Feed drop time! We’re on a break from the show as we prepare for v5 of SquadCast and work on revamping the SquadCast podcast. So, we’re bringing you carefully curated feed drops from some of our favorite SquadCasters.
This week, we’re spotlighting the work of Manny Faces, who’s been a SquadPodder for a while now. SquadPod is what we call the SquadCast community on Slack. (Join us here). Manny Faces is an award-winning journalist, public speaker, podcast professional, DJ, and, if none of that is impressive enough, living kidney donor.
Here’s what the episode is about
On this episode of Hip-Hop Can Save America!, aka, ‘the world’s smartest Hip-Hop podcast,” educating the world about financial literacy through a Hip Hop-based pedagogy. Andrea Ferrero from Pockets Change tells us all about it. More here.
Here’s the description of the podcast
The “Hip-Hop Can Save America!” podcast explores innovative, inspiring, and sometimes surprising ways in which Hip-Hop music, culture, and sensibilities are being applied in areas such as education, science and technology, health and wellness, politics and social justice, business and entrepreneurship, the fine arts and more, to improve lives, livelihoods, and communities throughout the nation, across all demographics. More here.
Why we chose this episode
We’re big fans of hip hop culture. We’ve noticed over the years that lots of podcasters become DJs and vice versa. AND we love showing off the amazing interviews that are recorded on SquadCast.
Also in this episode
- A pre-roll ad from Amber Tresca for About IBD
- A note from Zach and Rock about the future of our podcast
- Join our community
- Send us your podcast pre-rolls
- Get in touch with us on social media
- Written and produced by Arielle Nissenblatt
- Mixed and designed by Vince Moreno Jr.
- Artwork and logos by Alex Whedbee
- Hosted by Zach Moreno and Rock Felder
AMBER TRESCA: Before we get to this week’s episode of the Squadcast podcast, I want to tell you about my show About IBD. I’m Amber Tresca. On About IBD, I talked to people living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis who share what they’ve learned from their journey. I also talked to experts for their perspective on topics such as nutrition, mental health, intimacy, and healthcare activism. I want to help people touched by IBD live a better life and feel less alone while navigating the ups and downs of chronic illness. Subscribe to About IBD in your favorite podcast app.
ZACHARIAH MORENO: Hey, Between Two Micers. Zach and Rock here. And welcome to the show.
ROCKWELL FELDER: We’re currently on a break from the podcast, but while we’re away, we’re still dropping episodes from some of our favorite shows.
ZACH: In a moment, we’ll hit play on one of those feed drops. We chose these podcast drops very carefully, and we hope you’ll stay tuned to enjoy them.
ROCK: If you’d like what you hear, please make sure to search for their podcasts and subscribe.
ZACH: While we’re away from Between Two Mics, we’re working on getting v5 of Squadcast ready for all of you. We’re also working on revamping this podcast. If you have any suggestions or ideas, we’re very available on social media, just search for Squadcast FM on all platforms.
ROCK: Thanks for tuning in and being a part of the Squadcast story. Enjoy this feed drop.
ZACH: Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode. We’re glad to have you with us today. We’re super excited to bring you another dope feed drop this week. And as the host and producer of the award winning podcast, Hip Hop Can Save America. We are grateful to count Manny Faces as a valued member of the squad pod for a minute now. He’s also the founding director of the The Center for Hip-Hop Advocacy. He’s a DJ and outspoken advocate for the power of hip hop music and culture to uplift humanity. And for the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing interviews about the podcast space, marketing, and SEO. This week, it’s about hip hop. Why? Because we’re huge fans of hip hop music and culture. And we’ve learned over time that a lot of podcasters are also DJs. And because we want to show off the amazing kind of content that is being recorded on Squadcast. Hip Hop Can Save America is not just an award-winning podcast, they also have the coolest merch. I’m wearing their hoodie right now. And you can get yours at hiphopadvocacy.org/shop. So let’s get to this week’s feed drop from Manny Faces and his team at Hip Hop Can Save America.
MANNY FACES: On this episode of Hip Hop Can Save America AKA the world’s smartest hip hop podcast, educating the world about financial literacy through a hip hop based pedagogy. Andrea Ferraro from the Pockets Change organization is going to tell us all about it. My name is Manny Faces. Let’s go.
BARACK OBAMA: The thing about hip hop, today, is it’s smart. It’s insightful. The way that they can communicate a complex message in a very short space. It is remarkable. And a lot of these kids, they’re not going to be reading The New York Times. That’s not how they’re getting their information.
MANNY: Peace and love to friends, neighbors, supporters, and haters. Welcome back to Hip Hop Can Save America, AKA the world’s smartest hip hop podcast. I’m Manny Faces. Fans of friends know that whenever I’m presented with a societal issue, a problem, or a disturbing trend, any suggestion I have as to how to solve it will include, in some form or fashion, hip hop. Now, those who know me very well will also know that through my years on the planet, finance hasn’t always been my strong suit. Similarly, financial literacy isn’t something that schools, or even families, tend to focus on. Our relationship with money can be overwhelming. And this is especially true in communities that have been denied access to financial services, generational wealth, and overall financial opportunity. Pockets Change exists to change all of that. Helping young and old alike from all walks of life. Get a better understanding of money. How it shapes our behavior, how to conquer our fears, and work toward a stronger financial future. And of course, they wouldn’t be on this show, if there wasn’t a hip hop angle in the mix. Now, before we get into it, I just want to let you all know that I’m making it easier for you to follow the hip hop related content that I produce, whether it’s this podcast, curating links to stories of interest, editorials, announcing speaking engagements, and more. I’m putting all that under one roof. So to speak. You can just sign up for the Words I Manifest newsletter on Sustack, at mannyfaces.substack.com. It’s free, but if you do choose to support my independent high level hip hop related journalism, you can do that there as well. Mannyfaces.substack.com. Now let’s get into it. Here’s my talk with Andrea Ferrero of Pockets Change.
Andrea, thank you for your time and for catching up with me. Uh, I know you have probably a million things going on. I really appreciate you taking out the time.
ANDREA FERRERO: Yeah. I’m so happy to be here and really excited to be on the show. I was listening to some episodes and feeling all good in the vibes coming in.
MANNY: All right. It’s a, it’s a good vibe. It’s a good party. We’ve had some good folks, Dyalekt, but on this show we have some, some mutuals as it stands. So, uh, let’s talk, I kind of want to begin at the end. Obviously I gave a little intro to you in the intro. So people kind of know who you are, but just, if you could just, how do you present yourself to the world when it comes to why we’re talking today?
ANDREA: Yeah, definitely. So I have been an educator for coming up on 20 years. It’s been about 18 years. Um, I started off teaching on the Navajo and Hopi reservation where I grew up. And what brings us together chatting is because I am the co-founder and the executive director of Pockets Change, where we teach finance using hip hop pedagogy. It’s all about changing the way that we talk about money. It’s not about fitting into somebody else’s formula. And as we know, hip hop education is about our self identity, how we connect, how we communicate, how we advocate, and I’m excited to chat about all of that together.
MANNY: It’s a beautiful intersection, obviously, as you know, I advocate for the intersection of hip hop with everything, but this is such a vital connection that I’ve, I’ve talked about before. I’ve talked about your organization before. I’m really happy to kind of get into the nitty-gritty of it. But one of the first things that does sit on the Pockets Change website is something you just alluded to. So I just want to explore this real quick. And for the record, I’m horrible. I’ve always been terrible with money, personal decisions, but understanding the systems, you know, behind it all, not just, you know, banking and kind of the front facing stuff, but you know, the economy and modern monetary theory and, oh, you know, anything that a higher level, um, I’m a complete fool, so I love any education on these things. And I think a lot of people are in the same boat. On the website, it says self self-identity in relation to the whole, and that’s something that hip hop does. And it’s something that is really the first thing that you, that your organization touts. Can you explain what that means? And then sort of how hip hop is a, is a vehicle for that?
ANDREA: Yeah, definitely. We can go real deep with that one. So I like that we’re starting there. First off, just to like acknowledge the feelings that you’re bringing up, like yeah. All ages from age six to 60, we come into the room and we, like, we bring our trauma informs our tendencies when it comes to money, and the financial system was not designed to feel comfortable in talking about it, exploring it, examining it. And so when it comes to self identity and connection to the whole. Um, I’m going to go into a real quick story. Um, but we actually had a little girl who was six years old come into one of our workshops and she just like, Dyalekt and I were teaching the workshop at the time. This was a few years back and she’s just staring at her feet, kind of shuffling in. She does not look happy. We’re thinking like maybe he got in a fight with a friend on the playground or something. You know, so we open that conversation up and she looks up and she says, I’m bad at money, today is going to be hard. And that’s at six years old. And it’s the stories that we bring into ourselves. And flash forward a couple hours into the workshop. She was building out a sticker business with some friends. She was talking about how I’m really good at spending money. Like flipped the script on that, right. Which comes to where the hip hop connection is. And that like idea of self identity, when we can look at our stories and when we can tap into the ways that we express and communicate and feel like ourselves and share of ourselves. That’s where we can connect to the community. That’s where we hit the whole. Right. And Dyalekt talks about that being like the moment of like stepping into the cipher within our like hip hop pedagogy. And we have a financial framework because we can get real nerdy with the education side of things. Um, but we talk about that self identity coming into the whole, as being part of that buy-in process. Right. Buying into wanting to talk about money, because talking about money is hard. And that often doesn’t get acknowledged. And then we just don’t have the conversations. There was a study that came out in this kind of goes to the whole, to where they were looking at parents talking with their kids about money and parents felt more comfortable in the study. They reported feeling more comfortable talking about sex, drugs, and terrorism, not all is one conversation, right. That would be a heavy, heavy conversation, but than talking about money. And when we’re able to, you know, share of ourselves in a space and step into community and connect that self identity to whole. We’re able to start advocating, not just for ourselves and what we want for our own financial goals, for our own career dreams, for our own aspirations, but also to express and to lean on one another and advocate for one another as a whole community.
MANNY: Uh, you’ve said so much that I love already, uh, six to 60 is great. And we can use hip hop, and we’re all kind of have this popular culture mindset now from six to 60. Hip hop roundabout being 50 years old. Uh, so it’s not like it’s out of reach for a certain demographics. It’s, you know, it is something that is, uh, across the board. As an educator, yourself, your history, how did you personally decide or, or follow the path to financial literacy as being your, your main thing?
ANDREA: So I think very much, um, out of like this goes back to the hip hop connection too like, uh, innovation out of necessity. So, um, when I was teaching on the reservation, I stepped into my first classroom at, I think it was around 20 years old. It was coming up on my 21st birthday. I was teaching second grade, and I got a check for my classroom materials from the school district. And it was a $50 check to cover all materials for the year. And art and science were out of teacher’s pocket as electives.
MANNY: Oh, how nice.
ANDREA: Right, I know. Looking at the budget going okay, what am I going to do here? And out of necessity, I started a classroom store with my kids. I thought it was going to be a cute project that I would run and they would just kind of be a part of, right. They would do the voting at the end of the month for what supplies we were getting, but they really ended up running with it. We were selling pickles and pencils. My kids were really stepping into having these entrepreneurial conversations. It got me really curious about financial education. And I started exploring that, I actually found a job post. In California, back when Craigslist was still the way to get a job, I found a job post on Craigslist. And that’s where I met my co-founder Pamela Capalad. She was teaching financial camps in California for very wealthy students. And we ended up working together for a summer. And what we found ourselves talking about is why didn’t kids like us get this? Why wasn’t this present in the communities that we grew up in? How can we make financial education more accessible? Um, quick shout out to my co-founder. She does that for adults as well through her business, which is financial planning for adults, Brunch & Budget. So really being able to, again, talk, tackle the taboos around money, um, over a meal. And I think that that’s something when we talk about like six to 60, that transcends all ages, having money conversations is emotional. And when we come together, we can really, you can really make change happen. And that’s where, you know, Dyalekt came in as a, he’s now our director of pedagogy and the heartbeat of the organization with a hip hop pedagogy. And we have other amazing teaching artists that go into classrooms or right now into Zoom rooms, meeting with, with kids and with adults and with teachers and community leaders and artists, having these conversations. But it all comes back to that moment. When I was staring into an empty cabinet going, what am I going to do with 50 bucks? How do I go from here? Yeah.
MANNY: Trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents. Shoutouts to Pam. I know Pam. You mentioned something, real quick. Why didn’t we have this when we were young? Why didn’t we have this growing up? And, and we is very collective, certainly more communities, certainly some communities more than others are lacking in, you know, education, resources, uh, particularly around, like you say, the arts is, is not something that’s funded, uh, in some communities, communities of color, low-income communities. Arts, access to STEM fields, uh, and certain things that-I can’t remember if I took financial lit-that I know I had home economics. I know I, you know, I had a sewing machine, you know, class typewriting, like from, cause I’m old. Um, but I don’t even know that I had this back in the days, you know, so I don’t know that this has been something that schools focused on. Uh, and again, certainly some communities more than others. What have been the reasons why we grow up not knowing what the hell we’re doing with money?
ANDREA: Well, we’ve got all sorts of thoughts and ideas on that. One, when we kind of talk about like advocating for ourselves and our communities, when we look at systemic issues and systemic inequity in education, it’s a direct parallel to, it’s kind of what you were saying and like this, you know, hitting certain communities harder. For sure. And there’s been studies done. There was one just on the last year by a nonprofit up in the bay area called Next Gen Personal Finance. And they found that. It was about 7.4% of Black and brown communities had access to financial education, as a high school course. And then when you look at low end communities, same parallel about 7.8% of kids that are having access to that. That oftentimes, if you, you know, kind of scope out and you look at arts and STEM and workforce development, like all these things, there’s, there’s a parallel there. And then, you know, you get papers coming out and saying, what about the achievement gap and the digital gap? And you’re like, well, yeah, did you see the graph? Um, but we all know that in-in the communities that we’ve grown up in, we’re, we’re seeing these challenges and that’s where, you know, again, like innovation and coming together in community to say. We really want to create these programs. We want to build these programs. We’ve worked with a lot of collaborative, amazing organizations. Um, we did a hip hop infest then Dyalekt came on and shared this last year, which was in collaboration with Hip Hop CU, the Universal Hip Hop Museum, with Florida Prosperity Now, which is an education organization down in Florida, but they have national reach. All of these people are working to make finance education more accessible across our schools and communities. And part of that kind of goes to legislation and saying like, Hey, we really want to push to make this happen. But part of that is also being on the ground and going in and, and making that change together.
MANNY: Let’s talk about how this looks in practice. Sounds all nice, uh, from an academic lens. Um, maybe we talk about the framework. Does that, do you think that’s a good place to go?
ANDREA: Yeah, let’s do it.
MANNY: Break down the framework and then we’ll talk about how that actually, uh, again, looks in practice.
ANDREA: Yeah, we actually have what we call our five steps to financial resilience. This is how we teach. It’s how our teaching artists step into the classroom and work with students of all ages. It’s also how we teach teachers to bring this into their own classrooms in their own communities. And it’s the framework in which we’re having these intergenerational family jam nights, where our students and families are coming together and having these conversations too. It all starts with buy in. You know, why, why have the money conversation, right? We all have our different reasons and different, timely events going on in our lives that make that conversation important or relevant. And it’s key that we start there so that we all have those buy-in points to come together. So that’s our first step. And then from that point, we’re able to kind of start to work together. That’s that like self identity is that buy-in right. And then we move into that community piece where we start looking at examining systems. We have this really cool activity that are, and we’ve done this with all ages as well, where we look at the banking system and we call it design a better bank, build a better bank. And it’s not that we believe our kids are going to create a utopian bank, but it is that when we look at design and when we think about, you know, how do we creatively look at the systems that are in plan our life, we’re able to come to critical questions that we want to ask. And kind of like what are deal breakers and our deal makers when it comes to choosing a bank and that banks are, they’re not an institution like the post office, even though they feel like it, that they are businesses and their businesses to make money. And they’re selling us financial products, and we can have transparency around that. And then from there, we look at like, how do we build our habits? How do we step into a rhythm for our own lives? Knowing those things about those systems, how do we live into our own values? And ultimately what this all builds to is being able to have community advocacy, being able to step into making change in our own lives and making change in our communities.
MANNY: So again, as this looks, you know, if I walk into a workshop or maybe it’s, let’s start with young folk, you know, uh, you work with, what’s like kind of a prime middle school, you know, high school, like where does this kind of, uh, I know you probably do everything. You know, I got a six-year-old that, you know, got questions already. And I’m like, look, girl, we going to have to, I gotta talk to my folks. I don’t know. What’s the standard, you know, kind of age range, maybe it’s a school thing, or maybe it’s a workshop out of school. What does it look like?
ANDREA: Yeah, I love this question from a couple different kind of lenses. One, cause like Dyalekt even teases about this, this slides are the same! There’s some activities that just transcend age. Right. And so one thing, stepping into our little classrooms and you know, with our littlest learners, they were talking with a group of 6, 7, 8 year olds. We want to dig into what are they curious about and what kind of money stories do they already have. Because like that little girl that stuck into the classroom and already felt like she was bad at money. Right. We have those money stories already in us. Um, there’s really cool work that shows that we build a relationship with money at the same time we’re building our early reading skills. But nobody’s going, Hey, let’s work on that together. And so we actually start by looking at money personalities. We have a two question quiz. This is on our site too. It’s a free quiz to take, and you can find which of the four money personalities you have. And then from there, start to explore what tendencies you have coming up for you, you know? Um, like for me, just share a little bit, um, I’m a paper chaser. And so for paper chasers, we tend to be really good at like negotiating, finding ways to make money. And this goes back all the way to when I was five, six years old, I went to school. This was, I think it was end of kindergarten, might’ve been beginning of first grade. My mom could share the story better than me, but I went to the, I went to school. They were having the Scholastic book fair, you know, the beautiful like layout. Right. And I wanted this Garfield sticker book and my mom had said she had already sent in my order. But then when all the kids got their packets on their desks in the afternoon, my packet didn’t come. And I was like, my parents forgot to order the book. Oh no. So I went out to recess and I decided I was just going to step into making money happen. And I was drawing pictures, I was doing jump rope for other people. I’ll do that for a quarter. I’ll do that for a dime. By the end, I got a couple bucks together. I went in on my way from recess, asked my teacher really nicely, I just need to pop into the book fair to buy the Garfield book. End of the day, got home, and my mom had picked up the books. That’s why they weren’t on my desk. So I now had two Garfield sticker books. So sometimes like as a paper chaser a tendency to like make money happen and to be really in the flow, the like cash flow of it all. Yeah, you, you don’t end up saving and you, sometimes you’re like, you know, working three jobs and somehow like have no time and also no money. So when we look at those tendencies and those start at a very young age, then we’re able to start unpacking our money stories, but also thinking about the habits that we want to, that we want to build and the habits that maybe we want to be mindful of, because it’s not about changing who you are, right? Like we want to show up and be who we are. But when we know what that looks like, we can really find our own rhythm with it.
MANNY: There are some hard looks at one’s self, I guess that emerges from some of these. [laughs]
ANDREA: For sure. But that can be really good.
MANNY: Yeah. If you’re not, if it’s the only opportunity to do it, uh, we don’t get these opportunities to investigate our relationship with money, uh, on a regular basis, you know, uh, in our regular lives, you have to, it’s just, you have to do it with intention. Um, but it’s great that you have these frameworks and these, uh, particular skills. I’m going to ask you a question, just come back to something you said earlier. This is great because families can work together on this. Uh, again, something that I’d like to now-Didn’t do with my older kids. I remember telling them I was like, I told my kids. I said, look I got two pieces of advice. If I drop dead right now, always take care of your health, and always take care of your credit. Said if I dropped dead, they’ll tell you right now, they’ll be like, well, at least I had the basic idea. You know, I didn’t tell you how to do it, which, you know, how helpful was that? Uh, but I told you the importance of it is, you know, health and credit are the two most important things that I could possibly reinforce to you. Um, so I love the family aspect of it. I love starting young. Um, definitely gonna be doing that with baby girl Faces. I just, I didn’t do anything like that for, my, uh, uh, older kids. So families, schools, education, bringing it into that setting is very helpful. Uh, and then sort of the community, advocacy, each one, teach one, bringing it out to your friends, neighbors, supporters, and haters, and say, Hey look, you know, I’ve got some information I want to share. We can work on this generational wealth you hear people talking about, buzz words. You mentioned legislation. I don’t know if your organization particularly does this, but surely you have some ideas or support some ideas as to how legislation can come into play. It’s probably a bigger, longer conversation, but what do we want to see from elected leaders and from, you know, local, regional and national policy that would make it so that you wouldn’t have a job. In other words, you know, it happens without your, you know, you don’t need to be here anymore because it’s happening, uh, sort of systemically.
ANDREA: Yeah, that is the dream too. Just to put it out there, that’s the dream. That this doesn’t have to exist.
MANNY: I get it. We we put out a really great social justice podcast called Newsbeat and we cover all the social justice issues, all the travesties. I don’t want to make that. I don’t want to make that show anymore. It’s brilliant. It’s award-winning, it’s my best work of my life. I don’t wanna do it anymore. I wish I didn’t have to do it. So similarly, what do we have to do policy-wise?
ANDREA: Yeah. So there’s some incredible conversations happening with school leaders and legislators, and we aren’t a lobbying organization at all. Um, we are part of a broader coalition, um, called the Jump$tart Coalition, which brings together financial institutions, nonprofits, education organizations all in the heart of making access to financial education, just wider spread, right. To doing exactly that. Like this will just be embedded. It will be intrinsic. We’ll all get it when we’re little, we won’t then look back and go right. And I think that. What we need for that is, is first to be real about where we’re actually at, right? There’s sometimes this perception of like, well, they didn’t actually need it until college, because then they were making financial decisions and you’re like, well, actually let’s start young with this. We know that we’re developing our relationships with money at age six. We know that we’re making big financial decisions when we graduate high school at 16, 17. Like we, we need this embedded across classrooms. So, um, the national Jump$tart Coalition, they actually have something that they call, check your school. So as a parent, as a student, as a teacher, you can go on and check your school and see what your area’s current mandates are there. Now, 18 states, I believe that mandate a high school elective, like a mandated personal finance course. That’s a starting point, right? Like let’s get it into high school. Um, but then there are states in dialect and I actually got to meet with this amazing group of about 250 educators in Kentucky. Kentucky a couple of years ago, mandated personal finance education across K-12. And now they’re going through the work of looking at, like, what does that mean for our schools? What does that mean for the resources and tools that need to happen? Are we going to give students the chance to maybe be part of like participatory budgeting projects, where every classroom gets a hundred dollars, and they’re going to do something that makes change happen in their school community to talk about money in a real way. Maybe our high schoolers, you know, are going to have workforce development where they actually get internships during high school that they’re paid. And they’re having these conversations as they have money coming in. There’s a lot of really innovative projects going on to make sure that it’s embedded into our culture, into our life. One of the things that we believe really deeply is that in our community advocacy, you know, community activism is a big part of that because how we talk about what’s happening and how we are real about with what’s happening and where we’re at is going to also help us get to that end goal of not needing to exist.
MANNY: And community support advocacy, grassroots, uh, to, to put pressure on the, the aforementioned, uh, elected officials and organizations is important. From what I understand about, uh, politics, they don’t do much until we make them. One time, bring it back around to hip hop. Obviously hip hop has historically been a very inventive, ingenuity field, uh, genre slash culture. Uh, making money, making the dollar, proverbially out of 15 cents. You know, creating industries that didn’t exist before adapting, or as I say, hacking, or remixing, uh, industries and fields, you know, talk about the record labels not wanting to sign rappers. So they made mix tapes and sold them on the corner. And you know, that whole entrepreneurial spirit. What are some of the direct lessons from, you know, hip hop’s history, uh, that you’re applying to your framework, marrying them together? What are some direct hip hop things, that could only have come from hip hop or the communities, uh, where the soundtrack of their lives was hip hop?
ANDREA: Yeah. So first off I say everything, right. Like it’s at the, it’s at the heart and soul of our organization and what we do. And so it informs everything. When you look at like direct activities, and we’re talking about how do you express in a professional setting, how do you express and step into running your own business? You know, there are some really direct, when you step into the room, you know, that is hip hop education right there. Right. And so, um, I want to throw this to one of our professional developments we did recently. Um, we had, you know, several hundred educators in a Zoom room, and Dyalekt actually led them through doing a game called “battle for the end of the line,” which is like an improv rhyming game. Right. But it’s really getting into, it’s a little bit of like an articulation off of the Beastie Boys kind of feel to it. Right. One of the things with that call and respond that you find is teachers become learners. And in hip hop education, we know we break down that hierarchy, right? We want our learners to be leaders too. And we want our teachers to be continual learners, and we want to step into rooms where we are fostering an intergenerational connection. That is the heart and you know, that that is the heartbeat of bringing hip hop education into it all. And so what we were finding is those teachers are stepping into the room and they’re sharing. They’re kind of having fun and they’re laughing and they’re like, you know, one of the big, powerful moments is this lean in. And one of the teachers was sharing in the debrief of the activity. Well, the context of how we communicate is so important. And when we give our students the chance to really think meaningfully about how they’re communicating, in academic settings, and what that looks like outside of the classroom, and what this looks like in their career goals. And what this looks like for their creative projects. Because when you create that space, you also hear things from kids that you wouldn’t have heard otherwise. And you get to see like, oh, they have this amazing poem. Look at this graphic art that they’re doing. Wow. Look at the beat that they made, that they brought into the room. You have a different way of cracking open and sharing and being vulnerable and being real. All of that, that’s that’s hip hop education.
MANNY: Yeah. I love it. It’s it’s a it’s validation of everything I talk about. Thank God there are smart people like you to help say it better than I do. Uh, two more questions. I think, I think, uh, I could talk forever about this. We talk about communities that have been traditionally under-resourced, undervalued, underloved, uh, and not having some of the resources. This is traditionally when you think of hip hop, ties into, you know, Black and brown communities, uh, young students or young people of color. Uh, but as you mentioned, uh, you know, uh, Native American populations, poor, low-income white families, all face kind of the same struggle, right? This is all this, this, the one is across the board. Uh, and in some places more than others. But when you bring up the idea, not you, but when, when one brings up the idea of hip hop as a tool for improving comprehension, uh, engagement, uh, for any subject, be it education, health, and wellness, or as we’re talking about financial literacy. The perception by folks who are not connected to any of this would say, well, that might work good in the quote unquote inner cities. you know, might work good with the, the, the young Black kids that know hip hop. But no, this is an across the board thing, you would agree? And please tell me the importance of keeping that in mind, uh, so that we can help as many people as possible through the art and culture, uh, that we love.
ANDREA: First off. Um, yes. I’ve heard that question from teachers, right? Well, it worked great for you, and it works great in that setting. Right. Um, we know that, but, um, I can take us back to a story because storytelling, right. We had a teacher walk into a cafeteria, we had 250 6th graders in the cafeteria. They were having an amazing time. They were creating their best bank. They were looking at examining financial systems. They had a banker come in, they were ready with those on-point questions. Right. That banker did not know what he was stepping into. The teacher in the back of the room said, you know, I thought this was going to be boring. And I thought that finance had to be boring. And the other thing that, you know, that she said is that part of that came from fear. Fear about talking about money that she had, and that she didn’t see herself as being a hip hop educator. And she did not see herself as being someone that would use that as a means to connect with her kids. But what she saw was integral connection, and collaboration, and community, which is what powerful, good and strong education is. Right. And she said that she felt like, okay, a teacher is an MC. Teaching is performance. Teaching is an art and a science. That is hip hop education. And what I absolutely loved about it, is she came back the second day that we were there, and she had this, she had a CD that she pulled from her classroom. It was a multiplications, um, times table, um, CD that had been recorded. And it was done as like a classic rap to like get kids into numbers. And she had said that, um, I realized after, after yesterday, Dyalekt had put that CD out when he was younger and she asked if he could give her a little sign for the CD. And you know, that’s one of those, again, those like surprise moments of surprise connection, where for her, she kind of started by thinking about hip hop education as a gimmick. And we know what’s not, right. It’s, it’s what connects to our hearts and souls. And it’s what allows us to, to make change. It, it allows us to confront things and to advocate for ourselves. And it allows us to, to really look at building a better world and, and really re-imagining, like you’re saying remixing things. And when we left that school, that’s what she was holding in her heart around hip hop education, rather than it’s a gimmick for me to put them on a CD. That is exactly to what you’re saying, and why I love your podcast too is because it’s a space where we can do that. Right. We can say, you know, it’s not just about the elements. The elements are so important, but it’s also about what does this look like in practice? What does this look like as a pedagogy, and how does that create real communities of change?
MANNY: Yeah. Well, thank you for preempting my normal final question of: How can hip hop save America? And that you’ve been you’ve elaborated on that all throughout this conversation. Thank you so much for breaking it down how you all do it at Pockets Change. And one time for the folks, again, teachers, educators, community members, community organizations, parents, probably businesses can, uh, benefit from some of the work that, uh, that Pockets Change does. What do folks have to do to tap in?
ANDREA: Yeah, so go to our website, check out pocketschange.com. Go to the toolkit on the website. You can find your money personality. You can sign up for our monthly newsletter. For our educators, there’s downloadable lessons. For a family, there’s conversation starters. We actually have a weekly web comment called asking for a friend, that unpacks those financial questions and myths. Um, because to your earlier point about, you know, the kids that are older, it’s never too late, and we can start those conversations at every, in any age. And the last piece bring us out to your community. There’s this beautiful yellow button that says book us for a workshop, and we would love to come and jam with y’all.
MANNY: Uh, and I’ll just ask I’m sure COVID has, uh, uh, thrown multiple wrenches into all of those works, but you are doing remote work. I, you starting to get some semblance of, uh, you know, in person stuff or is it still kind of all remote or how’s it work?
ANDREA: Yeah, so right now we’re still all virtual, but we’re really hoping to start to get back to in person. We really miss that. It’s just, I mean, we all know it’s a different field, um, but we’ve definitely had some amazing connections, and there is something beautiful about like being able to be in New York in the morning and California in the afternoon and Wisconsin in the early evening.
MANNY: That’s true. That’s true. Get out there as many, uh, touch as many folks as you can. Uh, well, like I say, I’ve always been a big fan of, uh, of the, the organization, the work, the folks involved, like I said, I’ve known Dyalekt and Pam for quite some time. Uh, and now we’re best friends, so I’m just, I’m really happy that you’re all doing this work. And I thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you’d like to express to the folks? Uh, you have the floor, other than that, I thank you for your time.
ANDREA: Yeah, thank you so much for having me, and one last little plug and share out for all our amazing educators that are checking out the podcast, we do have a free program for resources. It’s called our educator advocate program. So if you’re interested in bringing this into your classroom and community, know that we have your back in that and that we don’t want money to be the reason we don’t teach and talk about money. Um, so reach out and we want to work with you.
MANNY: Thank you so much for that. And again, for all that you and your colleagues do at Pockets Change. Thank you, Andrea.
MANNY: Thank you for listening to Hip Hop Can Save America AKA the world’s smartest hip hop podcast. I’m the creator, editor, and your host, Manny Faces. Remember if you’re listening to this on the web, please subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify we’re on all the places. Free subscription. Just set your app to alert to when new episodes drop, and give us a rating and review if you get a chance. Sign up for release notifications and other smart hip hop related content at mannyfaces.substack.com. It’s free, but you can donate to support the work there as well. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook @hiphopadvocacy. You can follow me on Twitter @MannyFaces or on Instagram or Facebook at Manny Faces Official. You can email us your comments, suggestions, complaints, or praise to email@example.com. And once again, on behalf of associate producer, Summer, the rest of our team and all of our wonderful supporters, we thank you for listening, following, supporting rating, reviewing, and sharing. And this has been a Manny Faces media production in association with The Center for Hip-Hop Advocacy We’ll be back soon. Peace. This is a Manny Faces media production.
UNKNOWN: Manny Faces, you sick for this one, sick for this one.
Arielle Nissenblatt is SquadCast’s Community Manager. She’s obsessed with all things podcast-related and is the founder of EarBuds Podcast Collective, a podcast recommendation engine. In her spare time, Arielle enjoys hosting zoom trivia for friends and strangers all over the world and rollerblading.