Browse Tag

syreeta gates

6 mins read

Yo Stay Hungry is Serving Culinary Competition’s for The Culture

Yo Stay Hungry is a live culinary competition bridging hip hop with food and beverage. It began in 2015 as a citywide culinary competition for high school students in Queens, NY.

We caught up with founder, Syreeta Gates to find out more about how she and her team are using food and hip hop to educate and inspire.

Yo Stay Hungry founder, Syreeta Gates – (photo cred: Sho Shots)

What inspired you to create Yo Stay Hungry?

For some context I actually wanted to be a chef in high school (that’s what it says in my yearbook). In HS I was baking and selling cakes, lasagna and all of that. So, some years later I googled hip hop and food and the only thing that appeared was a few articles that had lyrics mentioning food and beverage.

I was like wait a minute, something is missing. I was rocking in August Martin HS at the time and they had a Culinary Academy, so the bells went off. What’s hip hop without beef? BOOM! Let’s do a culinary competition.

photo cred: Wayne Washington


How would you describe your relationship with hip hop?

My boy Yahdon Israel said hip hop is my first language. I really dig that! My relationship with hip hop is rooted in my relationship specifically with my uncles and big cousins. More specifically, how it happened was really the brainchild of stylist extraordinaire’s Misa Hylton and Groovey Lou.

In the late 90’s, one of my uncles had a cream SC 400 Lexus with gold bbs’s. He and my cousin walked into my grandma’s house as I was sitting on the step and I was absolutely blown away. Mind you, I was only about 10 years old.

My uncle had on a Versace silk shirt with the matching shades and my cousin had on a DKNY body suit. I had no clue was hip hop was, one thing I was clear of was that whatever it was I wanted to be apart of it.

yo stay hungry
photo cred: Wayne Washington

How do you select what chefs are involved with the project?

We rock though referral, a lot of chefs have been reaching out to us to participate, so that’s been great. We have a system around how we choose chefs to rock, but we are thankful they see what we are doing and want to be apart of it. 

The 2019 “Biggie Day” Chefs

What does the phrase “Everybody eats” mean to you?

It means there’s enough room for everybody at the table. “Everybody Eats” is one of our beliefs at Yo Stay Hungry. The phrase represents the idea that through teamwork everyone is taken care of. #teamUS Everybody Eats is also from the classic 2002 drama “Paid In Full”, you know we have to keep it consistent. 

What is your vision for YSH?

Take over the world LOL! Nah, more specifically, Yo Stay Hungry will take over people’s kitchens. We will put on for the culture and preserve the culture in a way that’s never been done before. We have the adult competitions launching Fall 2019 which I am really excited about.

The 2019 “Biggie Day” Judges

Why a food and hip hop business? 

We live in a world where hip hop is pop culture. I don’t believe that Yo Stay Hungry could have existed before my generation. Folks like Jay Z, Queen Latifah, Sylvia Robinson, and Puff and the like really set the stage around what’s possible business wise in the culture.

photo cred: Wayne Washington

They created TV/film opportunities, record labels, make up endorsements, liquor companies, streaming services, and the like. Throughout the entire genre of music one thing that has been consistent is food and beverage.

yo stay hungry
photo cred: Wayne Washington

With Yo Stay Hungry we have an opportunity to build a business for the culture, literally. We aren’t looking at it from the outside looking in. The team is thinking what would we be interested in, what would we want to do, and from that we create a business model that’s scalable.


-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG@thebusyafrican)
Feature Image: The Yo Stay Hungry Team (photo cred: Sho Shots)
4 mins read

Hip Hop Journalists Get The Spotlight in a One of a Kind Documentary

The birth of the hip hop industry can be traced back to the insights and lenses of journalists whose names you may or may not know. But, who tells the story of these journalist who are telling everyone else’s story?

The documentary, Write On! The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers does. We caught up with Syreeta Gates, the director of the project to learn more.

Director, Syreeta Gates

SB: What makes this documentary different from any other documentary about hip-hop?

SG: In hip-hop history there has yet to be a standalone documentary or docu-series about the journalists that have played a major role in hip-hop culture.

Michael Gonzales

If it weren’t for these journalists, what we think and know about hip-hop music and its legends would probably not exist.

Lauryn Hill graces the first (ever) issue of Honey Magazine

Imagine what entertainment would be like if during the 80s and 90s, when people didn’t think hip-hop was going to last and there was no internet, these people didn’t stop to use their own pens and pads to document history.

Writer Minya “Miss Info” Oh

Many of the artists we know and love got record deals because of reviews these wordsmiths penned in the pages of magazines.

Rob Marriott

And these storytellers and cultural historians are the reasons classic albums and artists were crowned in the first place. It’s about damn time we pay homage and acknowledge their hard work and role in shaping the culture.

SB: Why is it important to know the journalists’ side of hip-hop history?

SG: Because first and foremost a lot of these journalists were there. They were in the room when greats were discovered, records were cut, deals were signed and history was made.

It’s also important to hear from them because there are always two sides to every story.  For two long the story has been one-sided, told from the view of the artist.

Writers Danyel Smith + Syreeta Gates + Elliott Wilson

But what about the people who were there to document their lives and journey? What did hip-hop history look like from their point of view?

Bönz Malone

Their stories have gone untold for too long, and when you were the go-to for facts decades before Google, your story automatically needs to be told.

SB: Why are you crowdfunding this project?

SG: I’m crowdfunding this project because similar to Hip-Hop we all we got. It’s like when Jay-Z went to Def Jam with $100,000 on the table to secure the bag, we’ve done as much as we can do at this point and need to partner with the people to make it happen.

Margeaux Watson

People who see the vision and have deemed this particular story important. And who are we to not give the people what they want?!

You can support this project via their Kickstarter