Fearless Icon Open Doors to Create Stars in the Community

Fearless Icon Open Doors to Create Stars in the Community
Grammy Nominated Hip Hop Legend, Yo Yo Continues to Pay it Forward with School for South L.A. Youth

In the heart of one of L.A.'s cultural landmarks, Leimert Park, I walked into the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center (former home of Lucy Florence Cultural Center) and gazed upon so many bright young faces along with their parents who were equally optimistic with pride. I felt the overwhelming positive energy in the room. I was soon approached by a star with the most amazing smile and awesome windows to the soul. She approached me with her arms wide open as she graciously spoke "Hi, are you here to sign up?"

I could not believe that it was none other than West Coast Hip Hop Icon/ Business Woman Extraordinaire, Yolanda "Yo Yo" Whitaker . I observed as she smiled, greeted and embraced each parent and young person. You could feel her smile glow brighter as each new person stepped into the room. In a discussion with a parent, she stated that she wanted to give the young people in South L.A. an opportunity to share their talent with the world. 
MC Flower sporting her Yo Yo School of Hip Hop Shirt

Yo Yo is diligently letting her light shine while shining the light on the youth of the community with her Hip Hop School called Yo Yo School of Hip Hop. Starting the pilot of the program this past summer, Yo Yo and her staff are gearing up to begin the school's winter session on December 19th. Yo Yo's School of Hip Hop is a community program encompassed with hip hop dance, theatre, beat production, artist development and vocal training classes. Also included are life skills such as confidence, love of self, integrity, mentorship, sense of freedom and one of my favorite's ...fearlessness! These young stars will unleash their creative power throughout their winter break. Staff member, Cynthia K. also known as MC Flower, affirmed that everyone gets to pick his/her own "MC" name at the school and each participant gets a cool school t-shirt. She was sporting her distinctive Yo Yo School of Hip Hop shirt. 

Making her dream of having a school a reality, Yo Yo put her plan together, wrote it down, started acting on it and the doors began to open. "When you show up, God shows out," she stated, "You have to come full circle with the power of self." 

Ashley and Yo Yo all smiles

Throughout her years as a hip hop artist, actress, television host, radio personality, motivational speaker and more, Yo Yo has always gave back with empowerment and inspiration dating back to 1991 when she released her debut album " Make Way for the Motherlode" while igniting Intelligent Black Women's Coalition (IBWC). Later she along with another hip hop female legend, MC Lyte began the Let Your Light Shine Foundation.

" I had to get real with myself. I had to go through stages to get here. It is hard to be powerful with someone else when you don't understand your own power. By giving what I want, I am also empowering myself."

She gave attributes to the powerful women that she has encountered on her journey including the phenomenal Oprah Winfrey. She said, "When I met Oprah, I realized how that I did not have to be pretentious, I could simply be...me."

There is still more to come from this Black Pearl. Yo Yo has her plate full with several projects including collaborating with other artists on some new music, one woman show which has the same title of her debut album Make Way for the Motherlode: Yo Yo's One Woman Show and much more including running for congress. The Motherlode has arrived and is here to stay and she is bringing the next generation of stars with her.

For more information on Yo Yo's School of Hip Hop, go to www.yoyoschoolofhiphop.com.


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