‘Excellence 1st’: Black 6th-Grade Girls Slay Education Rap Song

YouTube screenshot
YouTube screenshot

I love little kids rapping. But let’s face it: Sometimes they’re just aiiight. But I was incredibly impressed by two sixth-graders who slayed the mic, dropped it and then picked it back up to dead it, spitting bars about focus, goals and being superstars in school.


Jemele Hill first shared part of the video on Thursday morning, saying that she couldn’t stop watching; I couldn’t either, and once I got a taste, I wanted to know all about them (Detective Yesha Callahan (aka our deputy managing editor) helped me as per usual).

Entitled “Excellence First,” the video is the product of Terrance Sims, who is a sixth-grade teacher at the Milwaukee Excellence Charter School in Wisconsin. The 11-year-old wordsmiths rap over Tee Grizzley’s “First Day Out.”


What I love about the song most is that the two girls are so laid-back but hard. That combination of verbal dexterity and smoothness is something that can’t be taught.

In the song, the two girls ask kids to repeat these lines: “I am smart, I am strong, my life matters, I’m a blessing. I’m a queen, I’m a king, I can achieve anything.”

Also, the two girls—one adorable in her glasses, the other just as smooth as brown skin in the sun—are so nonplussed but powerful. Talking about “Michelle Obama taught me how to do it, so Imma get it. Educated, elevated, melanated, motivated. Got big shoes to fill but Imma do it with class ... ” They better work!

It is a true moment of a now-overused phrase: #BlackGirlMagic.

Sorry, “Hot Cheetos & Takis” (my previous favorite video of kids rapping).

Out the mouth of babes, baby.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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I adore these little nuggets you have for us. Amazing little great humans. So awesome.