2019 Blog Posts, Art & Entertainment, Culture, Feature Story

Dilla Youth Day 2019 Youth Performance Show Celebrates Young Performing Artists

On Sunday (2/10), Travis and I took the kids to watch the Youth Performances at Dilla Youth Day.

Founded by Piper Carter, Dilla Youth Day celebrated its 8th year this past Sunday. The annual youth event was held for the fourth year in a row at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

“The reason I created the event is to teach the legacy of J Dilla to the next generation. Another reason I wanted to create an event around that is because many times when we try to learn about people in our history, it’s not really brought to us in an interesting way. So I really wanted to create an event around being interactive and hands-on. Part of the Dilla legacy is really understanding how valuable and viable technology is to hip hop as a genre. And how viable and valuable technology is to us today.”

Piper Carter, Dilla Youth Day Founder, Community Organizer, & Photographer as heard on CJAM 99.1 FM in a 2015 interview with Music Director Murad Erzinclioglu. You can listen to the full interview HERE.
Follow Piper on Instagram HERE.
Image courtesy of We Found Hip Hop

Each year, We Found Hip Hop partners with the Wright Museum to celebrate Dilla Youth Day in honor of the late J Dilla.

If you’re not familiar with J Dilla, he was a Detroit-based hip hop artist and producer who created the music genre Neo-Soul (one of my favorite types of music).

James Dewitt Yancey, better known by his stage name of J Dilla, is considered one of the most influential hip hop artists. He worked with artists like De La Soul, Erykah Badu, Janet Jackson, The Roots, and Common. Many music artists today are still greatly influenced by Dilla’s music!

Piper Carter, founder of Dilla Youth Day, opening up the Youth Performances Show.
Joyletta Hunter introducing the show’s host Ja’Mya Yancy (Dilla’s youngest daughter).

According to the We Found Hip Hop website, Dilla Youth Day is “a highlight during African American History Month for young people to become excited about exploring the S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) disciplines through the process of participating in and leading hands on engagement in fun educational activities while recognizing a modern homegrown figure in Hip Hop.”

The fam and I weren’t able to make it out for the daytime activities, but I really wanted our family to have some kind of participation in Dilla Youth Day.

Thankfully, we were able to attend the Youth Performance Show to support the young artists and creatives.

Ja’Mya Yancy, Dilla’s daughter and host of the Youth Performance Show.
Ja’Mya hugging her Uncle Herm before the show got started.
Ja’Mya, Uncle Herm, and Joyletta at Dilla Youth Day

The kids loved the show, especially Michala! At age 16, Michala has a strong love for the arts (just like her mother). She loves music, creative writing, and sketching.

It was a big inspiration for Michala to see young people her age perform. She had a big smile on her face at the end of the show and she told me she loved every minute of it.

I only wish my oldest Elijah could have gone with us to the show, but he had to work. Maybe next year he will have the opportunity to go. My goal for 2020 is to have all five of my children participate in Dilla Youth Day.

Indigo Yaj performing her hip hop song “I Made It”.


Teen Space for instructional workshops

Early Childhood Learning Area

Detroit Youth Choir Performance

Hands-on Beat-Making

Music Production Workshop

Electronic Make & Take Activities

Electronic Keyboard Programming

Movement & Dance

African Dance Performances

For more information about Dilla Youth Day, visit the official website here.


The B.I.S. performing during the show.
The Illuminate Crew
The Illuminate Crew (I loved this young lady’s spoken word poem!)
The Illuminate Crew
Treasure Todae (Dance Solo Artist)
(African Dance)


What are your thoughts?