Uplifting…Inspirational…Sexy…Activist…Queen YoNasda is all of these things which made THEHIPHOPDIVA.COM want to speak with her. Check out the conversation below with this week’s UNDERGROUND DIVA OF THE WEEK.
HHD (THEHIPHOPDIVA): You started in the entertainment industry as a choreographer. Why did you decide to transition to a hip hop artist?
QY (Queen YoNasDa): I started dancing on BET Teen Summit, Planet Groove, Soul Train, and I even danced and choreographed for a couple of videos, but once the wave of the video vixen came in and I was a trained dancer and I didn’t see the need of me in that part of the business. I grew up as a huge hip hop head. I engulfed myself with all aspects of hip hop from djing, graff writing, to emceeing. When I was doing the open mic circuit with a friend of mine, Sidestreet Ked from Dungeon Family was like you need to tell your story and do this rap thing professionally and that’s when I did.
HHD: Your music is very personal and you often speak of struggles that you’ve endured. What are some of those struggles that have made you who you are today?
QY: Well, I was born into the struggle. My mother was an activist and my father was a fine artist but also in and out of prison all my life. My mother was full-blooded Native American and she used to work for Muhammad Ali. She had me during the American Indian Movement’s Longest Walk. So I was born into a huge historic protest. I was the only girl born during this protest in Washington D.C. There was a time she was on the run from the Feds so we moved around a lot and we eventually settled in Arizona, but she ended up having to serve time and that’s when the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan adopted my brother and I. But through my years, I went through it all from losing my mother to lung cancer, to being homeless, to being in abusive relationships, to having a son out-of-wedlock to the struggles of being a female in the music business. But I look at it now and I am blessed and that blessing has made me able to share it and show anyone that no matter what you’re going through God got this!! He is the one that got a master plan at the end of the day. And even though we may be in darkness and not even see no glimpse of light, pain may endure for a night but the sun shines in the morning.
HHD: I would think that as the granddaughter of Minister Louis Farrakhan there was some pressure to live your life a certain way. Did you experience any pressure from your family and if so what direction were they pushing you to go?
QY: No not at all. Even when I wanted to do things that were against the way I was brought up I must say the people that were maybe dealing drugs or stripping were like ‘No you have too much to do and represent,” and they wouldn’t let me. It was crazy, they wouldn’t let me engulf myself in their lifestyles because of the amount of respect they had for my grandfather and my mother. And I must say, Minister Farrakhan is not just only a father figure to me but also a best friend and someone I went to on everything. He accepted me for who I was regardless. I came to him after I had my son, which was hard because I thought I let him down, but he understood. I was terrified when I let him hear my music, I was really wanting his approval, but he loved it. My uncle told me the other day that your mother and Farrakhan are instilled enough in you that you know what to do and what not to do. And I love them both for it because they gave room for God to do what HE needed to do, and that’s the best way to raise a child.
HHD: You speak of your son and wanting to provide a better way of life for him. What has been the greatest lesson you’ve learned thus far that you would like to teach him?
QY: I told him the other day that no matter what he chooses to do in life to believe in God first, unify humankind and have peace and humility in doing it. I want him to just do what God wants him to do and he’ll be just fine.
HHD: Listening to your music and reading your album title we would think you have a relationship with God. How does that relationship impact your music?
QY: Having a relationship and knowing God are two different things. It’s through struggle and progress and trial and learning from that trial. I don’t move til God tells me to move. We all have gifts and once we adhere to His voice and word, then we will all have a relationship with Him. It’s a struggle at times especially in this business when everyone has an “opinion” on where your music should be and where and what you should be doing and talking about. But I strive everyday to listen to God’s voice.
HHD: What statement are you making with your music?
QY: To be able to hear a nation through my music. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that no nation can rise higher than its woman. With that being said I wanna be able to rise up a nation and empower a nation and to hear the hurt and pain and the trials and tribulations of a nation through my music.
HHD: You participated with other hip hop artists in creating a song to protest the new immigration law in Arizona. Can we expect more from you to keep the momentum rolling and not let this issue fall off the radar?
QY:Most definitely, I am working on a town hall meeting Oct 30 at Phoenix College as we speak to mobilize the youth to not only protest on laws they don’t agree with but to use that voice Nov.2 on state elections. I will mos def keep THEHIPHOPDIVA in the loop as we get closer to that date.
HHD: Hip hop at one time was largely politically activated. Do you feel that today’s hip hop culture addresses society’s issues?
QY: No. I have a verse on a song “Rappers keep on rappin but they bitin they tongue -scared to tell the truth cuz they wanna hit song” so that basically is it.
HHD: What’s up next for you?
QY: I’m pumped up! My single “So Special” produced by No ID is in heavy right now. The video is coming next week which is gonna blow some heads away hahaha.. my party tape “All Hail the Queen” is dropping this month and I am re-releasing my album God.Love & Music with it as a limited time bonus with the party tape. I hope to be getting back on the road very soon. I miss the road and performing in front of the people. So please email firstname.lastname@example.org for all booking inquiries and visit www.queenyonasda.com
HHD: What is your definition of a hip hop diva?
QY: A queen with virtue!!!
Visit Queen YoNasDa at http://QueenYoNasDa.com
Become a fan of her Facebook page http://Facebook.com/QueenYoNasDa
Follow her on twitter @QueenYoNasDa