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P. Thandi Hicks Harper, Ph.D.


Dr. P. Thandi Hicks Harper 3.jpg

In the African tradition, “Nommo” speaks to the power of words … spoken, written, imagined, or thought of for illuminating positive change. In this realm, check out more from Dr. Hicks Harper.

  • Hip-Hop Development Theory (#HipHopDev)
    Ward 5, Washington, District of Columbia Youth Georgia Avenue Family Support Collaborative Christopher Emdin, PhD on #HipHopDev Robert A. Naslund Endowed Chair in Curriculum Theory and Professor of Education at the University of Southern California, and Scholar/Griot in Residence at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Emdin is also a NYT Best-Selling Author. There is no existing theoretical framework of a person who is outside of the culture that you can utilize to capture the essence of the culture without using the Hip-Hop Development framework. Hip-Hop is simply the relatively contemporary words to be able to articulate the use of Hip-Hop Development and its AKUVA ideology. It’s how we've learned from the beginning of time. An absence of approaches that incorporate these [HHD} dimensions [or root elements] utilizing Hip-Hop as the language right now is why we have the issues that we have. -------------- Developed by Hicks Harper, Hip-Hop Development is a bottom-up theory with practical applications for positive youth engagement. The theory was not initially called Hip-Hop Development, until we argued the need for theory that would unapologetically incorporate the word Hip-Hop in its title. This was important because when examining Hip-Hop’s power in the cognitive, social, and emotional domains of development and engagement, name recognition of the source was key. Theoretically, Hip-Hop was due its props in the academic literature. Today, #HipHopDev is recognized as an interdisciplinary sociocultural cognitive theory of change that challenges already existing traditional paradigms and theoretical postulates in education, public health, sociology, psychology and other social sciences. #HipHopDev provides the theoretical context for describing, predicting and explaining behaviors, while providing tools for practical applications to support not only positive youth engagement, but human development, youth development, and community development. The theory’s Hip-Hop root elements (spirituality, harmony, movement, verve, affect, communalism, expressive individualism, orality, and social time perspective) represent pillars for HHD’s effectiveness. The elements collectively support the theory’s remaining… ● Theoretical Principles (look & listen, establish outreach and rapport, secure trust, maintain attention, infuse #HipHopDev core components, and acknowledge & respect), ● Hip-Hop Formal Features (e.g., peer-centered, technological, coded, and the original Hip-Hop arts – DJing, Emceeing, Graffiti, B-Boying/B-Girling and Fashion), and ● Core Components (authenticity, nonexistent adultism, Hip-Hop cultural competence, intergenerationality, cultural congruence, hype-fun-learn). All of which must be ALLOWED, KNOWN, UNDERSTOOD, VALUED, & APPLIED (AKUVAed) for desired outcomes.
  • Master’s Thesis & Doctoral Dissertation
    Hicks Harper, P.T. (1993). Black educators, Black elementary school students, and Black rap music artists on educational entertainment rap music video for pedagogy: A cultural and critical analysis. ProQuest, Publication Number No. 9327427. Hicks, P.T. (1987). The relationship between an oral rhythmic style of communication (Rap music) and learning in the urban preschool. ERIC Number: ED283200.
  • Peer Reviewed Articles & Book Chapters
    Hicks Harper, P.T. (2024). Hip-Hop development theory within hip-hop praxis pedagogy. In L.L. Kelly & Graves, D. (Eds). Pgs. 124-139. International Handbook of Hip Hop Pedagogy. Bloomsbury Academic Press. Hicks Harper, P. T. (2000). Understanding Youth Popular Culture and the Hip-Hop influence. SIECUS Report, 28(5), pp. 19-23. Hicks Harper, P.T. & Emdin, C. (2022). Cultivating science genius through hip-hop development and reality pedagogy. In A. Robins, L. Knibbs, T.N. Ingram, M. Weaver, & A. Hilton (Eds.). Young Gifted and Missing: The Underrepresentation of African American Males in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Disciplines. Diversity in Higher Education, Vol. 25, pgs. 99-113. Emerald Publishing. Hicks Harper, P.T. & Offiong, A. (2020). Hip-Hop Development: The roots 4 positive youth development and engagement in education and health prevention. In E. Adjapong & I. Levy (Eds.). HipHopEd: The Compilation on Hip-Hop Education, Vol.2, pgs. 69-82. Peter Lang. Hicks Harper, P.T., Jones, T.D., Offiong, A. & Jasper, C. (2016, 2019, 2020). Hip-Hop 2 Prevent Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS (H2P): A Youth Development Curriculum 4 Adolescents. Youth Popular Culture Institute Inc. (YPCI) & Strategic Community Services Inc. (SCSI). Clinton/Glenarden: MD Hicks Harper, P. T., Rhodes, W. A., Thomas, D. E., Leary, G., & Quinton, E. S. (2007). Hip-hop development: Bridging the generational divide for youth development. Journal of Youth Development – Bridging Research and Practice, 2(2), 43-55. Levy, I., Hicks Harper, P.T., Spellman, Q., Emdin, C. (2021). The roots beneath the rose: Hip-Hop, counselling and development. Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling, and Psychotherapy, 21(2), 41-53. Turner-Musa, J. O., Rhodes, W. A., Hicks Harper, P. H., & Quinton, S. L. (2009). Hip-hop to prevent substance use and HIV among African American youth: A Preliminary Investigation. Journal Of Drug Education, 38(4), 351-365.
  • Forward Thinking Writings
    Hicks Harper, P.T. (1989, September). Rap music + education: The missing connection in the urban school system. Research Rap Review, 1(1) in LD Productions, Rap Attack’89: Rapping For A Cause Rap Conference Journal. Trump Regency, Atlantic City NJ. Available from the Youth Popular Culture Institute: MD Hicks Harper, P. T (2015). Hip-Hop culture for prevention: From expression to commodity targeting youth. In Advocacy Through Creativity: Oliver Youth Counter-Ad Workshops. Pgs. 10-12. MICA Center for Social Design: Baltimore, MD
  • Books
    Hicks Harper, P. T (2008). Hip-Hop Development: Exploring hip-hop culture as a youth engagement tool for successful community building. Youth Popular Culture Institute, Inc., Clinton, MD Hicks Harper, P. T., Baxley, G.B., & Fisher, L. Y. (1999). The status of black adolescent females in the District of Columbia. DC Community Prevention Partnership, Washington, DC Hicks Harper, P. T., & Harper, B. M. (1999a). Hip-Hop’s influence within youth popular culture: A catalyst for reaching America’s youth with substance abuse prevention messages. Youth Popular Culture Institute: Clinton, MD
  • Spoken Word
    Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Harlem, New York. Norfolk, Virginia. Harrisonburg, Virginia. Kampala, Uganda.

***  Nommo references available at

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