FAQs (About Explicit Content)


(Frequently Asked Questions)

FAQ: Doesn’t Hip Hop/rap music have too much profanity to play for youth?

Hip Hop culture in general has been shown to a positive force in the lives of many youth, with particular cultural meaning for youth of color. Rap music, a component of Hip Hop culture, is critically acclaimed for both its empowering features and its high risk messages of violence, misogyny and glorification of substance use. FlowStory, PLLC (“FlowStory”) anchors much of its research in Hip Hop culture, recognizing the substantial research about what empowers, what is risky, and what is culturally relevant for today’s youth. The objective with all youth is help young people navigate empowering and risky elements of today’s music culture with research-based strategies and tools that promote health and well-being.

FAQ: Will playing explicit language/themes endorse youth adoption of these attitudes and language?

The language, attitudes, behaviors and values inferred from the music, either explicit or implicit, are not endorsed or promoted by FlowStory. All language, attitudes, behaviors and values inferred are solely for critical analysis and self-reflection, to help meet educational, developmental, and mental health objectives.

Music is also used as a prompt for FlowStory’s leadership team for the development of new educational materials, therapeutic interventions, and youth development activities with the explicit objectives of improving confidence, character, connection, caring, competence, sense of community, and engaged citizenship for youth and young adults. The material is promoted to adult professionals to help them develop their own unique materials, interventions, and activities using the FlowStory’s Better Principle and the Individual and Community Empowerment Framework.

FAQ: Why are you promoting Hip Hop and rap music when I do not even like this music?

FlowStory’s promoted “Mixtapes,” or compilations of songs geared to inspire individual and group work, are used in a similar capacity to books/textbooks; as prompts for discussion and further knowledge-building. Great care is used in the selection of materials, similar to the development of case examples in any professional textbook. Use of materials are considered especially appropriate for working with individuals that express an interest in rap music as one of their top 2 favorite genres of music. Theses compilations can be a good starting point for increasing cultural competence and for developing helping strategies. If materials are to be used for helping strategies (parenting, education, therapy, youth development activities), the ICE Inventory is a useful tool to screen for youth’s Hip Hop/rap music interest. At the same time, all FlowStory materials can be adopted for use across all music genres (simply omit the word rap in front of music as appropriate, or contact FlowStory for clean copies of alternative materials).

FAQ: What should I do when I just don’t feel comfortable listening to or playing explicit language?

Explicit language and content are similarly present across many types of entertainment and other genres of music. However, FlowStory does recognize existing research showing a trend of increasing high-risk content and favorable attitudes toward substance use in “mainstream” and commercially successful rap music over the last three decades. Therefore, all material suggested has a specific theoretical grounding for use, and is recommended for use with FlowStory tools of analysis.

Ultimately, it is up to you as an adult or professional to determine the suitability of material for your audiences. Parents and adults professionals should screen all materials to determine which music prompts are most appropriate for their audience and their health and well-being objectives.

Please contact Dr. Travis with any questions: raptjr@gmail.com


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