Since 2007, Kaitlin McGaw and Tommy Shepard Jr. of Alphabet Rockers have created cutting-edge social justice content for young audiences, using the popularity of hip-hop. Since founding Alphabet Rockers, they have written and recorded four full-length albums, conducted three national tours, and created 20 music videos. In 2017 they were nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Children’s Album.
Tommy Soulati Shepherd (he/him/they) is an internationally renowned actor, playwright, composer, educator, rapper, drummer, beatboxer and music producer. Tommy (aka Emcee Soulati) is co-founder of the live hip hop collective, Felonious, a resident company at Intersection for the Arts. Shepherd is also a long-time member of the performance group Campo Santo and Oakland’s own Antique Naked Soul. Shepherd has performed and toured internationally with Marc Bamuthi Joseph, collaborating on Scourge, the break/s, Spoken World and red, black and Green: a blues. Tommy won a 2018 Isadora Duncan Award for his composition work. Look for him on stage with his son, Lil’ Tommy as they spark joy and justice through hip hop.
A Harvard University Graduate in Afro-American Studies, Kaitlin McGaw (she/her) is a leader in the Bay Area arts education and social justice community as well as an award-winning songwriter (John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Parents’ Choice Awards). McGaw is a featured speaker and trainer at conferences on arts and social justice. Prior to Alphabet Rockers, Kaitlin created programming for The Recording Academy, served as Vice President for West Coast Songwriters, and was a writer for Electronic Musician. Find her touring nationally on stages from the Kennedy Center to Lollapalooza or singing “Change the World” to her toddler and newborn between recording sessions at Zoo Labs in Oakland.