A meeting YoYo had in 1994 enables her to help enrich children’s lives today. It was more than a decade ago that the pioneering Los Angeles rapper spoke before Congress on behalf of rap. While in Washington, she met U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who represents California’s 35th Congressional District, which includes YoYo’s native South Central Los Angeles.
Now, with the help of Representative Waters’ Community Build program, YoYo is launching “YoYo’s School Of Hip Hop,” a seven-week summer program designed to teach 100 low-income children hip-hop dance and how to write raps. The program launches July 6 and will be held Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm. It also includes lunch.
Learn How To Rap and Dance
“It’s an enrichment program,” YoYo says. “It’s helping them tap into their creative side. When they go back to school, I would love for them to have a better understanding of the rhyme process, the writing process. I want them to understand what components are necessary and to be more creative when they’re writing. The more creative you are and the more elements you know, you can tap into that.”
They will also be taught how powerful rhymes are by examining the work of Run-DMC, Eminem and others.
During the first week of school, students will learn the history of hip-hop culture. They will also be taught how powerful rhymes are by examining the work of Run-DMC, Eminem and others.
“A lot of people just rhyme,” YoYo says, “but it’s those that tell a great story that really holds the audience’s attention.”
Students will be shown the importance of a song’s title, subject and story. They’ll also learn rhyme patterns.
YoYo is a rotating instructor at the school, which features four teachers and 12 volunteers. There will also be surprise celebrities who will help students in both the dance and writing classes.
It’s a Man’s World
A veteran rhymer who debuted in 1990 on Ice Cube’s “It’s A Man’s World," YoYo has long been an advocate of high-quality music and education. Such singles as “You Can’t Play With My Yo-Yo” and “The Bonnie And Clyde Theme” established her as a no-nonsense rapper who demanded and commanded respect. She also launched the IBWC (Intelligent Black Women’s Coalition) in the early 1990s and The Let Your Light Shine Youth Foundation with MC Lyte. More recently, YoYo was a judge on 2008’s “Miss Rap Supreme” television show.
Now, YoYo is using her school as the foundation for what she hopes to be a bona fide after school program. Eventually, she would like to see an awning that reads “YoYo’s School Of Hip Hop” on her own building.
But she knows it starts with the success of this program, which is why she made writing a key component of the curriculum.
“It’s the fundamentals,” YoYo says. “It’s the key to life. Writing helps you talk. It gets you into any door you want to go into.”
For more information on “YoYo’s School Of Hip Hop,” call 323-789-9950 or visit “YoYo’s School Of Hip Hop” on Facebook.
For more from Soren Baker follow him on Twitter: @SorenBaker.