While in Chicago, I ran into a fellow Atlanta University Center sister, Ytasha Womack. We were both at Sonotech ( www.chicago-scene.com/2003photohtm/06-14-03-sonotech-a.htm ), a hot spot in the West Loop of Chi-town. Whenever I run into Ytasha, she is always making things happen in the entertainment and pop culture realm. She just directed The Engagement: My Phamily BBQ 2 starring Bernadette Stanis and Clifton Davis. It was her directorial debut! The film is a romantic comedy about about an African American woman and her Jewish fiance and the family calamities at their engagement party. The project has already been nominated for Best Film and Best Actress at the American Black Film Festival in Miami last July and she's had a successful run at the International Black Harvest Film Festival in Chicago as well. It will be on DVD this spring. Plus, her first book Beats, Rhymes and Life: What We Love and Hate About Hip Hop will be on bookshelves in May. She co edited the anthology with Kenji Jasper and it includes a foreward by Michael Eric Dyson. For more information: www.myspace.com/ytasha or www.loveshorts.com .
Speaking of HIP HOP, I want to shout out another Chicago-based venture that stems from a dear friend Candice Carter, who I met in college when she and I were student scholarship and internship recipients for the National Association of Black Journalists. This project is a ground-breaking, new preschool video called: “IT’S HIP HOP, BABY!” In essence, it's an education tool for children that teaches with classic toddler tunes that play to kid-friendly, hip hop beats, tracks, and melodies. This cutting-edge concept in children’s videos has arrived and hip parents everywhere will want in on this jam session. “It’s Hip Hop, Baby!” encourages children to explore music, language and sounds. Created especially for children ages 2 and older, the catchy music of “It’s Hip Hop, Baby!” can be enjoyed by the whole family. We're talking original songs, as well as the classics we all know and love – “ABCs,” “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” and “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” – but on this video the music has a trendy, dance-worthy beat with a fun, positive message. It promotes the joys of learning ABC’s, animals, body parts, colors and numbers through captivating musical performances that sound like today’s hottest hip hop tracks. “It’s Hip Hop, Baby!” also features real children, not actors, showing kid-friendly movements that help develop listening skills and the ability to follow simple directions. Dr. Lisa Thornton, MD-- pediatrician and host of “Health Corner” on Lifetime Television says, “It’s Hip Hop, Baby!” is 22 minutes of programming I would recommend for any child.”
Through the “It’s Hip Hop, Baby!” interactive website, parents across the country are giving this video an A+ rating. Grace Harris, mother of three children in Chicago , IL says, “My kids are obsessed with “It’s Hip Hop, Baby!” my youngest said “Hip Hop Baby” a least a hundred times yesterday.” Domenica Catelli from Houston Texas writes, “My niece, Emma, who is 2 ½ got her copy and she LOVES IT! The first day she watched the video 4 times in a row! She spins and dances while she’s watching it.” The “It’s Hip Hop, Baby !” DVD is now available exclusively online at www.itshiphopbaby.com .
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