Syreeta Gates is determined to make sure everybody eats! (Literally.) If she’s not working on her podcast, she’s somewhere making sure our young people stay inspired. This is her Creator Story.
BLOSSOM: What is the inspiration behind Stay Hungry?
SYREETA: Stay Hungy definitely evolved. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a chef. I was definitely serving lasagna and making cakes. I was also very much interested in, and passionate about Hip Hop. As I got older, I was all about trying to figure out what was missing in the culture. So I Googled ‘Hip Hop and Food.’ I’d been playing around with the idea of Stay Hungry being a fusion of art, Hip Hop and food, but after doing some Googles, nothing really came up for just Hip Hop and food. That’s how Stay Hungry was born. From the beginning of Hip Hop, rappers have talked about food. One of Rakim’s lines in “Paid in Full” was “Fish, which is my favorite dish.” We’re not forcing this, it just is. We’re just tapping into it, and bridging the gap.
BLOSSOM: What’s the ultimate goal of Stay Hungry?
SYREETA: Stay Hungry has four commitments. The first commitment is putting chefs of color on the map. That means Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Black, etc. Two, to have young people inspired, and wanting to hop in the culinary industry. We also want to bridge the gap between Hip Hop and food, and lastly we want to make healthy eating poppin.’ We’re going to have a couple of cooking competitions for adults coming up, and we have the Everybody Eats Podcast, which is crazy. We just had our 25th episode last week. We have a few other goodies, but those are the main things on the frontline.
BLOSSOM: Tell us more about the Everybody Eats Podcast.
SYREETA: I have a philosophy, “Team Us.” I use that hashtag all the time. I love celebrating my friends. So where “Everybody Eats” came from is “Paid in Full” a classic Hip Hop film. Classic. Classic. Classic. And in the film, there’s a scene where the character Ace is like, “Yo, everybody eats, B!” I could get that tattooed on me. So people use this platform to talk about their hustle, and whatever their hustle is. We want to remind people that your team matters, and that no dreamer builds alone. I want to make it so everybody can eat.
BLOSSOM: Where did this love of Hip Hop come from?
SYREETA: Jay Z has this line, “This isn’t the life I chose, but rather the life that chose me.” I remember my first interaction with Hip Hop in a very real way. But the interaction wasn’t with the actual music. This was maybe ’96, ’98, but I was at my grandmother’s house, and I remember my uncle and big cousin walking through the door. My uncle had a super clean Lexus, with gold BBS rims, which was the classic car at the time. He had on a black and gold Versace shirt with the matching shades, and my cousin had on a DKNY bodysuit. And I was like, “I don’t know what this is, but I gotta be down.” I’m from Southside Jamaica Queens, so they shot the movie Belly where I live. Hip Hop was always around me. I just wanted to add something to the culture.
BLOSSOM: Do you consider yourself an artist/creative?
SYREETA: Yes, I’m very much an artist, and I’m sensitive about my sh*t. It’s hard to create something like this, or create projects, and not consider yourself an artist. I’m passionate about visual art, as well. But I’m also very clear that I don’t do any of this alone. My team is a group of artists. I surround myself with artists all the time, because I’m clear on what I can and can’t do. I’m not about to play myself and do some magical sh*t that somebody else can do. I stay in my lane. But I do have the vision, and because of that, I consider myself a creator and an artist.
BLOSSOM: What’s your favorite dish?
SYREETA: Playa please, I’m the macaroni and the cheese. Outside of that, my mother and my aunt’s potato salad. I’m not even rockin’ with nobody else’s.
BLOSSOM: What’s your favorite Hip Hop song?
SYREETA: That’s mad pressure, but I’m going to say “All About the Benjamins.” And I say that because one, Lil’ Kim is my aunt. And two, that song just did so much for the culture. Being in New York City when that song dropped, was crazy. It was just so lit. Any time somebody played “All About the Benjamins” it was a WRAP. I could spit the whole song word for word. It’s my theme song. When I put it on, I’m like “Who gon’ stop me?”
BLOSSOM: What’s next for you?
SYREETA: I’m working on a docu-series about Hip Hop journalists, which I’ve never seen done and am really excited about. I want to tell that side of the Hip Hop story, too. I think it’s important.
BLOSSOM: Where can people find you online?
SYREETA: Our Instagram is @yostayhungry. You can connect with us there, and the link to our podcast is there as well.