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Thursday, April 19, 2018

What's BMAP?

Photo by Mikal Amin Lee
By Christian Barclay

BAM Education connects learning with creativity, engaging imagination by encouraging self-expression through in- and after-school programs for students and teachers; workshops; and offerings for audiences of all ages. In a continuing effort to develop arts-based, justice-oriented programs that promote engagement and empowerment for young people, BAM Education created the Black Male Achievement Program (BMAP) in 2013. The program, largely funded by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, was inspired by classroom discussions on media literacy, black male identity, and cultural representation.

BMAP functions as a co-teaching model, with two teaching artists working collaboratively in a classroom. During these twice-weekly sessions, the students develop writing, performance, and critical media literacy skills by mining popular cultural texts. In their studies of cultural representations––and misrepresentations––they begin to develop their own view on black masculinity. “This communication is the primary vehicle for critical investigations of the world we live in,” says Marcus Small, a current BMAP teaching artist. “It’s rare that males of color are able to engage in this dialogue absent of tension, danger, and unhealthy consequences.”

Another central text is The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life, by author and activist Kevin Powell. The collection of essays tackles issues related to political, practical, cultural, and spiritual matters within the African-American community, offering a man-to-man perspective on adversity and triumph.

In addition to writing, performance, and media literacy skills, BMAP aims to foster a sense of brotherhood through ensemble building. “It allows for them to experience options for how they intend to engage,” says Small, noting the variety of ways students participate in artistic skill-building throughout the program––from film criticism to technical production. Schools that have participated include Eagle Academy in Brownsville, Westinghouse High School in downtown Brooklyn, and the Cultural Academy in East Flatbush.

Using BMAP as a model, BAM Education will launch the Young Women’s Initiative later this year. The program will explore feminism, gender identity, and patriarchy, using multidisciplinary art forms to teach and empower. With a focus on literary arts, visual art, and media, the Initiative will encourage student-generated performance work.

Christian Barclay is a publicist at BAM.

© 2018 Brooklyn Academy of Music, Inc. All rights reserved.


  1. This is really nice form of education when you comparing learning with creativity, engaging imagination by encouraging self-expression. I felt subconsciously that when I was younger, but it was a moment, then I'd forgot it. I was comparing music with reading, and my focus helps me to imagine it as a picture in my mind. It wasn't about forth myself to remember it, but it happened due to my desire and inner feeling. I remember it in details, however, it was more than 10 years ago. My confidence grows up that I reading the book in the flow. I didn't catch the time. When I enter the university I hadn't used this method. The most difficult thing for me was writing essays on topics I didn't like, that's why I used to write my essay with education services. Of course, they didn't write my essay in 1 hour, it takes a little more time, but I feel free of stress as I use this time on something that brings me pleasure. After graduation, I came up with the idea that I want to learn how to learn as in the university it was a huge hurdle that makes me at the end of one's rope. I am continuing to learn things in this way. It's fun and makes me feel better. My life becomes smarter and more colorful.

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