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Teach Me How to Tupac
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Teach Me How to Tupac


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This presentation focuses on the power of a rich arts education for urban youth. Examines the role of art education in the life of Tupac Shakur

This presentation focuses on the power of a rich arts education for urban youth. Examines the role of art education in the life of Tupac Shakur

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  • Most liberal arts colleges require students to take humanities. (Some call it another name– integrated arts, arts 101 – same thing
  • Express what its like being an art teacher. Student samples.
  • Express what its like being an art teacher. Student samples.
  • Transcript

    • 1. By Lisa “Love” WhittingtonDoctoral Candidate, University of GeorgiaTupac AmaruShakur Collection ConferenceAtlanta University Center/Robert Woodruff LibrarySeptember 29, 2012
    • 2. “Im not saying Im gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.” ― Tupac ShakurTupac knew what he was doing when hemade this statement…he’s talking aboutYOU.Knowledge is let us learn…
    • 3. The HumanitiesThe Humanities Arts are academic disciplines that nurtureintellect, exercise the right brain and engage holistic thinkingBranches of the Humanities : visual arts, performingarts, music, philosophy, religion, literatureThe humanities teaches us about the world, about other cultures, andabout ourselves.
    • 4. The 5 Canons of Humanities Arts Human Nature – (I was born this way)Human Behavior –(Culture conditioned me this way)Human Condition –(Why am I this way?)Human Struggle –(This is my conflict)Human Psyche –(This is in my head) HUMANities inform us what it is like to be human.
    • 5. What is Art?Art is a productof human Many of Tupac‟s works are cathartic. Catharticexperience. means relief through the expression of strong emotions.Entertainment and art are not the same thing. Entertainment is recreational whiletrue artistry sticks to the human soul.An artist will authentically deliver a canon of the humanities.
    • 6. Tupac’s favorite artist was most likely Vincent Van Gogh.
    • 7. Van Gogh created this painting of sunflowers that Tupac refers to in hispoem “Starry Night.”
    • 8. Vincent Van Gogh was an artist that struggled with strong emotions. He was madefun of and did not sell many paintings while he was alive. He created this paintingwhile in a mental institution. Van Gogh shot himself and died one year later. Hedied thinking he was a failure.Tupac was engaged in an arts based curriculum. At the age of 19 Tupac wrote apoem honoring Van Gogh’s life and his painting of “Starry Night.”
    • 9. Starry NightA creative heart, obsessed with satisfying 
thisdormant and uncaring society 
you have giventhem the stars at night 
and you have given them
Bountiful Bouquets of Sunflowers 
but 4 u thereis only contempt 
and though you pour yourselfinto that fame 
and present it so proudly thisworld 
could not accept your masterpieces 
fromthe heart.
So on that starry night you gave to us
and you took away from us 
the one thing wenever acknowledged 
your life.Poem by Tupac ShakurPainting by Vincent Van Gogh
    • 10. Left Brain peopleand left brainlearning Right Brain Holistic people and holistic learning people and right creates a bridge between the two brain learning
    • 11. Left Brain people Right Brain peopleLeft Brain education: Right Brain educationAnalytical HolisticLogical Colors outside the linesConcerned with being right and Creativewrong EmotionalLanguage IntuitiveScience and math Art and musicWalks a straight line Thinks outside of the boxStays inside the lines, afraid to go Can agree to disagree butout can still value theValues testing perspective of others.Keeps track of time Products are evidence ofData driven success and achievementNeeds numbers to prove success Qualitativeand achievement Loses track of timeQuantitative
    • 12. Baltimore School of the Arts Offered more right brain education: Humanities arts was integrated with regular academics and kept Tupac engaged in hisTamalpais High School education. Educators understood how to work with Tupac andOffered more formal education: students like him.Tupac became unengaged, gotinvolved with the wrong crowd, and Circumstances forced Tupac todropped out of high school in the have to move away fromtwelfth grade. Baltimore School of the Arts. He moved to California.Educators did not understand how towork with Tupac or students like him.
    • 13. “Between the eastcoast, the Bay area,LA, and Baltimore,those places mademe. Made me who Iam, and what I am,and made me standout.”- Tupac Shakur
    • 14. Tupac Shakur, born in Harlem, NY. Age of 12, enrolled in Harlem’s 127th Street Repertory Ensemble. Was cast as the young Travis in “A Raisin in the Sun” at the Apollo Theater. Shakur family moved from NY to Baltimore. Tupac enrolled in Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Baltimore. Transfers to Baltimore School of the Arts and is engaged in his education through an arts based curriculum.Shakur family moves to California.Tupac is enrolled in Tamalpais High School wherehe drifts and drops out of school. Meets Leila Steinberg in San Francisco at the age of 17 and enrolls in her workshops. Leila held arts workshops dedicated to helping at-risk youth find their voice. Tupac synthesizes his life and his artistic training…sets goals…disciplines himself… and his artistic career begins…
    • 15. IntellectIntelligence and intellect are not the same thingIntelligence is measured right or wrong. Intellect is nurtured.Intellectual property are the authentic products of human beings and arecopyrighted because of authenticity.Intellect employs human senses.Intellect is nurtured throughengagement in the arts as an artistor participant.
    • 16. Tupac was highly intellectualWrote poetryCritiqued paintingsCanons of the humanities arts are found throughout his work.Engaged in performing arts as a participant and observerWas an avid reader of literatureWas visually literate. Knew how to read images.Visual images in his videos are rich, intellectual, authentic, and humanIncorporated metaphorsWas descriptiveCould find the words to describe the world or his emotionsCould organize his thoughtsLoved authentic handwriting.Tupac‟s art is a product of his living. It is a merging of hishuman experience and academic training whichsynthesized into philosophical works of art. His traininghelped him to organize his world into a quality finishedartistic product.
    • 17. The Spiritual, God, and the ArtsReligion is an discipline of the Humanities. Spiritual flows naturally when intellect is engaged.God is an artist and is referred to as “The Creator”The Bible says “In the beginning God created”Like an artist God used Chiaroscuro. Chiaroscuro is a term in the arts used for how an artist useslight and dark for create form. The Holy Bible states “In the beginning God created…. Then goes onto discuss how God used light and dark to form the world. (Holy Bible, Genesis 1)The arts are sacred, and like God-- the arts are often pushed aside, neglected, taken forgranted, and forsaken.Unknowingly, arts teachers have a sacred calling, especially in oppressed communities withoppressed people.Many participants of Tupac‟s art connect with hisspirituality. God was incorporated extensively intoTupac‟s work.
    • 18. Jesus cried out“God why have you forsakenme?” (book of Matthew27:46)Tupac’s cried out—“Does the Lord care?” A staple of Tupac‟sartistry was his genuineand continual calling outto God. He often referenced hisown spirit, and when andwhere his spirit wouldrest. He also would givehope to people likehimself.*Makaveli CD cover image
    • 19. “I shall not fear no man but God” “If I upset you dont stress never forget That God isnt finished with me yet” “I feel His hand on my brain when I write rhymes I go blind and let the Lord do His thing” “Theres a Heaven for a G.” “Lord, I suffered through the years and shed so many tears..” “Oh my Lord, tell me what Im livin’ for”“My music is “Cause even thugs cry, but do the Lord care?”spiritual if youlisten to it, it’s allabout emotion, Please God walk with me (grab a nigga and take me toit’s all about life.” Heaven)
    • 20. Tupac and Arts Education Tupac AmaruShakur felt that through art we could incite a new revolution that incorporated the heart, mind, body, spirit, and soul…Tupac began to share his ideas on how the arts could be included in school curriculums to help youth address some of the issues they were experiencing in their lives. By combining art with education, Tupac felt we could begin to heal society’s pain and confusion. (Words of Leila Steinberg, educator, writer, poet, and first manager of Tupac AmaruShakur) (Shakur, 1999, p. xix)Tupac understood the power of arts education inthe lives of Black and Latino students in urbanand oppressed environments. He understood itbecause he experienced it. Arts educationsaved his life.
    • 21. Tupac’s arts education impacted his lifeA rich thick arts education when you are youngsticks to your bones and when you are grown, youdon‟t forget it.•Knew how to observe the world because he was an observer of the arts•Knew how to put words together and express what he wanted to say•Understood the world•Got along with all races of people. Had diverse friendships but knew who he was andnever forgot where he came from.•Understood politics•Understood people•Continued to research for himself beyond his schooling. Curiosity stayed alive.•He had a critical mindset for social justice.•Reached back for his people•Street smart and book smart and could integrate the two.•Developed into a theoretical and philosophical human being.•Gave the world a gift. A product of his living---his art.
    • 22. The Condition of Arts Education for Urban and Inner City YouthIs arts education properly funded in urban schools? No. Educational resources andfunding are directed toward areas that are tested. Focus is on left brain learning.Art teachers are struggling in urban areas. They are poorly trained. They quit. Theygive up. Education statistics show high rates of arts teachers leaving for “betterconditions” in suburban schools.Even kids are being told, the arts are not important. They regurgitate this lie fromvarious uniformed, non-intellectual humans, or from a culture that wants to hold themback.Formula for failure: Remove or water down the artsin urban and inner city schools and place focus ontesting.
    • 23. Tupac cared about EducationOne of the books Tupac read was “SavageInequalities” by Jonathan Kozol “Within our public school systems: Minimal financial resources, inadequate facilities and materials, under qualified staff, as well as the influences of urban systems. Bureaucracies in classroom life should have a direct connection in the preparation of teachers.” (Kozol, 1991)
    • 24. Urban Education needs a Critical LensScholar Lisa Delpit collected statements from teachers of color on their pre-serviceteacher experience“My teacher education was a joke…“They just went by what they learned from books..”“I only learned how to teach white kids…”Pre-service teachers of color felt that they just regurgitated information back to theirteachers to get out and felt their courses presented a one sided view of the world.(From “Other People’s Children, by Lisa Delpit)My pilot study of art teacher preparation revealed a phenomena. When I asked urbanarts teachers how their pre service training prepared them for their workingenvironment they laughed and mocked at my question.Teacher training is regurgitating the formulafor failure of minority children.
    • 25. Critical Pedagogy Paulo Freire’s Banking Theory of Education: Students are empty vessels to be filled by teacher. Critical approaches examine Students are the depositories and social conditions in order to teachers are the depositors. This uncover hidden structures. type of education keeps people Critical theory teaches that oppressed. (Pedagogy of the knowledge is power. This Oppressed by Paulo Freire) means that understanding the ways one is oppressed enables one to take action to changeCritical pedagogy is an educational movement oppressive forces.guided by passion and principle to helpstudents develop consciousness of freedom, Reference: authoritarian tendencies, andconnect knowledge and power to the abilityto take constructive action.Giroux, H. (October 27, 2010) "Lessons From Paulo Freire", Chronicle ofHigher Education. Retrieved 10/20/10.
    • 26. Leaders concerned with education and oppression Tupac Shakur“ In my music, and in a lot of the music, its only talking Paulo Freireabout the oppressed rising up against the oppressor, To no longer be a victim ofthat’s what my music is about. The oppressed rising up oppression, one must turn from it andagainst the oppressor. The only people that’s scared are turn on it by practicing reflection and thenthe oppressors. The only people that have any harm take action to change their oppressedcoming to them are those that oppress.” world.(Tupac interview, Makavell interview, 1995 ). (Paulo Freire “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”) They would have been friends and colleagues in the struggle. Tupac would have read “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”
    • 27. Tupac Center for the Arts: a support to urban arts educationThe Shakur family understands the need for urbanyouth to have access to quality arts experiences. Theycarry on Tupac’s legacy in arts education.Mission of Tupac Center for the Arts: to provide training and support for students whoaspire to enhance their creative talents. Each and every child desires freedom tocreatively express themselves. They provide an environment that encourages freedom ofexpression, serves as a resource for families, and empowers via education.Founded in 1997 by AfeniShakur who understood the powerful role of arts education inthe life of her son. She understands that arts education improves school grades, as wellas offers invaluable life lessons while building self-esteem and confidence. The TupacArts Center continues Tupac‟s legacy in arts education to give countless young peoplethe courage to get off the streets, and learn vital skills to positively impact theircommunities.
    • 28. Advocates for a quality Urban Arts Education “We wouldnt ask why a rose that grew from the concrete for having damaged petals, in turn, we would all celebrate its tenacity, we would all love its will to reach the sun, well, we are the roses, this is the concrete and these are my damaged petals, don’t ask me why, thank god, and ask me how” Tupac Shakur -- Tupac Shakur, The Rose That Grew from ConcreteLisa Whittington
    • 29. Artist, poet, activist, teacher, and arts education advocate, Lisa Whittington was born in Harlem, NY. Home life for Lisa wasAbout the author dysfunctional and abusive. She lived in the projects with herLisa „Love‟ Whittington mother and 5 brothers and sisters. Her mother was single, on welfare, and engaged regularly in alcoholism and drugs. Her father was never seen and unknown. Lisa’s high school teachers placed her in the Humanities arts program at Far Rockaway High School exposing Lisa to an array of artistic experiences including performing arts, literature, music, visual art, and took her on many field trips to museums, operas, symphonies and the like. The arts were highly integrated into her academics and kept Lisa academically engaged. By the age of 17, Lisa was homeless, and occasionally lived with friends. In spite of her circumstances, she graduated with honors from FRHS. Long Island University/CW Post College HEOP program recognized potential--took Lisa by the hand, paid her way, and allowed her to continue her education and interest in the arts. After graduating with a BFA from CW Post, Lisa moved to Atlanta, became a teacher in Atlanta Public schools teaching visual arts to inner city youth where she has been for over 20 years. Lisa has travelled extensively around the world studying art and is a regular volunteer and friend of the Tupac Center for the Arts. She is a Humanities and Arts adjunct professor and has taught Humanities courses at UWG, NCCU and St. Leo University for several years. She is a scholar and doctoral candidate at the University of Georgia. Her dissertation focus is the preparation of teachers for urban environments. She is founder of Contact information:
    • 30. Did you hear about the rose thatgrew
from a crack in theconcrete?
Proving natures law iswrong it
learned to walk with outhaving feet.
Funny it seems, but bykeeping its dreams,
it learned tobreathe fresh air.
Long live the rosethat grew from concrete
when no oneelse ever cared. --By Tupac ShakurPlease help grow more “Roses in the Concrete” by supporting andadvocating for more rich and vibrant arts education in urban andinner city schools and supporting the Tupac Center for the Artsand the Tupac AmaruShakur Foundation. Please don’t sit backand watch our children suffer and get cheated from a quality artseducation. Expression in the Humanities and Arts is the key tokeeping children in oppressed communities engaged in theireducation and a positive life. Thank you so much.Lisa “Love” Whittington
    • 31. Image ReferencesArt commissioned for use on the inside cover of "R U StillDown?",
the commemorative Tupac Shakur CD. gogh comes-forward-1005237412.story#/column/the-juice/tupac-quad- studios-robber-comes-forward-1005237412.story he-rose-that-grew-from-concrete brain-business-plan®-intro/