Yo-Yo Is In Her Happy Place On ‘Downright Delicious With Yo-Yo’ Cooking Show

Yo-Yo Is In Her Happy Place On ‘Downright Delicious With Yo-Yo’ Cooking Show

Yo-Yo certified herself as a formidable rapper in the 1990s. Now, the Hip-Hop veteran is ready to showcase a different set of skills to the world. The California native is bringing taste and talent to Downright Delicious with Yo-Yo, her new cooking show on AspireTV. 

The television network debuted the show’s pilot in March to celebrate Women’s History Month, highlighting the rap veteran and championing Black women behind the project’s lens. The official premiere date for Downright Delicious with Yo-Yo was later announced as June 6.

“I had this idea,” explained the Grammy-nominated artist on Zoom ahead of the premiere. “The all-Black woman production [team], Powerhouse Productions, and an all-Black crew helped me not feel as jittery or insecure as I did when I stepped on the set.”

The 51-year-old eased through the nervousness by expanding her journey and taking an educational course to learn more about technical chef skills and food science. Her efforts paid off; combining her passion for food and culture yielded a full season of delicious recipes. Dishes including brioche lobster rolls, salmon and broccolini lobster pasta, and coconut braised oxtails with red beans and rice are prepared and presented on Downright Delicious. 

Fellow legendary women rappers Roxanne Shanté and Mia X pop up in the series and Yo-Yo’s children and mother make heartwarming appearances

Still a commanding performer, on stage and on screen, the “Mama Don’t Take No Mess” rapper has a lot of exciting projects on her plate. 

“My jacket from the ‘You Can’t Play With My Yo-Yo’ video just arrived at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today, so it will be on display,” she detailed enthusiastically. I am the new host of BET’s Her Live, which will debut this June. I am on Disney’s Saturdays. I am on Rock the Bells; we are performing a big Hip-Hop show, on August 5 in New York City. I’m performing at ESSENCE festival, representing the West Coast and representing the females. And, Hip Hop Treasures on A&E with LL Cool J Ice-T and me, on August 15th.”

Yo-Yo performing

Rapper Yo Yo performs during a game between Killer 3’s and 3’s Company in the second week of the BIG3 at the Orleans Arena on July 17, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sam Morris/Getty Images for BIG3

“The biggest thing that I am excited about, out of all of the stuff I’ve mentioned, is my cooking show because I feel like it has nothing to do with music,” she explained. “Although it has a lot to do with music, but I feel like it’s just me welcoming the world in, because you’ll be able to say, ‘I got that from you.’ And so I’m excited for you to watch.”

Continue reading as Yo-Yo tells us how she added TV chef to her glowing resume. 

Yo-Yo cooking show

Courtesy of AspireTV

VIBE: I’m very excited for the show to come out to watch and learn some recipes and some cooking tips myself. What are you excited for with the series?

Yo-Yo: Oh God, I’m excited for just what you said, for you to watch it and to learn some new recipes. I always say on the show, you don’t have to be a chef. All you have to do is love to cook. And I think we all have this passion for learning to cook. I grew up in a home where my mother cooked soul food. It was pretty much we knew what we were getting. She would switch it up every now and then. But as the years changed, my mother would be more specific on the dishes she cooked. I think my love and journey for wanting to do more searching for recipes has led me to my own cooking show.

Can we get some background on some of the recipes that you’ll be featuring or even how you fell in love with cooking? How did you catch the cooking bug? 

During my transition when music was changing out with the old and in with the new, and me trying to figure out what I was doing was pretty much a trying time. My mind was always working 24 hours a day and me researching recipes to cook for my kids, trying to bring my family together, build more of a solid foundation. I’ve been on the road my whole life. So to bring my family in, I started just researching more dishes, more recipes, and I found that me searching down these aisles, looking for ingredients that I’ve never even heard of before, to create this dish that I was desiring to make, really took my mind off of me trying to worry about what was next. 

In the kitchen, you have to focus. You have to pay attention. If you’re cooking something in the broiler, you can’t walk away for five minutes and go do laundry. So your mind had to stay locked in on what you were doing. And what I found is it gave me a happy place. It became a passion of mine. Before you know it, honey, listen, I was putting it on Instagram. And it’s like, well, when is your cooking show coming? Not even thinking that a cooking show would come, and look at God.

What are some of your favorite meals or drinks that we’re going to get to learn to cook in the series?

So some of my favorite meals that I cooked on the show, well, my mom came in the kitchen, Mama Mia with the spicy meatballs. And she made her stuffed bell peppers, which is one of our family’s favorites. And having her in the kitchen, you ever cooked with your mom?

A few times, yeah.

Right. Imagine that. Mine was televised. Imagine that. Right. So cooking with my mother in the kitchen was amazing. The stuffed bell peppers were delicious. I mean, the whole scene of that. That’s like reality TV in itself. And my kids come in the kitchen and [we’re] showing them how to cook. So my mom’s stuffed bell peppers, my oyster steaks, the lobster rolls, the lobster pasta. And the simplest dish that I made, that I love the most, is the grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Yo-Yo Cooking Show

Courtesy of AspireTV

Do you find yourself being able to express your creativity through food as you do through music? Is it kind of parallel there? Is it a completely different creative process?

For me, food is very sensual. It’s an exposure that I wasn’t ready to give. So it’s way different. When I’m on stage, it’s almost like I’m boasting and bragging. Food, you’re standing over their shoulder like,  ‘You, like it? Did you like it? Give me some input. What do you think?’ So I think for me it’s more sacred. Food is more sacred. It’s more…You really want people to like it. You know what I mean? Performance, I have to perform the songs we produced. But food is more like you want people to love it. It’s almost like inviting people into your…It’s almost like inviting them into you. It’s very intimate.

With it being the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop, what do you have to say about where Hip-Hop has come in these past 50 years and where do you hope that it continues to evolve?

Hip-Hop has come so long. I’m so happy that women have a seat at the table. I am so happy that all of the legendary Hip-Hop artists who have paved the way are finally getting their just due. Because rap and Hip-Hop is the only genre where you forget those who have made the way for those who are coming today. So I’m glad for that. I’m glad to see that the new can work with the legendary artists who have helped pave the way. I’m glad that they’re getting their money. I’m glad to see that you don’t have artists who have sold millions of records for labels and companies struggling. I mean, the fact that they could thrive off of the industry we help create means a lot to me.

Downright Delicious with Yo-Yo is part of Publicis Media’s APX Content Ventures Inclusion Investment Fund. Tune in to Downright Delicious With Yo-Yo on aspireTV, available nationally on DirecTV, DirecTV Stream, or Philo. 

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