In the song Wings, rapper, Macklemore, shares a childhood story about his fascination with name brand shoes—namely, Air Jordans and Addidas. He explains that he bought into the hype of a brand and logo. He believed that the shoes made him cool; he wanted to fit in, and he did. He guarded his shoes and was careful not to crease them when he walked. He felt that he was on top of the world because he wore a pair of shoes that most students, his peers, could not afford. Eventually his best friend was murdered for the same shoes he, Macklemore, valued. By the end of the song, Macklemore explains how he, like many others, was brain washed into believing in the value of Air Jordans and Adidas.

In my after school clubs and Tier 2 groups, I have used this song to shed light on the social emotional learning competency, “social awareness.” Over the past years, there has been many homicides surrounding Air Jordan shoes. The song Wings could be used in Tier 2 groups to spark engaging discussion surrounding

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Social Awareness
  3. Choices
  4. Mindset
  5. Responsible Decision Making

Paradigm Shifts

I have used this song to introduce the concept of “paradigms and paradigm shifts” with a group of high school students.

Prior to showing the video, introduce the concept of paradigms and paradigm shifts. After defining paradigms, have a brief discussion about the importance of paradigms and how we see the world through paradigms.


  • Why are paradigms so important?
  • How do we create paradigms?
  • How do we change paradigms?

Discussion on how some youth value name brand clothes and name brand shoes:

  • How do you feel about name brand clothing and shoes?
  • How do you feel about Air Jordans?
  • Why do you think people steal and kill over these shoes?
  • What do you think their paradigms are about Air Jordans?

Video Discussion Questions:

  • What was Macklemore’s views of Jordans at the start of the video/song?
  • What were his paradigms or views at the end of the video
  •  What did he hope that the shoes would do for him?
  • How do you think the shoes made him feel at the start of the video?
    • How did his views shift throughout the video?
    • What caused his views to shift?
  • How do you feel about Air Jordans and other name brand shoes?
  • Did this video change the way you consider name brand shoes?
  • Is it important that you wear name brand shoes? Why or Why not?