During a recent episode of “Breaking Down Bars,” Audrianna Williams and Callie Evans, who are teachers at Monroe Comprehensive High School in Albany, Georgia, shared the inspiration behind their viral back-to-school rap song.
What was the inspiration for the back-to-school rap that remixes Jack Harlow’s “What’s Poppin’ “?
Audrianna Williams: During my first year of teaching, there was a teacher’s challenge to rap over the beat for “Bodak Yellow.” I decided to hop on and I was like, ‘OK, I actually think I’m actually pretty good at his rapping thing.’ So then the end of the school year came around, and I just want to celebrate my first year teaching so I decided to come up with a rap just in my first year. And when I posted it, I got so much love and shares and comments. So I decided to keep doing it. Mrs. Callie Evans joined me the following year. Then I asked her if she’d be willing to do a back-to-school version with me and she said yes.
Callie Evans: We’re sorority sisters, we’re both members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. When she asked me to do it, I was nervous but I wanted to support my sister. I wanted to make sure that my students enjoy me as a teacher and enjoy learning so I was ready to hop on board no matter how scared I was.
What was the process like for shooting the video?
AW: We had three days to write our raps and then we came together to practice in front of each other. And then that following day, we brought it to our cheerleaders at practice. The Monroe High cheerleaders made up a dance and taught us. The next day we recorded it in the studio with Mario Meadows at Platinum Sound Records. The next day, Jameel Overstreet shot and directed the video. And we posted the video one day before school started.
What words of advice do you have for teachers and students dealing with this pandemic as schools reopen across the nation?
CE: I definitely want to just say, lean on all your peers, on your family or friends. We’re all going through the same thing. Albany, Georgia, is a very small city, a lot of our students, teachers, everyone that we really come in contact with, we’re affected by COVID-19. I just think that it’s important for us to be there for each other.
AW: Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud. And that is mostly what we decided to do. People were dying, people [were] getting sick and we decided to do something to put a smile on people’s faces. Even though we might be going through something, I don’t have to show you what I’m going through. So [I] continuously [try to be] a rainbow [in] someone else’s cloud and I’m glad I was able to do that for the world.
View the interview on the next page.