Yanni Brooks

(The DreamYard Project)Yanni Brooks

My name is Yanni Brooks and I was born in Brooklyn, Bed-Stuy. I grew up in Harlem and then moved back to Brooklyn when I was about five, and then came to the Bronx when I was fourteen.

I’ve been at DreamYard for about 8 months. First I started doing the hip-hop class, which was the Rhyme Factory. I didn’t know I wanted to do it. First I was doing it because I wanted to see what my sister was doing, but then the first thing we did was a cypher. It’s basically where you go around and you just rap in a circle. I didn’t really know I was going to be able to rap because I was shy. But I did it and I liked it, so I just kept coming back. Everybody at DreamYard was just so welcoming.

I have a slogan that I say on every track that I’ve ever made in my life. I’ve only made about four but its coming! I say: “My name is Yanni Brooks and most definitely I’m in the building.” First I used to sing. I’d do it for the fun of other people, and it was just something I would do for pleasure. When I was twelve and I was bored in English one day, I wrote my first rap. And then I came home and I’m like, “Mommy, I wanna be a rapper.” It’s just a better way for me to express myself. Rappin’ for me, when I’m mad, when I’m stressed, when I’m sad—I just get my pen and paper and write. It’s just a way to open up myself a little bit more.

The Shakespeare summer intensive was the FIRST thing that made me have a passion for acting because I was never really into acting before. Now I have a passion for it and I’m willing to pursue it later on. What I’ve experienced in the Shakespeare intensive is basically a way to open up even more. When I’m rappin’ that makes me open up, but there’s something about acting. The words—it’s a whole different word play, and I like things that challenge my mind. So when we do yoga, it opens up my mindset. And when we do the quotes, it makes me think even harder. Now if something happens to me or if I stop believing in myself, I can always look back on the quotes and say, “You know what, Tiffany said that this quote would one day do good for me.” And I can always look back and be like, “Look Tiff! This quote really did do something for me!” And it’s kinda cool. It was my first acting experience and I loved it.

The Marianne Williamson quote we read in the summer intensive was very important to me. That quote basically told me, “you playing small is not going to make the world a better place; it’s not going make the world any happier.” And I realized that there’s something inside of me that needs to come out, and if I keep playing small, it’ll never be able to come out. So that quote basically made me remember my whole life. It was very inspiring.

My name is Yanni Brooks, and yes I’m a professional
Ever heard me speak? I sound so international.
‘cause everything I do is broadcastin’
But I stay low, never know where I’m stackin’
Brooklyn, Bed-Stuy ‘cause that’s where I’m mackin’
Rhyme Factory ‘cause that’s where it’s happenin’
Catch me with my team on the strip, like what’s happenin’?
If you get paid, why you youngin’s like magic
Hop up out the bed turn my swag on: Fashion.
Flow stay tight, no rehearsal no practice.

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About thepublictheater

Founded by Joseph Papp as the Shakespeare Workshop and now one of the nation’s preeminent cultural institutions, The Public is an American theater in which all of the country’s voices, rhythms, and cultures converge.
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