February 12, 2015


By Kenneth D. Miller 

Assistant Managing Editor




The days of Yolanda ‘Yo-Yo’ Whitaker as a childhood superstar and female rap icon have given way to a broader and more meaningful road to advocating on behalf of the Black culture for peace and unity as she spearheads a powerful entertainment contingent for the historical February 21st MARCH in Los Angeles.


“First I want to say that I was honored when Mr. [Danny] Bakewell Sr. reached out to me to be involved in this historical demonstration,” Whitaker told the Sentinel in an exclusive interview.


She immediately reached out to star rap artist Nas who Whitaker says has been doing some incredible work in the city and is ecstatic about getting involved and helping to bring about unity to the city of Los Angeles.


Additionally she has contacted The Game, whom she indicated has been trying hard to unify Blacks in urban neighborhoods in city of Los Angeles and the state of California.


“[The Game] understands who he is as a young man and he’s the young prince of the city who carries a lot of depth and weight with young Black males who want a better life for themselves,” she said.


Other entertainers Whitaker has contacted include Raheem DaVaughn, Rahsaan Patterson, Hugh Crouch, the nephew of the late Andre Crouch, Chaka Khan, Toni Braxton, Robin Yvette Allen aka The Lady of Rage, Lana Michele Moorer aka MC Lyte.


“These are all individuals who are concerned about our children’s education and unification. There are so many people who are concerned about Los Angeles and are ready to stand together for one common cause,” Whitaker explained.


Whitaker says that one cause is UNITY, because unity is lacking and the more that Blacks stick together the more Blacks will understand their role in society.


“For my participation I hope to bring awareness to those who are in leadership positions who are not wise enough to understand the position they have been placed in,” she continued.


“Being a child superstar and icon, coming up I did not understand my role and it was not my responsibility to raise someone else child, but I can’t ignore someone else’s child.


“In Los Angeles we are not culturally connected like Oakland, New York, but through Hip Hop I have become more culturally connected and I understand my African heritage and what it means to unify, and I am always the leader whether I am Yo-Yo the rapper or Yolanda the next door neighbor, I always have a responsibility.”


Whitaker’s first appeared as a guest on Ice Cube's AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted album in 1990, on the track "It's a Man's World." Cube returned the favor by appearing on "You Can't Play with My Yo-Yo," which was on her 1991 debut album, Make Way for the Motherlode.


Her follow-up in 1992, Black Pearl was well received by critics, partly because of its focus on positive messages and uplifting themes that contrasted the popular gangsta rap style.


In 2008, her single "Can't Play With My Yo-Yo" was ranked number among VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs. She has performed with MC Lyte, the Lady of Rage, and Salt-n-Peppa at the BET Hip Hop Awards.


She is currently running the Youth program "YoYo's School of Hip-Hop."


She also appeared in the 1991 film Boyz n the Hood, 1993's Menace II Society and other urban-oriented films; had a recurring role on the television show Martin as Keylolo, the sidekick of comedian Martin Lawrence's alter ego Sheneneh; and appeared on other TV shows, including Fox network's New York Undercover. She has also made many cameo appearances, including the music video for Missy Elliott's "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)". She has also appeared in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, as a voice actor.

Category: Community