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Black Youth Project


The Black Youth Project was a national research project launched in 2003 that examined the attitudes, resources, and culture of African American youth ages 15 to 25, exploring how these factors and others influence their decision-making, norms, and behavior in critical domains such as sex, health, and politics. Understanding the need to make this data available to a wider constituency beyond the academy Professor Cathy Cohen, the Black Youth Project’s principle investigator, decided to create an online hub for Black youth where scholars, educators, community activist, youth allies, and youth could access the study’s research summaries as well as have access to a plethora of resources concerning the empowerment and development of black youth.

The Black Youth Project’s website is a cyber-resource center for black youth and all those who are committed to enriching the lives of black youth. Within the pages of this website, visitors can access research summaries, read blogs about and by black youth, search an extensive rap database, access black youth social justice organizations, and download social justice curricula to teach. Arguably more than any other subgroup of Americans, African American youth reflect the challenges of inclusion and empowerment in the post–civil rights period as well as the challenges of web access and digital spaces to call their own. Therefore, the intended purpose of this website is to generate new media information, blogs, art, conversations, webinars, and data that will expand the human and social capital of young African Americans, facilitating their general empowerment through highlighting their voices and experiences.

The major features of the Black Youth Project’s website are:

  • Black Youth Project’s Research Summaries: This project employs a multi-methodological research design, including a new survey of young people ages 15 to 25. The new survey data is paired with in-depth interviews with African-American youth and content analysis of rap music.
  • The Rap Lyric Database: Given one of the central findings in the study that African American youth listen to hip hop music every day, the Rap Lyric Database is a searchable cyber storehouse allows scholars, youth, cultural workers, and teachers to search through lyrics of Billboard Music’s top rap songs from 1990 to February 2009 in order to create content for youth to think critically about rap and hip hop.
  • The Black Youth Project Curriculum: The Black Youth Project’s Curriculum Workshop consists of educators, social workers, community activists, and artists creating innovative student-centered curriculum from the Black Youth Project’s data set.
  • The Black Youth Project’s Blog: These blogs represent the voices and attitudes of young African Americans who are in their late teens and twenties. The content of these blogs consist of conversations about popular culture, current news about politics, testimonials and narratives about growing up being black, gay, straight, man, woman, transgendered, working class, middle class, and differently abled in the US.
  • Black Youth Create: This page encourages black youth to create and submit performance pieces, poetry, prose, and visual art to talk about what it means to be black youth in America.
  • Black Youth in the News: This page is a comprehensive archive of news stories written about black youth in the US beginning with June 2009 to the present.