Educators take the mic...

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It’s 6:30AM on Thursday, March 12th, 2020. Chidimma Emelue (Ms. Emelue to her students) is driving down Shelby Drive in Memphis— yes the street Drake raps about with BlocBoy JB. Spring Break starts tomorrow. She’s headed into work early to get ahead and prepare for break. As soon as she’s done Friday, there are just a few hours until her morning flight to Nigeria. Pssssssssssssh. Flat Tire. She doesn’t have a spare she calls a tow truck. As she waits on the side of the road, she receives a message from her principal, “Don’t let students know. We’re going to shut down school today…” To say her day, month or year to come was less hectic than that morning would be an outright lie. Hear Chidimma discuss her life since that day here.

 

[LISTEN TO EPISODE 1 OF PROJECT TEACHERS LOUNGE]

 

Motherly. That’s how Chidimma says her friends would describe her in one word. Chidimma and I have been friends for over a decade, and sure motherly describes her, I would not choose that word. Concert goer or Dreamville Stan is how I’d describe her. Play any song by Jermaine Lamarr Cole (J. Cole), Ari Lenox or anyone else on the Dreamville roster and you’ll see the real Chidimma come out. In our conversation, you’ll hear us reminisce on the time we saw Chiddy Bang and got the chance to hit the club with Chiddy but one of us wasn’t twenty-one yet– I won’t say who. She truly is a Hip Hop Head! In fact, she taught me how to recognize the next song in a DJ’s set before s/he plays it. Just imagine that scene at the party in Drumline when everything slows down and Nick Cannon and Zoe Saldana are about to make. Now imagine Chidimma is talking really close to my ear in a crowd of people. The music takes over the sound and you can see sound waves changing shape as the DJ preps his next song that you can see before he switches tracks. That’s what it felt like.

 

[LISTEN TO EPISODE 1 OF PROJECT TEACHERS LOUNGE]

 

Her love for music not only makes Chidimma a great friend also makes her an even better teacher. She connects with students around their music tastes, especially if they’re Dreamville fans. She also gets to know their families so that when a younger sibling enters her class years later, she can truly help that student from a more knowledgeable perspective. During Covid, to ensure her students’ have just a slice of normalcy, for their birthdays she orders the entire family Domino's pizza - our favorite pizza chain from our college days at Rhodes College. Chiddima realizes the thin line she walks and never intends to overstep. And know, this is no small expense for Chidimma who has 20+ students per class. She’s not afraid to let you know that student loans still come for her ($ChroniclesofChi is her CashAppi if you want to slide her some duckets).

 

Listen to Chidimma share her own story on DATE. While you're at it, go ahead and Join Project Teachers’ Lounge below.

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