MC Lyte has been able to affect the lives of many young women and men with her foundation. She also works to empower women around the globe. We were able to touch on those subjects and more in this second part of our interview with this hip hop legend.
How have you managed to maneuver within this industry and stay relevant beyond the rapping?
I remember my old manager saying to me that we have to create a demand for MC Lyte that stands beyond your music or stands beyond having to have a number 1 or top 10 hit. There I began to think of all the things I love to do, the things that I wanted to do prior to being an MC. I wanted to speak. I listened to radio, I listened to Carol Ford on New York radio and I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to act when I saw Facts of Life. I think the preparation for anyone who wants to diversify its about preparing yourself for all those other things you want to do. I went to acting class, I went to voice over sessions where I could master the craft or at least present the best that I could do.
Did you get some roller skates? Were you Tootie or Blair?
I was definitely Tootie, and yes I got the roller skates.
You are doing a retreat called W.E.A.L.T.H. Experience in January 2016. Can you tell us a little about it, the reason for it and who will be in attendance?
The wealth experience is an extension and an expansion of what we do throughout the year. We have done it at “Women Wealth and Relationship”, ‘The BET Experience, Soul Train, Circle of Sisters and Essence. We have been able to impact many communities with what we have been able to do with that particular forum. The President and CEO of Hip Hop Sisters Foundation Lynn Richardson is a financial professional by trade, and it just so happens that now that she went from working with Russell Simmons and we get to have her here at Hip Hop Sisters. This annual event is something that she used to do on her own, so what she has done is combined it with Hip Hop Sisters and its great. Now we are able to bring it to the masses. The first pop off is January 2-5 in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. We will do women’s wealth and relationships every year, but now we are approaching it from a holistic place, not just finances. The acronym is W.E.A.L.T.H and what it stands for is Womanhood, Expansion, Assets, Love Theology and Health. We are going to be in full effect having very intimate sessions with women who are looking to really expand and change their lives during this 3-day woman’s retreat. I should say men are invited. Women will wind up bringing their husband, their brothers and we will have break out sessions for men, but this is really about women being able to kick off 2016 with a bang. We will have sessions, workshops and themed events that will help women master their personal lives, and business lives and come out with financial objectives that will help them, feel connected to what it is they do now but in a better way for 2016. We are excited and we are about empowering women. Kelly Price will be in the house, Faith Evans is coming, we have an offer out to Ledisi. There are couple of huge entities that we hope to have we are just working out the deals now. Everybody need to come on down. wealthexperience.info is where you can register.
That sounds awesome. Is this event an extension of The Hip Hop Sisters Network?
It definitely is. It is all foundation work. In the end, we hope to raise more money to be able to send even more people to school. As a foundation, we have sent four women to further their education, each one of them receiving $100K to attend the University of Wisconsin Madison. We have also given out three $50K scholarships to men attending HCBUs, the first one being Dillard University. That is part of our #EducateOurMen initiative. They start school in September.
You and Common have a close working relationship. Do you plan on working on some more music?
That would be amazing for us to actually do a full album together. I have to get with him to see how we can make that happen. He was nice enough to bless me on Dear John, that ended up being the song for our Educate Our Men initiative. In the video we were able to teach through the visual for the song.
Do you have any words for our readers with regard to following their dreams?
I would say surround yourself with people who are like minded, people who are going somewhere, people who have somewhere to go, people who have a schedule. Those people who don’t have a schedule will eat up your time like they eat up and waste their own. Be careful about the people you surround yourself with and who you give your time to. Be accountable to your friends and have your friends be accountable to you, so this way if you have a dream and you have goals they are going to help push you and motivate you in that direction and you should do the same for them.
To learn more about Lyte, click the link to her website http://www.mclytenow.com/