Yo-Yo, whose real name is Yolanda Whitaker, is a rapper and songwriter who used her music to advocate for female empowerment. Now she has a show on aspireTV called “Downright Delicious With Yo-Yo,” where she shares her love of cooking with family, friends and other female rap pioneers.
“Downright Delicious With Yo Yo,” what inspired the show?
“Downright Delicious” is a cooking show with me on aspireTV. I am cooking up some amazing dishes, such as lobster rolls and steak, salmon cakes, and penne pasta. We are in there having a good time, I’m just bringing the cameras in my kitchen, doing what I love to do. I love to cook. My family is in the kitchen with me. My mother and my daughters are in the kitchen. We have the legendary Roxanne Shanté and Big Bub who sang on “Black Pearl.” We have some great conversations, cocktails and food every Tuesday.
When did you fall in love with cooking?
I’ve always loved cooking, but I like to tell the producer Rochelle that cooking saved me. Being a young artist, which I call a label baby just being 17 years old, I’ve traveled my entire life. There were times I never saw a television show or anything I was premiered on or debuted on. I didn’t get a chance to see it because I was working. I think in my transition within the 15 years I’ve always had special dishes that my family and friends would call me to say make this or make that. When life started calming down and I didn’t know where to go, I felt like it was me trying to take back my life by pouring into my home and my children. [The] foundation was cooking. Creating this oyster steak that I make on the show became a family and friend favorite because you know I’ve learned how to make the juicy steak and make it my own in my home. For me, when I want to get separate myself from the house, when I don’t want to talk to anybody, or when I want everybody to leave me the h— alone, I go to the kitchen. I go to the market and these recipes send me down aisles that I’ve never been down in my entire life. Now I’m sampling different dishes and making them my own.
What does hip-hop turning 50 mean to you?
It’s so good to see women having a seat at the table. It’s so good to see all of the regions blended. Before it was so much of, “This is an East Coast [thing], we started this it’s all about us.” I think seeing the South rise and seeing the West Coast get their recognition, and to see all of the different regions and those who have paved the way [is good]. To see Shaw-Rock, Roxanne Shanté, and The Sequence’s names brought up and their voices heard during the conversation means everything because it’s about d— time.