Entrepreneur MK Stallings Spreads His Love for the Arts
by cierra cross
St.Louis native MK Stallings visited UMSL to speak with participants of the program OneCity Stories sharing about himself and the work he is doing around the city. The writer, entrepreneur, and poet founded the nonprofit, Urb Arts. It has been around for 15 years and is going on its 16th year of being in existence.
Stallings spoke passionately about how the world of hip-hop and rap tremendously impacted his life and what his work consists of. At the age of seven he wrote his first freestyle rap after just seeing an LL Cool J concert. Following that his eldest brother was interested in producing him and at a young age he released his first CD. He called it his demo project; it was not just a mixtape. Recently he found that on youtube his Secrets album is on there. He was surprised that someone uploaded his songs . Stallings said while laughing, “That is illegal ,” but he still felt a sense of enjoyment that people were interested in his work.
With creating Urb Arts, MK Stallings wanted to create a space where artists of any form and himself could do good things for the region. He believes that everyone has an art that they practice--something that he did not have or see growing up himself. He spoke on a camp him and some hip-hop artists put on for youth ages 7-11. There the kids were able to learn about beats, rap, hip-hop, and breakdancing. When asked the question “ If you had one thing to say to America’s youth today, what would that be?” he pondered at first but simply came up with the answer to make space and protect the space for art development. He explains that whether people are interested in the arts as an appreciator, observer, or practices, that it is a good time to protect those spaces. In a perfect world there wouldn't be a need for non-profits.
Stallings targets the youth of today because he feels that children are more malleable than adults. His advice to aspiring young writers is to be informed on their craft and read on specific genres that they create. The 38 year old MK is still out on a mission, spreading his love for the arts and hoping to continue to help others embrace their craft.