From Books to Bars with Frzy! A New Project by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Emmy Award-Winning Rapper Frzy Celebrates Diversity and Inclusion
31 videos in 31 days will shine the light on children's books, with an emphasis on highlighting Black, Brown and LGBTQIA+ authors
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Emmy award-winning rapper Frzy are bringing attention to children’s books that speak out against hate and judgement. From Books to Bars with Frzy! video series will drop new content every day throughout the month of May — 31 videos in total on Instagram <@frzy> and TikTok <@therapperfrzy>. In addition, the Library will update Frzy’s Staff Picks daily as each video is released at carnegielibrary.org, as well as curate a playlist for all 31 videos on their YouTube channel.
The project aims to shed light on stories that make a difference and center around Black, Brown and LGBTQIA+ authors, illustrators, and their supporters whose voices are disproportionately silenced during attacks on inclusive literature and learning. The first video, featuring the book, What If… by Samantha Berger will debut on Monday, May 1st.
Frzy, who is now based out of L.A., grew up visiting the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh branch in East Liberty. “With books under attack, I just wanted to take my spot on the front lines as we fight back,” said Frzy. “If music is a universal language, then books are the accents. As they say, ‘a child who reads is an adult who thinks.’ I’m here to see that it happens and shine a light on these amazing and beautiful books that are otherwise trying to be kept in the dark.”
The project name connects to the unit of measurement in rap and hip-hop, known as a “BAR.” A rapper’s skill level, experience, and ability to tell a story is judged by their lyrical prowess… or in others words “BARS.” The 31 children’s books chosen for the project are written in a rhyming pattern, with each sentence considered a “BAR.”
The videos feature Frzy reading a passage aloud from each book and deconstructing the unique lyrical wordplay and rhyming style of each author, through his musical lens and delivery — specifically through “BARS.” Multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning producer Delroy “D-Roy” Andrews and award-winning British voiceover artist Mark Ryes provide the beat and voice for the videos.
A 2018 Emmy Award winner for his work with WQED on a hip hop remake of Fred Rogers’ “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Frzy is noted as the third rapper in history to win the award. In 2020 he set a Guinness World Record for longest freestyle rap at 31 hours. A Grammy nominee in 2023, he is member of The Recording Academy/GRAMMYS & Recording Academy/GRAMMYS board member for the Philadelphia Chapter. Raised in Pittsburgh, has been honored with an annual Frzy Day in Pittsburgh (January 11th) and a mural of his likeness in Braddock, PA.
“Children’s books tend to have a natural rhyming pattern,” said Carnegie Library President & Director Andrew Medlar. “There is a certain joy that comes from playing with language and being able to celebrate both in the written and musical form. We are thrilled to collaborate with Frzy to embrace books about people of all backgrounds and identities, seeking and expressing ideas, and discovering stories that resonate with the diverse communities we serve. Because, now more than ever, it is important that we amplify all voices.”