Josh the Word is a rapper living in Brooklyn.

Helping Young People
Build Empathy and Community
Using the Music They Love:
Workshops with Rapper and Educator
Joshua Smith

Rapper and educator Joshua Smith leads workshops around the country using rap and r&b music to help students build community across difference and develop social and emotional learning skills such as empathy, healthy communication, and relationship building.

These unique and highly engaging workshops invite high school and college students to use familiar songs and genres as a jumping off point for community building exercises and self reflection. Using popular music, participants find engaging entry points into meaningful conversations about their own lives, as well as issues in their communities.

Teachers, administrators, and camp directors have found that after working with Josh, students are more deeply bonded, better equipped to handle interpersonal conflict, better able to share vulnerably with others, and feel more empowered to affect change in their own lives and in their communities. After attending a workshop, students routinely comment that they feel closer to each other, better equipped to understand each other despite differences, and feel more respected by their peers. Students and teachers often remark that they have never been a part of a workshop anything like this.

Multi day, single day, and single block workshops can be customized to meet the specific needs of your group. To schedule a workshop, email


“I was impressed with how quickly Josh was able to engage our students in meaningful, personal conversations and how willing they were to be vulnerable with his guidance.”

- Kristen Tomanocy, teacher, Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School (Grades 7-12)

Workshop Offerings

The Lyric Garden: Connecting Through Music to Build a Closer Community

Writing Into Empathy: Lyric Writing to Build Connection

“Wait”: Tools for Building Healthier, Sexier Relationships with Consent Culture

“We Gon’ Be Alright”: Music as a Tool for Empowerment

Real Talk: Honest Conversation About Difference