A Project for Better Journalism chapter

HYM the Rapper

He has dance moves like no other person, rap lines like no other and mismatched, knee-high stilettos like no other. Elijah Mookie, a choreographer and musician, has made two visits to the dance room to show the Dance Company performers some dance routines and help them become better performers by giving some advice he learned on his journey to being a performer.

“With anything [Mookie] does, he performs at a maximum capacity. He exudes energy out of every pore of his body and that’s something I want my students to learn, ” dance teacher Michelle Hammack said.

Mookie goes by the name HYM the Rapper in his music. He writes his own lyrics and has a unique sense of style that is never the same. He likes to be unpredictable with his clothes, changing things up and standing out. From wearing high-waist shorts and flannels, to crop tops and skinny jeans; Mookie stands out in style and never ceases to entertain the crowd with his great performances.

“I love to stand out in everything I do. Growing up, my family wanted me to be a doctor or something but I just wasn’t into that. In high school I was always known as that weird kid that dances all the time, but I loved expressing myself and I didn’t want to be something I’m not like most people did. I was gay and I loved dancing, that was me,” Mookie said.

Mookie began his passion for dancing at a very young age, from almost as soon as he could walk. He grew up in a Christian, single-parent home that did not approve of homosexuals, which made it tough for him to be himself with his own family. But Mookie did not let these views discourage him from following his dreams to become a professional performer. He began expanding his work into songwriting during his junior year of high school to try something new. And his stage name was inspired by the Powerpuff Girls villain, HIM, not because HIM was feared but because he was respected, which is what Mookie wanted.

“He gave us all individual hugs at the end of his last visit and told me to never give up dance, if I kept trying, some day I’d make as a professional. He has hope for all of us, that’s something I really appreciate about him,” Dance Company member Litzy Rodriguez, 11, said.

Mookie faced adversity on his journey to become the performer that he is now, but he never gave up his dream. He pushed through and eventually reached his goal, which is the message he wants others to see. He visits Hammack’s dance room not only to instruct the Dance Company performer, but to show them what their hard work can achieve.

“I apologetically do what I want whenever, I’m not gonna restrain myself and that’s something I want others to learn. I see that the dancers in Dance Company love dancing, it’s their passion and they’re ‘hungry’ for it. So I want to show them to embrace their passion and learn to tell their story through it,” Mookie said.