Black history month may only be recognised as one month but in my opinion it should be everyday. Love your history everyday, love your hair everyday, love your skin everyday, anyone who tells you otherwise is trash. The amount of beautiful and empowering work and events I’ve seen, been a apart of and will soon be attending really makes a difference. They create lifelong memories that not only positively represent our race but represents out life goals and our future which I know will be amazing.
From a young age I’ve always loved music, I hopped onto the piano-wagon and honestly saw myself touring the world with it….eventually I hated the piano….but I never gave up with my love with music, somewhere deep down I knew I was meant to have a place somewhere in music, mainly because as a creative I never liked straight answer work or subjects like science or maths but I loved humanities, music, art etc the kind of things that had no definitive answer and only you could say where it started and ended, how it made you feel and what it is. What you create will mean a lot of different things to different people but no-one but you can say what and this is why I loved music, what it still means to me.
I literally went through so many instruments just to find it. Eventually I found I loved playing the guitar, invested in a local music academy and once I graduated from there I’ve made sure to not stop playing. Partially I was afraid of losing the ability to play because I loved it so much during my exams at sixth form, but one thing I’ve learnt is that if you love something hard enough and you put in the effort it’s pretty hard to forget about it.
I found out about Justy’s music on Instagram, I just related so much to her origin story and music. As a young, black creative myself I understood what it was like to get your name out there, not for fame, but to create a difference and change lives in a multitude of ways. With being a creative, a lot of us can agree that when someone comments, someone watches, someone likes your work online etc. It makes everything you’re doing worthwhile because for that one post, that one video, that one art design or that one song you’ve made someone feel good and trust me it is THE BEST FEELING EVER. So when I was scrolling through Justy’s work on SoundCloud and @JustyMusic, witnessing her work and efforts I just had to interview her I knew exactly the kind of impact she had and would continue to have. You guys really need to check out her latest song ‘If I was your girlfriend’ it has my JOD Fab stamp of approval
3) What inspired you into this industry?
I might have been 12/13 when I was watching this Hannah Montana episode where she forms a band or something. I remember seeing that and calling my best friend like “hey we’re going to start a band okay?” From that point on I’ve been all about music and I’ve taken years to learn about the industry, work in the industry just become fully immersed in my work.
4) Contemporary black role model?
I’m a big fan of Shonda Rhimes. I admire any writer who has the will power and perseverance to tackle industries which are normally dominated by white people. It shows ones true passion for what they do and more importantly it shows their belief that they can break through whatever wall has been placed up against them. Shonda Rhimes has successfully built an empire on television that is consumed by people of all races/ages/genders/sexualities, and for me that’s an evident sign of true success.
5) Who inspires you from the civil rights movement?
As cliché as it may be, I have to go with MLK. One of the things that’s stands out to me every time I further educate myself with MLK’s work is his persistence. He persistently tackled discrimination with a poise many of us wouldn’t be able to demonstrate had we encountered the same brutality.
In many ways MLK literally translates the biblical saying “turn the other cheek,” and his stance on civil disobedience is amicable to me because I feel as if it takes the strongest of individuals to hide their fists and bite their tongues in the midst of such blatant disrespect. To me that’s a true sign of resistance, not reacting how everyone would expect you to react. Standing strong in your moral and delivering your message through your words.
6) Where is your family from?
My mom is British West Indian so she spent most of her life between Jamaica and England, and subsequently the U.S. Though our family roots are spread from England, Germany, Syria, and even China.
7) Advice for young black people?
Remember your purpose. Remember God intended for you to be exactly who you are. Look exactly how you look. You may find times where you self-loathe. You may find instances where you deal with colourism, and you simply don’t love yourself. That’s okay, that is a part of evolving as a human, but please remember above everything and anything God created you, and God is love. You are a product of love. You are special and you are meant for greatness. Please don’t ever let anything worldly tell you otherwise. With God within you and beside you, you can accomplish anything.
8) A problem you have faced because of your race
I knew from a pretty young age that I would have to work exceptionally harder because I was black. I was always very school oriented, very smart, highest marks, and I just graduated college with a 3.9 GPA but all throughout my years in study, I knew that perhaps if I wasn’t black, I wouldn’t have to excel so exceptionally. I could have easily settled for mediocracy, but I knew that I, a black female, couldn’t afford to do that. I don’t use that as a halt in my success or fully achieving my purpose, it’s just a recognition, an acknowledgement and acceptance of how sociology and psychology work.
9) The best thing about being black
Where do I start?! I mean physically we are so beautiful. We have so many beautiful shades, beautiful hair, lips, eyes, noses, we are just beautiful people. But on a personal level I believe that being black has made me so strong. I thank God for making me exactly as I am because I don’t think I would have this much strength if I were any different.
10) Have you faced discrimination because of the industry you are in or lifestyle you live?
I don’t think I’ve experienced discrimination as much as I’ve experienced more challenges. Of course being a musician you’re up against what feels like the entire world. Of course there are people who are more talented than you and who have more of a fan base/social media following, whatever it may be, but as a black female artist I can’t help but take note of the more challenging aspects. I know I work a lot harder than certain artists because I have more to prove.
11) Favourite quote?
Amy Winehouse used to say “I love to live and live to love,” it’s simple yet poignant. That’s what life is about to me. Living in your purpose, and loving unconditionally. When I’m at this point in life where I can really say I love what I’m doing, I love where I am, I love who I’m with, I’ll look back at that quote and smile because though her life was cut short, I believe Amy had the desire to live and love and be loved. Unfortunately the good tend to die young, right?
12) Favourite black musician?
I’m very biased due to my heritage but definitely Bob Marley. This is a man who didn’t have proper formal education and yet he went on to write songs like “Redemption Song?” That’s true talent, that’s God. I feel like Bob fully loved his purpose even though he unfortunately didn’t have much time with us. He’s a Jamaican icon and a staple in music and I hope, if given the chance one day, I could really portray his story in some way so the generations to come know that he’s more than just that guy with dreads you see on T-shirts.
13) What do you hope to change in the world?
I hope people really come to learn to live cohesively even if they have varying political beliefs, religious beliefs, preferences etc. in my opinion, God put us on this Earth, this is his world, and he created us to be exactly how we are , from race to preference, so with that in mind, we should be more understanding and loving of people ESPECIALLY the people who seemingly hate with a passion because in all honesty those people need love the most.
14) Misconceptions about your industry
A lot of people don’t understand the business of the music business. They don’t understand deal construction, they don’t understand what the artist actually makes money on, why it’s better for some artist to stay independent, etc so I feel as if it’s important to educate oneself on all aspects of the business if you want to be apart of it.
15) In a year where would you like to be
In a year I will be closer to getting my publishing deal(song writing) or I’ll have it already. I’ll also be in my first year of pursuing my Masters of Fine Arts. I like to speak of things as affirmatives because I trust in God’s purpose for my life.
16) What does being a black woman mean to you?
Being a black woman means strength. We are such beautiful and divine beings. So elegant. So inspirational. The black woman is a work of art. A timeless piece that defies the societal standards time by time.
17) If you could talk to your 10 year old self what would you say?
I would tell her to look up when she speaks to people, speak clear, and speak loud. She doesn’t have anything to feel inferior about. She doesn’t have anything to fear. She is beautiful. She is smart and God has a purpose to make her great. I put drill self-confidence into her because so many girls lack that. So many people speak without making eye contact which is a tell-tale sign of lack of self-assurance.
18) What motivates you to continue?
God. My knowledge and acceptance that God has a purpose for my life inspires me to keep pushing forward so I can fully live that purpose.
19) What does Black History Month mean to you?
To me, Black History Month is the societal recognition, however I feel as if every being should feel proud in their skin and culture every single day. I don’t need a month to remind me of how proud and how much I acknowledge the black culture, however I am grateful that there is an overall declared month to signify this appreciation.
20) What type of music are you into
I’m a bit of an old soul so a lot of older tunes, Bee Gees, Al Greene, Barry White, it really ranges all over and across various genres but my overall favourite artist is Amy Winehouse.
21) Where do you get your inspiration from for your music?
Usually my love life lol everything I write is autobiographical even if I’m references other parties but I’m all for it. I think there’s a certain vulnerability in my music that my supporters appreciate and it’s very therapeutic for me to express that.
22) Do you think there’s enough representation of queer black women in the music industry?
Absolutely not and I feel like it’s something that needs to be addressed by bigger artists. It’s ironic because most successful big name artists have a large LGBTQ+ fan base and yet they never point out the lack of representation in the industry. Honestly, the music industry seems very boring to me at the moment, everyone’s like “it’s such a good time in music, we can collaborate freely etc” but to me it’s all still super safe to me. Because of this, I’m going to actively be the change I want to see. It’s time for something new and fresh. It’s time for different people to be represented because the consumers are the same people who are being underrepresented ! There’s absolutely no reason why there can’t be a major mainstream queer artist, and I’m not talking people in a sub-genre like rap, I’m talking mainstream on Beyoncé, Adele, Rihanna, level. The industry needs to take a risk and just go for it.
I absolutely loved interviewing Justy and I hope you guys loved it too. Have an amazing Black History life (it means more than a month💖) and make it wonderful. Love you guys and see you in the next post.
– Love JOD