We had the good fortune of connecting with Kevin Simmons and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kevin, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m originally from Johns Creek, GA – born and raised. My parents always instilled in me good practices as I navigate this world as a Black man.

One thing that I noticed in suburban ATL was the lack of diversity amongst my educators, speech therapists, medical professionals, and so forth. For me, I always felt comfortable with my Black pediatrician – someone that looked like me and one I could trust.

It wasn’t until I did some research into speech pathology that I found that there are only 4% of Blacks in the field. I was astonished. After graduating with my degree in Exercise Science and Psychology from Kennesaw State, I decided I wanted to pursue Speech Pathology for two reasons: 1) I love working with kids and hearing people’s stories so it was a no brainer for me and 2) I wanted to be that model for BIPOC individuals and increase diversity in the field of speech pathology.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Hi! I’m Kevin, a Speech Language Pathologist. I am currently in my clinical fellowship year (meaning, I have a supervisor who checks in on me, but I’m pretty independent)!

As mentioned before, I am one of few Black SLPs in the field. It’s uncommon to see Black SLPs and males for that matter too. Something that sets me apart is my brand: The Singing SLP. Who is The Singing SLP? Well, I bring laugh, dance, and singing (of course) to speech therapy to get the most involvement out of patients. On social media, I use my platform to educate other professionals about speech therapy and provide entertainment in the style of song and dance with parodies and dances.

Getting to become The Singing SLP was not easy for many of the reasons I mentioned before…As one of the only Black individuals in my cohort, I felt I had to work twice as hard and make myself presentable for parents who (may) have seen me differently or not wanted to have their child work with me. Graduate school in general is difficult and there’s a certain type of “built” someone needs to be to get over the late night studying while preparing for clients the next day and test the same day…it goes on and on. In order to overcome, I had to have my outlet. I think it’s important for everyone to have an outlet, whatever that outlet is for them. For me, it was my faith. I found focus in worship music, talking to God, crying out His name and ultimately giving all my problems to Him. Only then was I able to overcome.

Some things I’ve learned along the way is to staying true to myself and laughing when I get a chance. So many times I was deterred from my path of being who I’m meant to be. I wanted to fit the mold. I wanted to shape out what other people wanted from me. I couldn’t do that so I learned from my mistakes and grew from it; ultimately giving me strength to be my laughing, charismatic person.

This Singing SLP brand is used to bring joy, education about speech pathology, and ultimately positivity in a world that needs it!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Yikes – My friends and family always get on me, but I’m terrible with directions. Terrible. I’ve lived in this city for more than 20+ years and I promise you, I’m relying on Google Maps 20/20 times.

I’ll say this: ATL is the best city. It’s why it’s been difficult to move. I obviously can’t give you the exact street addresses, but one of the staples of my city is The Varsity…I would show them the greatest, messiest, chili hotdog they will ever have and then we’ll get to-go boxes for later. That’s a good mid-day start and then I would show them the Atlanta Zoo, Coco-Cola Center, Braves game in the Summer (can’t be beat) and show them the College Football Hall of Fame.

It’s difficult to put a timeline or even organize all these events because the city has SO much to offer, but I tell my friends not from ATL to come down and see me to enjoy the best times of their lives.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to shoutout my sister, Dominique. She’s one who inspired me to get in the medical field and increase diversity of BIPOC individuals. She continues to make great strides in her career and has always been someone I look up to.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/singingslp/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevin-simmons-94321113a/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnUt3iVYqO6-wpmzZFAukkw

Other: TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@singingslp

Image Credits
Hannah Beth Odum Photography Olivia Johnson Photography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.