::: Photos By Richard A. Evans :::
The name Simone means “one who hears” in ancient Hebrew, so it’s not surprising that Simone G. Parker has spent her entire career listening to the creative possibilities of language. As the wife of hip-hop legend KRS-One and the CEO of Front Page Entertainment Group, Simone has been an influential voice in hip-hop culture for more than 30 years. Now, she’s bringing her unique perspective to a broader audience via Acronology—a series of original acronyms based on commonly used words.
Finding Success in the Music Industry
While making the rounds as an aspiring singer, Simone was hired at Power Play Studios in Queens, NY. It was her first gig in the music industry, and it was one that showed the power of persistence. “I was sending out letters to record companies and getting rejected because I didn’t have a degree, so I decided to try the studios because I thought they’d have less formal requirements,” she said. “After four interviews, they finally bought me in. They enjoyed my presence, my demeanor, and my resume so much that they made a position for me.”
Even though she was working in the billing department, her new role provided ample networking opportunities. “Everyone has touched the mic at Power Play Studios,” she said. “There were a lot of platinum, gold, and double platinum hits. So many artists had their start there—and that’s actually where I first met my husband.”
The Boogie Down Productions members and collaborators, including KRS-One, Willie D., Ms. Melodie, Kenny Parker, Rebekah Foster, and others would book weeks of studio time. “Other artists were there for three or four days, but they’d be there for a month because they worked with so many people,” Simone said.
Simone wanted to show them her demo, but she thought it should be accompanied by a gift. Since they were always ordering food or buying snacks from the vending machine, she decided to bake them a cake. Unfortunately, they failed to show up when she appeared with the dessert on a Friday morning. While rushing home in the rain to pick up her son later that day, she was in a car accident. “When I finally got home, I realized the cake was on the floor in the back seat,” she said. “I had planned to put in the freezer and take it back Monday, but that plan was destroyed. On Monday, I didn’t make another cake because I had to take public transportation to work. When I got there, I told them the story of the missing cake and handed them my demo. I don’t remember if they actually listened to it at that moment, but they ended up offering me a position as their manager.”
Realizing that reaching her dreams no longer required a formal education, Simone decided to make the jump into entrepreneurship. “If I was going to be a manager, I thought I should have a company,” she said. “So, I founded Front Page Entertainment Group.”
As CEO of Front Page, Simone worked with artists such as Big Pun, Fat Joe, Heather B, Najee, Wil I AM, Patrick Stump, Teddy Riley, DNice, Kid Capri, and Mad Lion. In 1995, Vibe magazine recognized Front Page as one of the “hottest management companies of the year.”
As her career progressed, Simone became interested in exploring the broader implications of hip-hop as a movement and a collective urban consciousness. Partnering with her husband KRS-ONE, they created the Stop the Violence Movement, the HEAL Organization, and the Temple of Hip-Hop to advocate for the unity of hip-hop through non-violent conflict resolution. In 2001, they presented The Hip-Hop Declaration of Peace to the United Nations Organization to recognize hip-hop as an international culture of peace and prosperity.
Introducing the World to Acronology
Taking the positive messages of hip-hop to a broader audience, Simone introduced the world to Acronology in 2004. This advanced body of knowledge incorporates sociolinguistics, ethnolinguistics, and psycholinguistics to spread messages of unity, hope, and love. Acronology breaks negative cycles of language caused by old wounds and behaviors and reprograms peoples’ minds to think, affirm, and identify themselves and others in a healthy, positive way.
With Acronology, everyday words turn into mantras of empowerment. CREATIVITY becomes Communicating Real & Empowering Ability, Truth, Inspiration, Vitality, and Innovation. ART becomes Always Remain True. EDUCATION becomes Encouraging Diverse, Unique Children and Teaching Innovative & Outstanding Notions. THINK becomes Tomorrow Holds Ideas Nobody Knows.
Acronology’s positive approach to communication is one that Simone strives to follow each day. “I want to be careful and gentle with my words,” she said. “The words that come from me should be inspiring, empowering, and motivating. I don’t want to waste words and say things that do no service to myself or the person hearing them.”
Acronology can also be used to remind us of how adversity can be turned into a source of strength. Consider the word loss. In the traditional sense, loss refers to the absence of someone or something. When we “acronologize” those same four letters, we develop a different message that interprets LOSS as Letting One’s Spirit Soar. The same approach transforms GRIEF into Gradually Recovering from Intense Emotional Fatigue.
Since the release of Simone’s book, Identifying Your F.A.I.T.H., Acronology has been widely praised. Radio personality Wendy Williams invited Simone to be a guest on her show to discuss her revelation after hearing her GOSSIP (Guide Our Speech So Individuals Prosper) acronym. Rapper and actor 50 Cent was mesmerized when hearing his G-Unit title translated to “Guide Us Not Into Temptation” and proclaimed, “I never heard anyone break it down like that!” Dr. Cornel West, noted American philosopher, political activist, social critic, actor, and public intellectual, said, “Simone Parker is spiritually profound and politically mature.”
While Simone believes the benefits of Acronology are for people of all ages, races, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds, she is particularly interested in using her methods to encourage literacy among at-risk populations. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), approximately one in 20 adults in the U.S. is illiterate. An estimated 11 million Americans lack the skills necessary to perform basic tasks such as reading news headlines and paying bills.
The Acronology “Word+ Art+ Music = Life” series strives to help people learn how to embrace the power of words through innovative and fun approaches that enhance reading. “For children, we need to make reading fun,” Simone said. “For illiterate adults, we need to make reading accessible and non-intimidating.”
Reading on a regular basis offers the opportunity to improve one’s life in countless ways, and Acronology plans to partner with local libraries to remind or perhaps introduce local youth and adults to the many reasons why libraries are so accessible and exciting. Using Acronology concepts, READ becomes Realizing Every Achievable Dream—and a library becomes a place to receive the knowledge that is needed to create a richer and more fulfilling life for oneself.