Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's Hip Hop, Baby! featured in Uptown Magazine

Founder and creator of It’s Hip Hop, Baby!, senior producer at Harpo Productions, and Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Children’s Programming

What began as a mother’s method to calm her child is now an instrument for teaching children listening skills and direction comprehension. “If you can help a child with a [developmental] delay learn to follow instructions, you should be able to do that with almost all children,” says Carter, who has a son and a daughter. “It’s Hip Hop, Baby! started out of necessity because my son responded to music.”

Carter’s son, born with a very rare chromosome disorder that causes severe speech, mental, and physical delays, is on a special-needs journey through life. Carter, however, found a way to make it educational and entertaining for him. In 2006, the Chicagoan launched her first child-friendly hip-hop video, filled with fancy footwork and learning fundamentals, called It’s Hip Hop, Baby! Today, her company is an iParenting Media Award winner and produces a multicultural series with a dance video, fitness routines, and basic essentials for learning ABCs, numbers, animals, and body parts for children 1 to 6 years old.

My joke is, “I just started singing, literally, to keep myself from crying.” I was in the kitchen with my son, and he was screaming. He screamed from 8 a.m. until he went to bed, but when I started beat boxing and making beats on the table, he paid attention and stopped.”

He runs and jumps like a typical kid but reminds you of someone with autism.You can’t have a conversation with him because he doesn’t have full language [skills], but he can show you what he wants, and he says a few words. He’s 7 years old now and still watches the DVD because it helps his language. Because of this whole experience, my communication with him is musical. If he spills milk, for example, I make up a song and he repeats it. Music is one of the most effective, proven methods for helping children learn.

The line was created for all children but works well for those with special needs too. I receive letters from moms of children with special needs saying that their child likes to sing, dance, and verbalize [with the DVD]. Plus, the dance [video] works for kids and parents. We filmed three full-length hip-hop routines: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. You’re a little tired afterward, but it gets kids involved and active.

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