Hip-Hop pioneer MC Lyte understands the responsibility of being a legend. She kicked open the door for women in Hip-Hop when the genre was still considered a passing fad and has remained a staple in the game for the last quarter century. Despite continuing to blaze her own trail in the entertainment business, she is also readying the next generation of women to take over the world long after she’s gone. MC Lyte, through her philanthropic work, has encouraged young women to unlock their power, self-esteem, and individuality through the arts.
While the empowerment of young women has always been a cause for the “Paper Thin” MC, this Black History Month, she’s linked up with AT&T’s 28 Days campaign. Lyte, along with Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross and tech journalist Wayne Sutton, will be leading a small team of people to support the mission of three respective charities. MC Lyte is leading a team for the WriteGirl organization. The organization serves about 350 young girls and helps tap into the potential through poetry and creative writing.
MC Lyte was kind enough to talk to The Urban Daily about her involvement in AT&T’s Black History Month program 28 Days, whether or not Hip-Hop deserves its own month to reflect on its own history, and how she would like to be remembered. Sit at the feet of one of Hip-Hop’s elders and soak up the wisdom.
TUD: Can you explain a little about what the AT&T 28 Days campaign is?
ML: AT&T 28 Days is all about accountability really. I love what it is they’ve put into place this particular 2014. I was involved last year with their speaker series and it allowed me the opportunity to have a platform in Atlanta to speak during the history of black folks and celebration of Black America and beyond.
This year they chose to do something that would put some people into the community and make a new history. So it’s all about acknowledging the history that has happened, that has brought us to this point, but it’s also about blazing new trails and making history in this moment. So I get this beautiful team of people who are going to go out there and raise awareness and funds for an organization called WriteGirl that’s located in the Los Angeles area.
Why did you choose to work with WriteGirl instead of any other charity?
It speaks to my heart because I am a writer and it allowed the opportunity for about 350 young girls to continue what it is that they love to do which is opening their minds, their imaginations, their individuality all given on paper through poetry and creative writing. So I’m happy to be a participant his year in the AT&T 28 Days campaign.
Do you feel that Black people knowing their history is more important now than ever before?
I think to know Black history, period, is important. I actually went to a [kamusi] it actually means Black school in Swahili. There, it was extremely important to know our history and to study and want to know it. I think that at a very early age, if you are taught there is more to know about yourself, you begin to instill this insatiable need to know more about where it is you came from. The need has always been there. The need just gets [tighter] as time goes on because we get so far from the years of struggle, slavery, and everything that has catapulted us into who we are today.