Bigger Than Hip-Hop

May is National Foster Care Month, a month to acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare 
professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections. But, there is 
one Hip Hop Icon, who stays in front and behind the foster care movement, 24/7.  

Hip Hop Culture’s first female emcee, MC Sha-Rock has a "love of humanity" in the sense of caring and nurturing. She is the founder of “Tomorrow’s 
Footprints” an organization committed to educating and preserving the history and fundamentals of the Hip Hop Culture, through music and dance.  
Utilizing her voice through speaking engagements and endorsements the Icon, shares her knowledge to bring awareness, by mentoring and educating 
young men, women, and at risk youth by delivering the importance of choices, education and self- empowerment.

As her foster care efforts continue in 2014 the Icon partnered with her Publicist, Dr. Cassondra “Cookie” Humphrey, CEO of Humphrey House, Inc.; a 
nonprofit organization dedicated to educate, empower and inspire children at risk. As their, Ambassador she will work with the organizations campaign 
to promote foster care awareness on the year- round needs.  As if that wasn’t enough, the Icon, is also at the heart of a joint venture with Learning 
Curve Career Center, which established the MC Sha-Rock Luminary Icon Scholarship Fund.  This scholarship will award selected recipients with the 
opportunity to receive a full tuition for training and certification fess for an Administrative Medical Assistant training program that will prepare students 
to begin a career in healthcare and become nationally certified professionals.

The goal of this collaboration is to identify & provide both existing and former Foster care youth with entry level job skills within a marketable industry; 
to make drastic reduction in the number of unemployed young adults, and to illustrate to the general public and government officials, that the key to 
creating change to our target communities and to those who need it most is by creating key innovative partnerships that will provide meaningful 
resources to people across the nation.  

Although MC Sha- Rock has been noted for such great things on stage, off stage, the Icon shines just as bright. She is a philanthropist, mother, 
mentor, entrepreneur, and author. More importantly, Hip Hops first female MC is a former foster parent.

MC Sha-Rock is a historic element of history, often referred to as the “Luminary Icon” or the” Mother of the Mic”.  As the Hip Hop Cultures first 
influential female emcee; she has built a foundation for other female emcees world-wide. Born in Wilmington, North Carolina her parents decided to 
move the family to New York, City.  

In the early 1970s a musical genre was born in the tough neighborhoods of the South Bronx.  Talented teenagers with plenty of creativity and 
imagination began to develop a new street style; referred to as Hip-Hop. It provided a combination of rhythms and melodies from existing records, 
mixing them up with poetry chronicling life in the 'hood.  Established as a b-girl/break dancer, MC Sha-Rock later elevated to become the  Hip Hop 
Cultures first female emcee” as part of the legendary rap group called The Funky 4.

In 1984, MC Sha-Rock and members of the group made a guest appearance on “Saturday Night Live” hosted by Deborah Harry from the legendary 
rock group “Blondie” making them the first Hip Hop group to appear on national television.  For over a decade she has contributed to the Hip Hop 
movement, her work includes several documentaries for the BBC film organization to include,” Thirty Years of Hip Hop”, which aired on VH1 and “My 
Mic Sounds Nice” which aired on the B.E.T. network. Also, appearing on 20/20 in the “1981” special “Rapping to the Beat” hosted, by Hugh Downs.  In, 
addition to others network, TV shows along with, The Funky 4+1 more.  

The Icon has received dozens of awards and honorees for her contributions to Hip Hop Culture. She’s received the honorary award from the Council 
of the City of New York, for her involvement as a female Pioneer emcee that helped lead the culture of Hip Hop; and “The Women’s of Distinction 
Award”  by The Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem, New York. The Icon has been featured in magazines such as “The Source” (2013) and “The 
Essence” (2013) and several books written by Hip Hop historians and authors, acknowledging her dedication and commitment to the culture; which 
has helped pave the way for females of today’s Hip Hop culture.  An article written by The Rolling Stone Magazine named, The Funky 4+1 More Hip 
Hop Rap single titled “That’s The Joint” as one of the 50 greatest rap songs of all times.

In April 2013, MC Sha-Rock was appointed as a National Advisor for the Cornell University Hip Hop Library Collection; The Icon was recently appointed 
to sit on the Advisory Board for the Universal Hip Hop Museum schedule to open in the Bronx, New York (2017).

MC ShaRock has been labeled by her peers as the most celebrated Hip Hop female Pioneer MC of all time from fellow artists, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, 
Sean “Puffy” Combs, Fab 5 Freddy, MC Lyte and countless Hip Hop lovers around the world who have followed her career throughout her tenure.  
She has collaborated with many international artists, to include artists such as Ice T, Nas, Big Daddy Kane, Celo, Marley Marl, Grand Puba, Melle Mel, 
MC Spice, Malcolm McLaren and Angie Stone.

What inspired you and your husband to become foster parents?

In, 2001 my husband and I, decided to become foster care parents. We’ve always been inspired to shape and mold young minds. We have two 
children of our own, at the time, the oldest had graduated out of high school and the next oldest was about to graduate. We started doing some 
research on foster care which prompted us to explore further. We wanted to give a child a healthy, safe and stable environment that our children were 
accustom to.

What did you find most challenging about the foster care system?

The only challenging aspect that my husband and I noticed was that social workers had a lot to deal with.  We thought it was very challenging for them, 
to be able to place a child in a home on short notice. There were many times that we accepted children/siblings on a temporary basis. However, it was 
an adjustment for both the foster parents and child coming into a different environment that they were not use to. As a parent, you had to be patient 
and allow the child to adjust and settle into the new environment

How old was your son when you adopted him?

Our son was nine years old when he came into our home as a temporary placement. After several months of our son, being in our home, we were told 
by the fostering agency, that he would be placed back into the system, due to his age. They wanted to place him with a family that was considering 
adoption. We had formed a strong bond with our son and did not want him to be moved around anymore, within the system. After asking for 
information on how we could become his legal guardians, we decided that we would be the parents who will adopt him.

Is it easy to balance life, career and family?

During that time my husband had just retired from the military. I was working in the criminal justice field and balancing a career in the music industry.  It 
wasn’t much different than what we were doing already with our children. So we were able to manage and put their needs first. We had to make sure 
that a system was in place to continue with our everyday life. The only difference that we encountered was the accountability for everything pertaining 
to our son. For example, we had to document doctor’s appointments, medications that were given, and be available for social worker visits and 
mandatory classes that were required.

It’s not every day that children get adopted by celebrities, how old was your son when he discovered his mom is a star?

It wasn’t until he was about 16/17 years old and in high school. The kids were never exposed to that part of my life. Although they saw awards and 
certificates of appreciation on the walls, it wasn’t until the young kids his age, begin to explore social media. His friends would say, I saw your mom on 
television or on YouTube.  After receiving the honorary position to sit on the Cornell University Hip Hop Library as an Advisory member, he realized 
who his mom was.