(Photo Alberto E. Rodriguez/ Getty Images)
Rapper/actor Ludacris has launched a children's educational website inspired by his 10-year-old daughter, Karma. On KarmasWorld.com, children will find age-appropriate games, stories and songs about a variety of subjects including geography, math, science and social responsibilities. Meanwhile, parents and teachers can download creative tips and lessons plans to engage children in grade levels one through six.
When his daughter expressed an interest in pursuing music and becoming "a singer like her daddy," Ludacris saw it as an opportunity to teach her entrepreneurial skills while getting her to focus on her education.
"As she got older I started noticing her diction and her staying on beat and her tone and it just really impressed me," Ludacris tells BET.com. "I told her if she really wanted to do this, then she needs to talk about what's going on in her life and her world. That's just basically learning and school and how she could give back to other kids by putting things in melody and in song and that's how this all came about."
As CEO to Ludacris's VP position, Karma not only served as inspiration, but she was also deeply involved in the design process from choosing the colors, naming the characters (like L'il Luda and Smartacus), and singing about fractions and self-esteem. The songs can also be downloaded from iTunes for 99 cents each.
"We're tying to give a fun way of learning certain things because right now the only thing kids pretty much have to listen to is songs that are on the radio, what their parents are listening to, so I'm just trying to create a whole 'nother content," he says. "It's almost like a musical revolution. I don't feel like there's any hip hop songs for kids especially when it comes to the learning process, so it's just something that I feel is going to start a revolution."
"If there are certain subject matters that are on the site where they are having a little bit of trouble, I feel like this is going to take them over the top," he continues. "So I feel like everything is a fun way of learning and I'm all for sparking the wave of the future."
Producing the easy-to-navigate interactive site took more than a year for the creative team, which included web developers, focus groups comprised of teachers and other children. Together they created lesson plans about math, seasons and weather, gravity, the solar system and ethical concerns like kindness, manners and bullying.
"For [Karma] to voice a lot of the songs it took a lot," Luda explains. "So it was weekends and it took some of the summertime and, of course, as an 8- and 9-year-old kid, it took patience. So it took a really long time and as she gets older she'll continue to become quicker and get better at it. So the future is really bright for the site because she is a 10-year-old CEO now and basically understanding business and she'll start having more creative direction."
The site's soft launch is only the beginning, Ludacris adds. He has plans to have The Ludacris Foundation and Karma's World team up in the future, host contests and giveaways and release 10 more songs over the course of the year. He hopes the site inspires both children and parents to find fun ways to teach and learn as well as encourage business skills from an early age. One 10-year-old girl is already leading by example.
"[Karma] absolutely loves [the site] and she definitely is overwhelmed in terms of she thinks it's almost surreal to her. I'm telling her people not only from around the country but around the world are listening to her songs and looking at her website and she's just like, 'Really?'" Luda says. "One thing is I think she's more focused in the fact that Justin Bieber said congratulations to her than anything else. She can't get past that so right now she's just amazed that Justin Bieber said congratulations. That's all she really cares about right now."
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