The Pittsburgh Foundation

Damola aka Da Great Deity Dah

Image courtesy of Damola Idowu
Image courtesy of Damola Idowu

2023 grant amount: $50,000 

Damola aka Da Great Deity Dah is empowering students to be the STEAM superhero rap version of themselves. They will learn storytelling and gain a sense of identity and expression utilizing his art and TOYZSTEAM program. Super Hero Rap is based on Idealism, which is the student’s ideal world and vision of their best self. The villain is their obstacle. Their superpowers are based on using STEAM concepts to overcome their obstacles. 

Damola was inspired to become a Mechanical Engineer by an Autonomous Vehicle, Knight Rider, and an A.I. K.I.T.T. He enrolled in classes at Syracuse University at age 15 and enrolled as a dual mechanical engineering and economics major at Syracuse at age 16. 

"In 1995 I began infusing Engineering, science fiction and idealism with hip hop, creating Super Hero Rap and a multimedia character 'Da Great Deity Dah," says Damola. "The character created rhymes like 'measurements on the modulator in sines' all while addressing the various social justice issues of the day."

Damola has worked with more than 4000 students thus far with work heavily focused on building relationships with the community to deliver our culturally relevant and responsive curriculum. He has a background of over 27 years amplifying voices and issues affecting the community and developing solutions based on responsive engagement.

"After the funding provided by this grant, I will have built a community of teaching artists who can empower other aspiring artists to learn how to monetize their creations in an equitable manner that will build a stable community of Black artists in Pittsburgh," he says. "My gamified app will also have more users and will serve as a tool to empower artists to create their own characters and monetize and share them with the world."