Tati Hilton, 12, is one of 15 finalists in a national talent contest sponsored by Kidz Bop. Hilton was chosen from thousands of finalists after submitting a video called “Bubble Gum Wrap” in which the she raps about positive things, such as good grades and her unconditional love for her pet iDog, Nemo. Hilton, is the only finalist from North Carolina.
And unlike much of the misogynistic and misanthropic rap filling the airwaves, Hilton’s beats have a “positive” vibe.
“I want to change the culture of rap music for kids,” said Hilton. “I want to make it more positive.”
Hilton also wants positive reinforcement for her video. In order to win the Kidz Bop contest, Hilton’s video must be voted on by visitors to the Kids Bop Web site — www.kidzbop.com. The winner will earn a shot at various prizes, including a chance to star in her own Kidz Bop original series; runner-up prizes include an all-expenses paid family vacation to the Beaches Spa and Resort in the Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as a starring role in an official Kidz Bop music video.
“I’m so excited about this opportunity,” said Hilton. “It’s great to see that all my hard work has started paying off.”
Hilton has been performing since the age of 3 and has starred at numerous events, including belting out the national anthem at the Foxy 99 Summer Jam at Fort Bragg and singing at the Cumberland County Fair. She also played Addy in a Fayetteville production of the popular American Girl series and has been featured in several Citi Trends commercials.
Hilton has also shown journalistic skills, contributing a column to Peace magazine.
The preteen diva has dived head first into the show biz gig, going so far as to adopt a stage name; her real name is actually Tahtiana Dantzler — she adopted the Tati Hilton moniker as an homage to one of her idols, Paris Hilton. Other entertainers she admires include Missy Elliot and Andre 300 of OutKast.
Despite having her head in the clouds over her newfound fame, Hilton manages to stay grounded, earning all As (and one B) at the Christian Learning Center.
“School comes first,” insists Toni Bryant, Hilton’s mother. “She even jokes in ‘Bubble Gum Wrap’ that if she makes good enough grades she’ll earn a Porsche.
“I’m excited and very proud of her,” said Bryant. “She deserves this.”
Though Hilton has her eye on the grand prize, she admits she’s already honored by the recognition from having her “Bubble Gum Wrap” video distributed to the world via Kidz Bop.
“I don’t even have to win,” said Hilton, who, in addition to her good grades and musical skills,volunteers at PetSmart. “Maybe this will help me prepare for my future; I would like to rap professionally and someday own a veterinary clinic.”
If you would like to see the hometown girl win, go to www.kidzbop.com and click on the “Contests” banner. You can only vote once, but, as Hilton said with a gleam in her eye, “You can always vote more than once by setting up multiple e-mail accounts.”
The contest deadline is Nov. 1.