HHD: It seems as if your decision to move to New York in 1999 to establish yourself as an entertainer was the jumpstart to your career as it stands today. As a practicing criminal defense attorney in Detroit, Michigan at the time, what led you to make that decision?
LL: While I was practicing law in Detroit, I was also singing professionally as well as producing other artists. I started a music production company and when one of my artists got signed to a major record label in New York, I decided it was time to make a move.
HHD: You have given tons of relationship and life skills advice on numerous television shows and as a motivational speaker. What in your life story has prepared you to deliver such advice?
LL: I’ve always been the “go-to” person in my family and circle of friends when it comes to advice on life and love…confidante…mediator, whatever. Even during my work as an attorney and counselor at law, I was able to help guide people along their path in life and communicate their interests in ways they could not. Becoming a motivational teacher and life coach was a natural transition. I am passionate about helping people overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams.
HHD: Great speakers and contributors to society are often quoted long after they are gone. What would you like to be remembered as saying?
LL: “Why be Ordinary when extraordinary is an option?”
HHD: You are a co-founder of WEEN. What led you to take part in starting this organization?
LL: During the wake of the Don Imus controversy, myself along with my other co-founders Valeisha Butterfield, Sabrina Thompson and Kristi Henderson noticed that there was a lack of response from women ‘s groups to the derogatory comments that were made. We felt that it was imperative to start an initiative that gave women a voice in situations like this but also encouraged women to take back responsibility for the way they are portrayed in the media and society at large.
HHD: Why is WEEN important in today’s culture?
LL: WEEN is important because it empowers women through its education and mentorship programs that they can take back responsibility for their lives and the way they are perceived and portrayed. We choose not to focus on the negative but on improving on the positive. When we look at television and music videos we see so much negative. We rarely see positive, powerful portrayals of women of color. WEEN travels the country giving young women an opportunity to share intimate, interactive conversations with women who are trailblazers in their field.
HHD: If a woman would like to get involved in WEEN what should she do?
LL: She can join free at weenonline.org
HHD: You have sung background vocals for some of hip hop’s most influential artists. How do you view the role women play in hip hop?
LL: I think the role women play in hip hop is sadly diminishing. We need more women in positions of power as well as female artists that can help effectuate change in our artists’ choice of music, videos and overall market approach. Women need to speak to the need of affirming, positive music that can empower young women instead of degrade them.
HHD: Who would you consider as top influential female hip hop artists and why?
LL: It’s sad because when you asked that question I immediately drew a blank. There is really no stand out empowering woman of hip hop anymore. We miss the Lytes and Latifahs right now. I think Rihanna did a good job speaking out against domestic violence and Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys have created strong non-profit missions that benefit women around the world.
HHD: Are there any upcoming WEEN events or your personal projects that you would like us to be aware of and support?
LL: Yes I will be launching my new website early 2010 which will feature an advice/inspiration/mentoring blog which I know will be a great source of support and encouragement for women. Go to laurenlake.com and send me an email to be added to our mailing list.
HHD: What is your definition of a hip hop diva?
LL: A hip hop diva is a confident, empowered woman who seeks to let her light shine in all that she does. She never pretends to be what she doesn’t intend to be.
Check Lauren Lake out at www.laurenlake.com