom rotations. To end the week off, students and staff at SAS attended a concert featuring the three Northern artists followed by a joyful dance party.

After the concert, Nelson, Godson and Kathleen sat in the teacher’s lounge with a handful of SAS staff (teachers, and teacher assistants) and discussed the week’s activities. They all commented that the students they have the hardest time reaching out to were the ones who excelled over the week.

A Special Student Assistant (SSA) said that one child who never talks was one of the kids who won the ‘rap battle’ in Godsons workshops, and the following day when he was walking down the hall she could hear him practicing his beat-boxing. Another teacher commented “This is the most some kids have ever written all year” after one of Godson’s workshops.

Kathleen says “Hearing all of these stories, and seeing the kids just shine with excitement and seeing them feel proud of themselves is what does it for me as a teaching artist. I feel so blessed to be able to influence young minds in a positive way.”

MAP Nunavut is made possible through the generous support of Honorary Patrons Janice and Earle O’Born, as well as Travel Partner First Air, The Government of Nunavut and Boston Pizza. If you would like to support this inspiring program, please donate now.

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