Yo-Yo in 1997
August 4, 1971
Compton, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Rapper, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur|
DeAndre Windom (m. 2013)
|Origin||South Central, Los Angeles, United States|
|Genres||West Coast hip hop|
|Labels||East West America|
|Ice Cube, Chilly Chill, Da Lench Mob|
Yo-Yo (born Yolanda Whitaker; August 4, 1971) is a Grammy nominated American hip hop recording artist, actress and entrepreneur. Much of her music has advocated female empowerment, denouncing the frequent sexism found in hip-hop music. She is the protégé of gangsta rapper Ice Cube. Yo-Yo dubbed her crew the IBWC, which stood for the Intelligent Black Woman's Coalition.
Yo-Yo first appeared as a guest on Ice Cube's AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted album in 1990, on the track "It's a Man's World." Cube returned the favor by appearing on "You Can't Play with My Yo-Yo," which was on Yo-Yo's 1991 debut album, Make Way for the Motherlode. Each of the video's for the singles from the album were directed by Okuwah Garrett of Power Films.
Her follow-up in 1992, Black Pearl was well received by critics, partly because of its focus on positive messages and uplifting themes that contrasted the popular gangsta rap style. However, despite a plethora of renowned producers such as DJ Muggs, this did not translate into a hit with mainstream hip-hop audiences, and the album's sales were considered a disappointment.
Yo-Yo's next album was 1996's Total Control. In 1998, she finished her fifth album, Ebony, but it was not released. In 2008, her single "Can't Play With My Yo-Yo" was ranked number 92 on VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs. Later that year, she performed with MC Lyte, The Lady of Rage, and Salt-n-Pepa at the BET Hip Hop Awards.
As of 2009, she has been at work on an EP, titled My Journey to Fearless: The Black Butterfly.
In 2013, it was announced she has joined the upcoming BET reality series Hip Hop Sisters which will focus on six female rappers' lives and their attempts to relaunch their careers. Other rappers confirmed to appear are MC Lyte, Lady of Rage, Monie Love, Lil Mama, and Smooth.
She appeared in the 1991 film Boyz n the Hood, 1993's Menace II Society and other urban-oriented films; had a recurring role on the television show Martin as Keylolo, the sidekick of comedian Martin Lawrence's alter ego Sheneneh; and appeared on other TV shows, including the Fox network's New York Undercover. She has also made many cameo appearances, including the music video for Missy Elliott's "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)". She also appeared in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, as the voice of Kendl Johnson.
Yo-Yo has taken active roles in advocating for hip-hop musicians and encouraging community involvement. She testified in 1994 at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about whether the government should require rating labels on gangsta rap. She also founded the Yo-Yo School of Hip-Hop to use hip-hop in curriculum with at-risk students.
Yo-Yo dated Tupac Shakur for some time in the 1990s. She was with him in the hospital shortly before he died. She got engaged to DeAndre Windom, the former mayor of Highland Park, Michigan, in August 2012. They were married in 2013 in the Cayman Islands.
|1995||MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Rap Video for "I Wanna Be Down" (Remix) (featuring Brandy, MC Lyte and Queen Latifah)|
|1996||Grammy Award nomination for Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance - Duo or Group for "Stomp"|