Gifted & Lit was created by Derek Collins; a Black educator/therapist based in Atlanta, GA.
In its inception, Mr. Collins noticed that Hip-Hop had a strong influence on the youth, especially amongst Black males. On his daily commutes to work, Mr. Collins noticed young men walking down the street rapping to themselves. He thought to himself, "Hip-Hop has a strong influence over our youth. If used properly, it can have a positive effect on the subconscious mind."
Unfortunately, at the time, and still to this day, many songs negatively influence people on a conscious and subconscious level. Mr. Collins knew, from personal experience, that following the wrong models can lead to poor decision making and negative outcomes. To combat this, Mr. Collins decided to create a program like Schoolhouse Rock, an education program from the ’70s and ’80s. Schoolhouse Rock used music to teach children social studies, grammar, and other educational content. As a student in the 8th grade, Mr. Collins learned the United States preamble by listening to Schoolhouse Rock.
In 2008, while working as a substitute teacher, Mr. Collins brought an old Schoolhouse Rock DVD to a kindergarten class to see if it would resonate with the kindergartners. In short, the children loved it! Though the audio and visuals were over 30 years old, the children were engaged. From this experience, Mr. Collins decided he would create a program to help children learn after he saved enough money to fund it. Nine years later, in 2017, 'Gifted & Lit' was born!