What do we want the soundtrack of our kids' childhoods to be?
This is the question Tommy Shepherd and Kaitlin McGaw – founders of justice-oriented kids’ music group Alphabet Rockers – ask themselves over and over. As award-winning artists and parents, they know hip-hop can be a catalyst for conversation, connection and a culture of freedom. That’s why they make music that gets kids thinking about how to be good humans.
Thousands of children in the Bay Area and beyond have become “rock stars” thanks to the workshops and events hosted by the Alphabet Rockers crew. Little girls jump up on stage to learn how the DJ spins. Nine-year-old boys come together across cultures and grab the mic, rapping “If you don’t look like me, will you still have my back? Yup!”
Kids of all cultural backgrounds find a home with Alphabet Rockers, who sing that “these walls can’t stop the love – these walls can’t hold us down.” When they throw an intergenerational dance party, families of all shades come together singing “Let the sunshine in…Shine! In my beautiful skin.”
“Alphabet Rockers is important music … it creates the culture that is the reality of the world we want,” says W. Kamau Bell, TV host and comedian.
Their newest album – “Rise, Shine, #Woke” – tackles big topics like bias and inclusivity. They’re of the feather that the more conversations we can have with kids about, say, racism, the easier it will be to face and transform them in life. The album just dropped and can be found on Amazon.
“Social justice can be taught at the same time kids are learning to tie their shoes and sing the alphabet,” McGaw explains. “Lives depend on all of us rising up and speaking out,” Tommy adds. “This album does that–it brings joy to tough topics.”
Don’t miss their latest music video “Shine“, which was just released.
If you’re down for music as a catalyst for change, you should read our piece on Building Beats.