Letters to the Editor

From the issue of November 16, 2000

Completely Unsolicited Praise for Suzy Stone, Part 1
Up with kidz, down withNew Times: The fact that my son has happily been a student in the Hip Hop Kidz program for more than four years allows me the opportunity to voice my opinion more than the obviously bitter parents Robert Andrew Powell interviewed for his article ("Her Brilliant Career,"November 9). It is so blatantly apparent that these moms and/or dads have nothing better to do with their time than berate Suzy Stone and her successful program.

As a parent of a physically challenged child, I have watched this amazing program not only make a positive difference in my son's life but in the lives of other challenged children to whom this awesome program reaches out. My son is not in this program for fame and stardom. He is there to enjoy expressing himself to his fullest capacity, whatever level that may be.

So, Mr. Powell, get with the program and see the true light, not that of some disgruntled parents. Every child is a shining star!

Davina Williams
South Miami-Dade

Completely Unsolicited Praise for Suzy Stone, Part 2
Kidz get it,New Times doesn't: Come on, New Times! There are hundreds of pedophiles, drug dealers, and con artists floating around our community, passing themselves off as professionals in order to get closer and have easier access to our children. Your writing time would have been better spent researching these scums and finding ways to protect our children from them rather than belittling Hip Hop Kidz, a program known and respected nationwide not only by other children but by entertainment-industry individuals, sports celebrities, and most parents of the program.

I have had two kids in Suzy Stone's program and in the Production Company. I have seen the excitement in the children as they worked hard and performed at Madonna's house. I have heard their giggles as they signed autographs for other children their age. Yes, I have seen disappointments, but the enthusiasm has far outweighed them.

In reference to Robert Andrew Powell's claim that this program uses kids for the company's success, listen: No one is twisting my arm to pay my daughter's tuition except my daughter herself.

Jackie Thayer
Miami

Completely Unsolicited Praise for Suzy Stone, Part 3
We kidz rule,New Times sucks: I want to write a little about Robert Andrew Powell's article on Hip Hop Kidz and Suzy Stone. Guess what: I am one of those kidz!

I started in the program seven years ago, after my mom read an article in the "Neighbors" section of the Miami Herald. From the first class I took, I would always push my way to the front of the class, hoping to be noticed by Suzy. I was noticed, but Suzy always kept pushing me to be better cuz she knew it was in me. I was the last of my group to be moved up to the Performance Troupe.

I still didn't get to perform in front of an audience for six months! I still kept pushing my way to the front. After a while it was announced that a group of us would be going to the 1997 Junior Olympics. I was chosen! Suzy drilled us daily for three weeks, pushing the group to limits I never knew I had. We cried, we laughed, and we worked very hard. It was her coaching and choreography talent but my hard drive and work that won me a gold medal that summer. I will never forget it!

You say it is Suzy who wants stardom. I think it is the kidz in the Production Company she works with who want it! I know that I enjoy being with the Backstreet Boys, Pat Riley and the Heat players, and the Dolphins (I have even become good buddies with a retired player who always wants an update about me and what I am doing in school and in the hip-hop program); and yes, I couldn't believe that I was performing at Madonna's house.

My bedroom walls are filled with things showing the Hip Hop Kidz. I think we are taking Suzy on the ride of her life, and we are all enjoying it.

I hope you print this. It comes from my heart. I was recently injured and could not practice or perform in any of my dance classes for six weeks. It killed me not to dance, but my family and Suzy have taught me that patience and determination will lead to success. I am glad and proud to be dancing again and hip-hoppin' the day away.

Joanna (JJ) Finazzo
Miami

Suzy Speaks
Robert Andrew Powell is a disgusting, slithering coward: After Robert Andrew Powell spent hours and hours interviewing my instructors, my dancers, and myself, it is disgusting to think that he walked away with nothing more than a slithering attempt to butcher a home-grown dance program that affects the lives of hundreds of children in such a positive fashion. As his article states, I have never claimed to win a popularity contest with any parents who take issue with my strict teaching methods. That is very true.

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