In hip hop, 'real' has always meant one who represents in actuality what they present in imagery. For instance, once upon a time, if a rapper spoke about being gangsta, they needed to truly be that, or they were 'frontin.'
I was in the music industry as Amanda Diva for 10 years but I realized that I had bigger work to do and needed to get busy doing that work. I really do believe that I'm here for a bigger purpose, and I want to be a role model and speak for the black community and black women specifically. Humor was the way it felt most organic and effective for me.
I've always found inspiration in icons that were really of purpose in their craft or calling. From Bob Marley to Maya Angelou to Malcolm X, inspiration came from seeing how committed they were to their vision and determining it themselves.
Every New Year comes with a list of predictions. Self-predictions, world predictions, how many times Lindsay Lohan will get arrested predictions, etc. I reserve the annual trend for people with genuine psychic ability and/or bloggers.
Auditioning for people you know is way more stressful than auditioning for people you don't know. And you have to pretend that you don't know because they're just staring at you.
When my hair is picked out, my whole aura is picked out, like, 'See this, see me.'
For a lot of comics who aren't as silly or physical but more intellectual, we get looked at as 'alt comics.' No, I'm still a black comic, and there are black people who want to hear my type of black comedy, but that space hasn't been built out for us.
'Smart, Funny and Black' is about celebrating, critiquing and learning about black culture, black history, and the black experience.
'Smart Funny and Black' is basically a live black pop culture game show that I created. We have a live band. We have two contestants that we call 'blacksperts.' They come on stage and compete in games that I've created that test their knowledge of black culture, black history, and the black experience.
My mother is black, from Grenada, so my blackness was always there, but It wasn't until I started hanging with the upperclassmen black actors at my high school that I really got my roots in being a black American, which is a distinctly different identity and experience.
Anytime I don't have to wear a bra is a good day.
I paint because I love to paint. If someone buys the prints or whatever, so be it, but it's not my main form of business. As a performer, that is my main form of business.
When I came into stand-up, I found a certain safe space of intellectualism, of camaraderie, of excellence that really has always been natural to me but always felt foreign in the other spaces I've been in.
I've always been funny, but I never considered it as a particular career path until my early 30s, when I realized that hip-hop wasn't going to be the long term.
I look to icons like George Carlin, Chris Rock, and Richard Pryor on how to present these concepts of social change and subversiveness to an audience in a way that's palatable.
My first encounter with Wu-Tang Clan came when I ordered six CDs from those throwback catalog orders, from Columbia House or something, and '36 Chambers' was one of them. It was on from then.
I've been grinding a really long time, and I've been broke for a lot of years. I may not have looked like it because, if you're fly, you don't need a dollar - you just need charisma. But I was riding hope as currency for a very long time. I feel like now, more than ever, I'm in my purpose, and comedy is the foundation of that.
Exactly what I'm doing is what success looks like. I get to create on my own terms, on my own timeline, and I'm able to support myself and my mom and my cat comfortably.
I always say your truth is your compass to your purpose.
Even when I was in school, I was doing papers and writing poems; I always had an edge to my delivery. It was never conscious, but it was more so my organic way of thinking about things.