Back in March Brian Mooney — a teacher at High Tech High School in North Bergen, N.J. and organizer of the school’s poetry club — wrote a blog post titled “Why I Dropped Everything and Started Teaching Kendrick Lamar’s New Album.” His post expressed his efforts to use Lamar’s album, To Pimp a Butterfly to help explore the topics in Toni Morrison’s 1971 novel, The Bluest Eye.
The blog post went viral and many applauded Mooney for his ability to effectively use hip-hop as an educational tool. The lesson didn’t end there. A month later Mooney write another post titled, “PART 2: HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WRITE ESSAYS ON KENDRICK LAMAR’S ALBUM, TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY“. The garnered support for Mooney’s effort caught the attention of the acclaimed rapper and he had to meet Mooney and his students.
On June 10, Kendrick and his team spent the entire day at the high school listening to poems by students and sharing lyrics and advice. The students, so excited, even created their own hashtag for the visit #KendrickatSchool . Students, faculty and staff took to social media to share photos and videos of the experience.
“I was intrigued that somebody other than myself can articulate and break down the concepts of To Pimp a Butterfly almost better than I can,” Lamar explained during a break, referring to Mooney’s original blog post. “That let me know he’s a true lover of music.”