ATLANTA — It's something that connects people all over the world: Hip-hop music.
The beats are catchy and the rhythm is contagious. But, it's the words behind the music that are influential. Musician turned app developer, Roy Scott, realized this after a conversation with his son, Justus.
"Everything changed for me when I noticed my son repeating my music that promoted drugs, violence and some of the wrong things," he said. "Once I seen that, I knew that I couldn’t be that kind of influence on him or anyone else for that matter.”
Changing the message
Scott brainstormed ways to create hip-hop music tailored to young kids like his son. He put his own spin on the most influential music genre in the world creating a positive learning experience for kids.
He created Healthy HipHop. It's an organization that keeps the beat of the music, but changes the messaging. The app allows children to listen to hip hop songs that celebrate diversity and encourage learning through music, movement and mindfulness.
"The vision was always to become an iconic children’s brand. Become a household name," he said. "That was always the vision. I didn’t know what route it was going to take to get there, so it's been quite a few twist or turns.”
At first, Healthy HipHop only focused on music. Then, the brand pivoted into the tech space. The group partners with parents and schools to provide a program that "emphasizes social emotional learning, mental and physical wellness, and academic success."
Bringing culture to the classroom
Now, the platform reaches more than 100,000 kids across the U.S. with about 5,000 active users. Scott said he hopes to partner with school systems across the country to bring culture directly to the classroom.
“We know that hip-hop is the language that our youth speak. Parents are looking for positive alternatives,” he said. “You can still be cool, have swag, but we can focus on education, financial literacy and other things besides playing sports or being in the streets.”
Scott said he hopes this initiative also inspires youth to enjoy learning about all topics, especially culture.
"Through music and through representation and through connecting with kids on their level, you’re able to get them excited about school and integrate them in the system," he said. "We have to take a different approach to reach children.”
Healthy HipHop recently secured a contract with a school in Texas paving the way to expand Scott's vision further.