Famous rap artist and actor Ice T spent the day at York Prep on Wednesday, October 19, teaching the making and performance of rap music to members of our Lower School.
During his career as a rap star, Ice T has written a book on the problems facing minority youth and lectured at Harvard University. He currently appears as a series regular, Detective Fin Tutuola, on the TV show “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.”
Arriving at York Prep at 8:00 a.m. in his Bentley, Ice T proceeded to the gym where he talked to the assembled 6th grade. He then chose six 6th graders and, throughout the morning and part of the afternoon, he helped them understand the construction of a rap song and how to present it. The students wrote their own rap songs and sang them to the other students in the class.
At about 2:00 p.m. Ice T started the same process with a class of 7th and 8th graders. First, he spoke to the whole group; then he took six students from the two grades to repeat the education he had given the 6th graders. That class ended with their presentations at about 7:30 in the evening. Ice T left at 8:00 p.m. to shoot a segment of “Law and Order: SVU.”
Ice T was an excellent teacher. Most of us who saw part of the classes were impressed by his energy, warmth, and patience. He was encouraging, honest, and direct. “I have never used drugs and never had a tattoo,” he told the students. The classes, which focused on the positive aspects of rap music, were an experience none of the students will forget. “Ice T was really cool and a really good teacher,” said 6th grader Marissa. “We got to choose outfits depending on what our rap was about, and then we got to keep the outfits.” Ice T really connected with the students, and the results—in terms of the students’ creations—were very impressive.
Ice T is arranging for each student to receive a copy of the filmed version of his/her final efforts. Although the whole process was recorded, none of the film shot at York Prep will appear on TV but will solely be used internally at cable channel VH1 to promote Ice T as the best possible teacher for a future “School of Rock” program.
We thought Ice T was terrific and wish him every success in his aspiration to have his own educational program.