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Meet J. Ross on the VoyagePhoenix

Today we’d like to introduce you to J. Ross Parrelli. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Beats Lyrics Leaders was founded by J. Ross Parrelli in 2012 after she was signed to Universal Records. Once realizing the Industry was not her purpose, she evolved into transcribing her skills into the community. J. Ross quickly Integrated Hip Hop Education into platforms that could serve those looking to find a way to both masters their craft and create income from their passions. Starting with High Schoolers on Reservations along the West Coast, J. Ross found ways to create music, passion, financial literacy, entrepreneurship skills, and sustainable well-being practices for youth in under-served communities.

A once-battle emcee found ways to create a positive culture and climate in the school revolving around art, culture, and leadership. Beats Lyrics Leaders have been seen all over the world from London to Mexico, Hawaii to Lummi Reservation. We are the art of business, culture, dreams, and entrepreneurship using music as our platform. We teach students the ins and outs of beat making, lyric writing, recording, and performance. Whether it is keynote speaking at youth conferences or educational conferences, creating art-integrated curriculum, workshops, and/or producing conferences. Whether it is at Elementary Schools, Middle Schools, High Schools, Military Academies, Native Reservations, or Juvenile Halls, BLL has proved to make a positive impact on the students we collaborate with.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?For the most part, we have been received with open arms and grateful communities. Our biggest challenge is making sure we don’t fall victim to both the ‘White savior complex” and making sure that we truly focus on equity. Not all students that need our attention have the funds to pay for our programs. It is often that students that are most under-served lack the financial means to bring in the programs that will often help the most.

We also found that, although we are not all white, sometimes we are subjected to this want to heal, save, and help communities that are under-served. Often bringing in our own means of what “we” think these communities need, rather than assisting where needed. BLL has gone out of its way to develop programs specific to the needs of the community, as well as work with local mentors, teaching artists, and community leaders to leave direct connections for students to engage with.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?Beats Lyrics leaders are composed of a collective of mentors ranging in music expertise and skills. Ranging from Akil the MC (Jurassic 5), Slim Kid Tre (Pharcyde), Dookie (The DooDoo Funk All Stars), Jae Synth (E40 Music Video Director), M1 (Dead Prez), MC Supernatural (Freestyle King), Exile, (Blu and Exile), Lil’ Rock (BBoy for Olympics), Unlearn the World, J Ross Parrelli, and many more. Each mentor/teaching artist comes in with a unique story, passion, and lesson plans to fit any situation.

We specialize in students finding their voice (advocacy), bringing out the best in each of us, business literacy, artist development, and building a positive culture/climate in the schools.

J. Ross Parrelli has been seen all over the world, at Dropout Prevention Conferences, 7Mindsets, Disney World Ultimate Life Summit, Hip Hop Congress, or locally in her hometown schools (as Board Trustee). Recently, graduating from Mills College with an M.ed in Leadership, she has now begun working as an Artist Resident in SCOE and Twin Rivers, preparing an Arts-integrated curriculum in the classroom.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?During COVID-19 I ran as an elected official for Board Trustee, as well as completed my Master’s program in Educational Leadership. The biggest lesson I learned is that we forgot how to interact as humans. Once we learned how to communicate through screens and learn through technology, it opened up a new way to participate in education. As teachers raced to find ways to engage with students online, students learned how to detach from human interaction.

Now as we find normalcy in school environments, we find that the social-emotional stability of our students is not where it should be. It is harder to connect and find the value in resilience. Bullying is at an all-time high, and we keep finding new ways to engage students through technology, hands-on learning, and connectivity. Overall, we learned how to use technology to our benefit while engaging students in human interactions and emotional intelligence.


  • Conferences $5k-$15k

  • Assemblies $500-$1500

  • Workshops $200-$2500

  • Mentorship Program $5k-$10

  • Art Integrated Curriculum $250-5k

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