Kaylee Crossfire and Kia Rap Princess sometimes go by the name “Best of Both Worlds,” when together. The two self-described “rap sisters in crime,” are close friends, and artists whose similar, yet uniquely different, passion for their craft and community brings them together.
A longstanding advocate for female artists in the community, Kaylee has run the Milwaukee Female Takeover Showcase for the past five years, providing diverse female artists (including musicians, poets, dance teams, and stylists) a space to share while empowering and supporting one another.
“When we have had the Female Takeover Showcase, the vibe in the room is phenomenal and the community response is terrific- the event is packed every year,” Kaylee shared on our Zoom interview.
Even during this year’s unprecedented times, Kaylee hopes to keep the showcase going, with an online event broadcasting from the Cactus Club where the Female Takeover Showcase was slated to occur. “We have to get over the negative images that are fed to us about what women should be,” Kaylee shared. Kaylee Crossfire has not let the COVID19 pandemic hit her creativity. In fact, recently she launched a line of clothing FireGang Apparel, to add to her artistic and creative endeavors.
Kia Rap Princess has also been staying quite busy these days. An artistic mainstay of the Milwaukee hip hop scene, Kia has been expanding her craft and is involved in many different facets of the Milwaukee arts scene. Along with Kaylee, Kia is a regular leader at protests throughout the Greater Milwaukee area following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, including recently speaking in Port Washington at a rally organized by high school students there. Kia shared our recent Zoom interview, “This situation right now matters and it’s becoming more and more global. We need to use our voices and make an impact.”
And an impact, Kia is making, no doubt. A self-made innovator with continuous curiosity about the world around her, Kia has recently graduated from a tech program which featured her learning to use and develop web-based tech skills through i.c.stars, who's nonprofit mission is to activate a technology community of change agents to power social and economic freedom. “If we can teach the new generation how to use technology to connect one another and empower our voices, we can really do something,” Kia enthusiastically shared.
These two amazingly talented women were proud to share the role the arts played in their lives growing up and why they admire the work of TBEY Arts Center and the role it’s had on improving and supporting the lives of our youth in Milwaukee. TBEY contracts with Milwaukee Public Schools to provide arts education. TBEY spokesperson Myesha Cole explained, “When COVID hit we were shut down. Our dance concert was canceled and our shows were canceled.” Like many similar programs, TBEY has had to pivot to an online platform for its summer arts camps running at this time.
“Doing lots of arts through elementary school and middle school saved me,” Kaylee shared, “I had so much going on as a child and the arts gave me a space to express myself. I started playing violin at a very early age and that evolved into singing in the choir and writing poetry. Arts helped me so much that I’m putting my own son into guitar classes now. Youth need the opportunity to express themselves. This can save a lot of children.”
Similarly, Kia Rap Princess commented about how the arts were integral in her development as a person. “My grandmother taught me how to play the piano, and I’ve been hooked on performing arts at a young age by singing every Sunday in the church choir. When I got to Middle and High School, art classes were huge. Often times arts, physical education, and drama are cut in urban communities, or programs are lacking for kids. Kids then get raised by tv and the internet and aren’t given the opportunity to have that personal interaction through the arts and seeing the beauty of all of the different colors and ways to express themselves. If youth don’t have an outlet to do this, energy can come out at the wrong time and in the wrong way.”
The two good friends, “Best of Both Worlds,” continue to innovate and collaborate and hone their craft. “You have to come up with cool, creative ways to engage others,” Kaylee told Rock the Green on our Zoom call, “We even are doing a vlog together where Kia is getting a full makeover. We had a Go Fund Me Page for it and fans are really having fun,” Kaylee laughed.
Check out these amazingly strong, fierce, and successful women as they Rock the Stream live, June 25 at 7pm, on Rock the Green's Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.
About TBEY Arts Center
TBEY's mission is to strengthen youth and young adults through exposure to the arts and opportunities for creative expression. Youth and young adults ages 6-19 receive professional arts instruction, enjoy performances and exhibits, and receive tutoring, mentoring and coaching to achieve academically and pursue their interest in the arts.
Please consider a DONATION to support TBEY, Kia Rap Princess & Kaylee Crossfire