MC Hammer’s Daughter: ‘My Dad Is a Part of Me’

By Virginia Breen

Jun 19, 2009 5:58pm

  ABC News On Campus reporter Xorje Olivares blogs: A’Keiba Burrell is too legit to quit—well, quit college that is. Burrell, 21, attends summer school at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is pursuing a dual degree in radio-television-film and music, and will graduate this fall. By continuing her college career, particularly this past semester, the Tracy, Calif., native had to leave behind “Hammertime” for “College-time.” Yes, her father is rap sensation and ’90s pop-culture icon, MC Hammer. His family is the subject of A&E’s new reality series called “Hammertime,” which premiered June 14. “It’s like home movies on steroids,” Burrell said, trying to contain her laughter. “You get to spend time with your family, and people just happen to be there to film it.” “Hammertime,” which finished production in April, will continue for 11 more episodes this season on the cable network. Although she was seen in the premiere, Burrell was noticeably absent for much of the nearly three-month-long shoot as she continued taking classes in Austin. But she said she always found a way to go back home, whether it was for a birthday or any other family gathering. “It’s not as intrusive as people would think,” Burrell said about filming. “It wasn’t that big of an adjustment. We were just ourselves, and we got to live how we live. That’s what made it so easy.” Because of her educational background, Burrell said she was more interested in the production of the show than in being in front of the camera. She even went so far as to ask crew members about the equipment they were using. “Behind the scenes is really my life,” Burrell said. And it’s a life that has definitely seen the spotlight. “Hammertime” will actually be Burrell’s second reality show appearance since being at UT. Last year, she participated alongside other children of famous musicians in MTV’s singing competition “Rock the Cradle.” Singing is another one of Burrell’s passions. She’s had the opportunity to perform at a number of venues, sometimes even alongside her dad.
“I’ve been having to juggle school and performing with my dad all my life,” Burrell said. “You’re going to school and you’re doing this and doing that, and then Dad says, ‘Hey you want to go sing in Orlando?’ Uh, yes!” Burrell said her family has always stressed the importance of higher education, letting the kids know that before they can go with dad, or Papa Bear as they like to call him, they must complete all of their work. But sometimes work has taken a back seat, as was the case when Burrell participated on “Rock the Cradle.” She decided to take the semester off because of the grueling schedule, and is now going to graduate after nine semesters instead of the eight she had hoped. She decided to take the semester off because of the grueling schedule, and is now going to graduate after nine semesters instead of the eight she had hoped. She even missed out on a project for one of her film classes with friend and fellow RTF major, Sasha Tollette. “She’s dedicated to what she does, and she said she couldn’t pass that opportunity up,” Tollette said. “She’s really busy, but she’s a dedicated student. She’s awesome—I love that girl.” Even Burrell’s academic advisor, Susan Jackson, believes she did the right thing in following her dream, saying that students should take whatever professional opportunities are afforded them in order to grow. “No other undergraduate is managing to accomplish what she’s doing,” Jackson said. “She does a fine job of balancing everything. UT isn’t going anywhere, but an opportunity like that show comes once in a lifetime.” Although now walking in December, Burrell said she does not regret the experience. “I definitely enjoyed it,” Burrell said. “I had never been involved with something that big before, and I made some great friendships.” This Father’s Day weekend, she and the rest of the Hammers will travel to Las Vegas as she shares the stage with her younger sister, Sarah. Although she has yet to decide what she’ll do after graduation, Burrell knows that she’ll have to work hard to prove that she is capable of becoming her own star. “I don’t want to ride on his coattails. I want to earn whatever success I have,” Burrell said. Still, she added, “I embrace everything that is MC Hammer—we’re the Hammer family. I just don’t feel the need to separate myself from him—my dad is a part of me.”

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