© 2024 WFAE

Mailing Address:
8801 J.M. Keynes Dr. Ste. 91
Charlotte NC 28262
Tax ID: 56-1803808
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
WFAE's "Finding Joy" explores stories of joy and hope, offering you a bright spot in the news landscape.

Meet VanVan, the 5-year-old rap sensation from Salisbury

VanVan, 5, of Salisbury has garnered a huge social media following for her freestyling hits and wiggling dance moves.
VanVan, 5, of Salisbury has garnered a huge social media following for her freestyling hits and wiggling dance moves.

One of the hottest newcomers in the world of rap lives in Salisbury, and she just recently learned how to write her own name.

Savannah McConneaughey is 5 years old. She goes by the name VanVan on TikTok and Instagram, where her rap videos have attracted millions of views.

She's had a meteoric rise over the last year, appearing on the "Tamron Hall Show" and performing at the Kennedy Center Honors for Queen Latifah, whom she got to meet.

To her, it feels like she's been rapping for a lifetime.

"A lot of days. For a lot of months," she said.

She started almost as soon as she could speak.

"I started when I was 2, and I just started getting better and better, and I've just been doing it for years and years," she said with a sigh.

Her father and hype man Reggie McConneaughey is a high school history teacher. He used beats to teach his daughter her ABCs and 123s.

"We would rap about numbers, colors, her alphabet. And that's how — through music, that's how I was teaching her to learn," he said.

As she grew older, VanVan became better at freestyling. Now she picks out her own beats and raps about whatever she feels like.

"I like to rap about myself. I like to rap about stuff that I like to do, and stuff that makes me happy," she said. "When the beat drops, I just feel the beat and I just get a bar."

The dad and daughter duo often practice together at home or in the car when he drives her to pre-K.

WFAE wants to hear from you! Amid all the conflict in the world, what activities are bringing you joy, comfort or happiness? Find out how to share your story with WFAE by clicking here. It might end up on the radio!

Their online videos have hashtags like #BrownSkinGirl and #BlackGirlMagic with commentators calling her the "internet's niece."

The older McConneaughey said his family has been overwhelmed by all the attention.

"When we walk down the street, people like, 'Is that VanVan? Are you VanVan's dad?' We can't go nowhere without anybody noticing her," he said.

He and his wife say they know this may be temporary. They're letting VanVan decide when she's had enough of the spotlight, or if she wants to keep developing her talent.

For now, VanVan is booked and blessed. She recently released a track with Snoop Dogg for his kids' album.

She's also performing Saturday alongside the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra with orchestral arrangements of her hit singles, and she has an album coming out in April.

She has this advice for other aspiring kid rappers:

"Work hard, never give up, just try your best, and do everything you can do."

Sign up for our Finding Joy Newsletter

Nick de la Canal is an on air host and reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal