Challenging Youth Through Financial & Business Education

In partnership with Pockets Change, HHEC has created the Hip Hop FinFest, a financial literacy initiative in which Middle and High School Students are invited to explore challenges that build financial skills and then use that knowledge to write, perform and submit an original song.

Learn more about HipHopFinest

Hip-Hop Song Competition

Developing Careers and Job Opportunities Through Pre-Apprenticeships

In collaboration with the Arts2Work organization, HHEC is developing a Digital Archiving and Curation Pre-Apprenticeship Program. This program will be targeted especially for the over 4 million ‘disconnected youth’ ages 16-24 who are neither working nor in school. Through Arts2Work and their certificate framework, this training will provide direct pathways to employment.

Arts2Work Logo

Think & Do Tanks To Build Upon Research, Tools, & Best Practices

Think & Do Tanks To Build Upon ResearchTo further investigate, organize, analyze, facilitate and professionalize the field of Hip­-Hop Education, HHEC formed a Think & Do Tank to connect thought leaders and practitioners with emerging and seasoned artists, scholars, educators, administrators, and community leaders. The goal of the HHEC Think & Do Tank is to engage a range of constituencies that are using Hip-Hop for educational purposes and to produce and disseminate research, tools, and best practices to the wider field.

  • Think Tank I: Rollin Deep, Moving Forward: Professionalizing Hip-Hop Education. 2011, Produced in partnership with NYU with support from The Nathan Cummings Foundation
  • Think Tank IILaying the Foundation for Professional and Economic Development of Hip-Hop Education. 2012, Produced in partnership with Columbia University: Teachers College and NYU with support from The Nathan Cummings Foundation
  • Think Tank IIILegacy Building! Cultivating A Global Cypher from the Streets to the Classroom. 2013, Produced in partnership with the Schomburg Center with support from The Nathan Cummings Foundation and The Ford Foundation
  • Think Tank IV: The Fifth Element: The Future and Promise of Hip-Hop Pedagogy. 2017, Produced in partnership with Stanford University

Promoting Careers in Hip-Hop Through Immersive Cyphers

HHEC has identified job opportunities for young people within Hip-Hop culture and promote these opportunities through career cyphers; 4-6 week long workshops that introduce the STEAM fields of work including; journalism, media production, music production and tech jobs. This immersive learning experience of STEAM meets entrepreneurship teaches youth how to create & market their work, develop business plans and create budgets.

  • Virtual Internship: In May 2020, HHEC was funded by The Bush Foundation to launch its first virtual internship program as part of the Career Cypher initiative and in partnership with the High School for Recording Arts in St. Paul, MinnesotaThe program included the participation of  LaGuardia High School in NYand View Park High School in California. Students from across the country went through a summer-long, in-depth career exploration including skills-building, and collaborative project-based programs. Students were introduced to professionals through a speaker series, and curated their own online festival as a culminating event. Since then, over 200 students have participated in the training program.
  • ‘The Career Cypher: Guide to Independent Artists’:  In partnership with The Residency, a nonprofit organization based in Seattle founded by Hip-Hop artist Macklemore, HHEC held a six week virtual workshop in spring 2022 with students participating from across the country including; California, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Innovating Classrooms, Schools & After School Programs

AME Institute - Pop-Up OaklandHHEC in partnership with Hip Hop Congress has teamed up with the California Department of Education Career Technical Education Arts, Media and Entertainment sector to develop the ‘Hip Hop Education and Equity Initiative’. The goal is to integrate Hip-Hop in curricula, school programming, after school, and student clubs while also recruiting a new workforce and creating employment opportunities for teaching artists as co-teachers. H2E2 distributes federally funded grants to schools interested implementing the initiative. HHEC is already working with over 50 schools across the country; focusing on arts, media, entertainment, and digital archiving.

Learn More about AME Institute Pop-Up Oakland

Pop-Up Oakland – March 2023 Poster

Elevating Innovation Through Fellowships

HHEC cultivates problem solvers, education innovators, impact media producers, and social entrepreneurs to develop Hip Hop Education ideas and the next generation of leaders and storytellers. Through our Fellows and scholars program, we have supported over 100 projects and initiatives.

Meet The 2022 Fellows

Jen Johnson, Ph.D.
Tracee Worley
Sam “Rabbi Darkside” Sellers
Roberto Rivera
Genesis Be
Gabriel ‘Kwikstep’ Dionisio
Felicia Pride
Chris “Kazi” Rolle
Chen Lo
Ana “Rokafella” Garcia

Cultivating Scholars & Amplifying Research

Through our Scholars Program, we work with Hip Hop pioneers and academics. HHEC supports research, historical documentation, and new pieces of work by scholars who amplify Hip Hop’s history, elements, and innovation. Our visiting scholar program supports international research, scholarship, and community programming projects. Visiting scholars have joined us from Japan, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Ukraine, and France to name a few.

Meet The 2022 HHEC Scholars


Toni Blackman
Sam Seidel
Raedawn Phoenix
Ken Swift
Iona Rozeal Brown
Carlos Rodriguez

Visiting Scholars

Tahir Hemphill – Bronx, New York
Ruth Daniel – Manchester, England
Monica Amaral – São Paulo, Brazil
Mary Fogarty – Toronto, Canada
John Jennings – Buffalo, New York
Fanon Che Wilkins – Kyoto, Japan
Anna Oravcová – Prague, Czech Republic

Supporting Ambassadors and Hip Hop’s Global Movement

HHEC has hosted three cultural envoy delegations with the U.S. State Department Office of International Visitors Bureau of Educational and Cultural Leadership. Over 150 artists from around the world were given guided tours to Hip-Hop landmarks and treated to dinners with local leaders, artists, and journalists. Collaborators have included the Next Level Program, The Schomburg Center, HUSH Tours, New York University, and Edward Tyler Nahem.

Next Level USA

Learn more at

Community Archives

The Community Archives is a repository of collections donated by the community to document memories and social history. The Community Archives was established in partnership with Urban Teacher’s Network and Hip Hop Congress.

Tell us your hiphop story

Empowering Women & Girls – The Fresh, Bold, and So Def Initiative

Women in Hip Hop – Refusal, Resistance, and Interruption

The Fresh, Bold, and So Def Women’s Initiative (FBSD), led by the Hip-Hop Education Center is an intergenerational, international Hip-Hop feminist movement that honors, empowers, and preserves the contributions and achievements of women and girls in Hip-Hop. It’s a one of its kind collective with the goal to not only document women’s achievements and contributions to Hip-Hop, but also to build a cannon of memorabilia and artifacts including leaflets, photographs, art, poetry, and music. The FBSD Collection will be enhanced with educational tools such as a multimedia timeline and curriculum.

Meet The Fresh, Bold, and So Def Women’s In Hip-Hop

Building A Database of Hip-Hop Education Resources & History

The Center of the Movement – Collecting Hip Hop Memorabilia

This is the archival database of Hip-Hop History from which students, teachers or a curious public can draw information and contribute their own testimony. Our goal is to provide the community with the tools to access HHEC digital archives and physical collections to preserve the history of Hip-Hop and its influences on the world, as well as tell fresh stories about Hip-Hop culture and community issues through proactive engagement and community crowdsourcing.

See our work at Google Arts & Culture

Takes A Hip-Hop Nation: A Three-Year Study on Professional Development in the Hip-Hop Education Field

Funded by The Nathan Cummings Foundation, HHEC initiative creates a report to synthesize and process the outcomes of three Hip-Hop Education Think Tank convenings that occurred over a three-year period from (2010-2013). This longitudinal study was conducted by the Hip-Hop Education Center to increase the understanding of the challenges, needs, and potential of the field of Hip-Hop Education. A key objective of the research was to identify best practices and models that could be adopted by the field.

Download PDF & more at