When it comes to entertainers who multi-task, Grammy award-winning artist/actor Chris “Ludacris” Bridges is among the few who have succeeded in music, film and entrepreneurial efforts simultaneously. Since his early days as an Atlanta radio show host, Ludacris co-founded a successful record label (DTP); released seven critically-acclaimed albums and six popular mixtapes; and has appeared in over a dozen major motion pictures.
Additionally, Ludacris launched Conjur Congac liquor in 2009 and his own Soul headphone line in 2011, as well as launching his Ludacris Foundation non-profit organization. He is in process of working on album number eight, and also appears in New Line Cinemas’ latest star-studded holiday flick New Year’s Eve.
But none of the fame, money or accolades compare to Ludacris’s greatest achievement – his daughter Karma. An ever-doting dad, Ludacris has been supporting Karma’s budding entrepreneurial spirit, and the two recently launched KarmasWorld.com, a fun, kid-safe educational website for grade-school children.
As Ludacris explains, Karma is the CEO of the company, and came up with many of the ideas for the site throughout development in 2011. She also shines on a number of catchy sing-along tracks, which can be downloaded for listening offline. As you log on to KarmasWorld.com, the track “Let’s Go” will immediately have you bouncing to the beat – so you’ll actually enjoy spending time with your kids on this site!
Ludacris took a few moments with UrbLife.com to tell us more about the concept behind KarmasWorld.com, his thoughts on censorship for children online, and the ways he is encouraging his daughter’s business sense.
There is such a need for kid’s sites. How did you come about breaking down the competency or grade level of each song on Karmas World?
Ludacris: We just try to make them as general to the grade level as possible. It’s basically like a foundation. When you listen to the songs… fractions is one thing, we talk about space and everyone learns about the planets, it’s just general things that all kids learn. We try to make it pretty basic.
Some kids know the words to songs, but are not fully understanding them. If they’re really young and they’re singing along, we feel like as they get older they will continue to remember and start understanding what it is because of the melody, and that’s the whole part of the song. If they’re older, then they already understand. In terms of the age bracket, that’s why we tried to make the songs general as possible.
So, it’s a lot like School House Rock was for us…
Ludacris: Yes, it is!
Your daughter recorded the songs and you produced them with her and helped her write them. How much input did she have on the songs? Did she have the final say?
Ludacris: Yeah she’s the CEO and I’m the Vice President. She definitely has the final say so. She came up with the characters and with their names. In terms of the subject matter in the songs, that was kind of like a collective with all of our teams.
This all came about with her growing older and always wanting to get in the booth when I’m in the studio. At first I thought she was just playing around, but she loved it so much, and I noticed as she has gotten older she was practicing. Her diction and her voice and her tone were really good, so she kept saying that she wanted to be a singer.
I told her that if she was going to do this, then she had to talk about what was going on in her life. That’s basically learning and school, and that’s where it all came about. She has the final say so, she is the CEO at the age of 10. This is her business, all day.
You have lesson plans for teachers to help utilize the site with their students. How did you create the lesson plans?
Ludacris: We have focus groups where we met with different teachers and students. A lot of people don’t know, but this has been a year in the making. I’m a perfectionist, so I just try to get everything as right as I possibly can and that’s basically what we did.
We used real life teachers, and I actually have some friends and family members that work in the education system so we had a little help from everybody. I think that it is important to get a lot of different opinions to make sure things are right.
When it comes to censorship [and safety], how have you talked to Karma about online dangers?
Ludacris: As a parent, I am definitely hands on with showing my child what’s out there. I would rather her hear it from me. I feel like me doing this website is the exact opposite of what’s out there, and it gives kids more content to look at the things that don’t have to be censored. That’s really what it’s all about. I’m doing my part in doing that.
Are you looking down the road at how you’re going to have “the talk” with her, or how you’re going to talk about things with her like bullying and social interactions in school?
Ludacris: We have more songs that are going to be added to the site, and it’s funny you mentioned that, because she did a song called “Bully” that will be added to Karma’s World in January. Whatever is going on in the world, we try to cater it to what’s going on in children’s lives and to put positivity forward. We are fully in tact with that, and she has songs about these things.
Do you think in the next couple of years you may get into more grown situations with this site, or maybe make another site to address topics with teens?
Ludacris: You never know what the future holds. We definitely are looking to tackle some of the issues that are going on in these times. As she gets older, it all depends on what she is comfortable with doing and how she wants to move forward with her company.
If she was to say, “I want to grow up and be a rapper full time,” would you encourage that with her at this point or keep doing things one step at a time?
Ludacris: One step at a time. With this site, it doesn’t require her physically to anything as of now. It’s something that has her [creative ideas], and she can still go to school and live her life and we’ll explore the possibilities as time goes on. She puts her work in and it’s working for her. I’m very proud of that.