Dr. Margaret Starkes was born and raised in the number one city of Pittsburgh. She attended Pittsburgh Public Schools graduating from Rogers School for the Creative and Performing Arts and Peabody High School. During her youth and teenage years, she had a natural artistry gift, performing on stage as an actor and rap artist. Early in her teenage years, she developed a love affair with hip hop and rap music. Beginning her rap career at just 14 years old, she wrote and performed her rap songs all over the city of Pittsburgh under the management of Mark C. Productions. She worked with local legends like Mel Plowden, Nick Nice, Sly Jock, and Mark Charlton of Mark C. Productions. These local leaders reached back to bring her up, inspiring her work as a Sankofa Leader. She even started rap groups of her very own, called The Little Rappers, where she wrote raps and choreographed dance routines for a small group of younger peers for three years. In 1987, she wrote and released a 12” rap record entitled “The Real Queen of Rap” at age 16, making her the first female to release a rap album from Pittsburgh. After high school, she pursued her education, becoming an elementary school teacher and later a Principal. Over the years, she rapped a little here and there, but it wasn't until she was serving as Principal of a Pittsburgh elementary school and was asked to write a rap for a school district event that she realized she was still in love with hip hop. Later that school year, she approached a group of scholars during the lunch period, where she heard them using the cafeteria table to make a beat and put some rhymes together. They stopped when she approached, expecting some reprimand. Instead, she joined them, dropped some old school lyrics, probably from 1989, and not only got in on but dominated the rap battle! Hence, the birth of Pittsburgh’s Rapping Principal, using rap to reach back and grab em', just like so many others have done for Dr. Starkes. 


Experience Storytime with Starkes

Unlocking a Love of Literacy for Black and Brown children 










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