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    This originally appeared in the 2019 Best of Louisville issue of Louisville Magazine. 
     

    NyRee Clayton-Taylor was named the 2019 Kentucky elementary teacher of the year for her creative-writing classes at Wheatley Elementary in the California neighborhood. One of her former students, 13-year-old DaVonn Pitney, recently performed with the Louisville Orchestra. The local musician Jecorey “1200” Arthur made it happen. “It was amazing,” Clayton-Taylor says. “He has helped my students by always inviting them to perform on any stage he performs on.” DaVonn, who will be in eighth grade at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, attends Clayton-Taylor’s iRAP program, which uses hip-hop to teach kids about their history and themselves. DaVonn’s part of a group called Young Prodigies, whose latest song is titled “Black History Cypher.”

    We asked DaVonn to pen a poem about Arthur, who’s also the music educator at Louisville Public Media.

     

    Over 3,000 kids screaming out my rap name, “Stay Blessed, Stay Blessed, Stay Blessed!”

    3 days, back-to-back, on the stage of Whitney Hall

    The Louisville Orchestra playing in harmony behind me

    Under the control of their sheet music and Conductor Teddy with his baton

    There I stood,

    ME

    It was my moment and my time had come.

    In my soul, my music

    In my mind, my lyrics

    In my heart, the words of Jecorey Arthur reminded me of my greatness

    As my mouth opened, each syllable hugged the tip of my tongue

    As the beat of the drums guided my feet to move in a back and forth motion across the stage

    For 6 weeks

    Practice

    For 6 weeks

    Lyrics

    For 6 weeks

    Feedback

    For 6 weeks

    Jecorey was my rubric

    Working with me to ensure

    Perfection

    Working with me to ensure

    Resilience

    And most importantly, working with me to ensure that I had

    The DRIP!

    The Drip, that flavor that unleashes the lyricism that allows it to flow from heart to heart

    Using only one lethal weapon —

    The Beat

    For this, I would like to thank Jecorey Arthur.

     

    This originally appeared in the 2019 Best of Louisville issue of Louisville Magazine. Read more.

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    Illustration by Shae Goodlett, shaedraws.com

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