Interview With Yo Majesty’s Shunda K

Photo credit: Karl Walter/Getty Images

AE: I know you guys
will be at the Michigan [Womyn's Music] Festival. Have you been there before?
No, I’ve never been to Michigan before, so I’m looking forward to, you
know, scoutin’ out the land. [laughs] We’re hoping to gain some new fans and
just deliver the message — penetrate the hearts of the people with the truth
and what’s real. I’m trying to be more proactive now. The world is f—ed up,
and everybody’s just sitting on their ass, waiting on somebody else to do
something. It’s time to take responsibility, man — even if it ain’t your
responsibility. But it is if you live here on this earth. We should all want a
better place to live.

AE: Does music give
you an opportunity to further that?

SK: Hell yeah. I’m working on a song
right now where I’m talking about how there’s nothing wrong with a black president,
and I’m just getting deep. Like telling the radio stations how you know damn
well ain’t three and a half minutes enough time for anybody to tell a message.
By the time I’m done with it, it’s gonna be five minutes long and I need some
air play on it.

AE: Have people had
issues with "Kryptonite P—-" or other songs?
When they released the EP online, they sent it to all the DJs, and some
of the comments were that it was too gay. … But it’s not the typical gay track,
if that’s what you want to label it. When I listen to the EP or album, it don’t
sound like a gay EP or a gay album to me.

I just want people to be open-minded to it. You might as
well get on the bandwagon, because you’re gonna be one of the ones that now you
don’t like it but just because everyone else do, now all the sudden you like
it. I don’t want to deal with your fake ass. Keep it real, you know? We’ve had
shows where we get there and the people treat us like s—, and then after we
kill it on stage, man, they’re kissin’ our ass. After we show and prove, it’s
like: Oh, how may I serve Yo Majesty? [laughs]

AE: Your live shows
sound like they get pretty crazy.
Well, they have. Honestly, on the last tour I had the opportunity to
finish the tour on my own, which meant that I was able to get more into my
Shunda K mode. Just be myself and not feel any pressure. I did that and people
responded well. I even invited a few other artists that I know, and I know to
hold it down live, to come and finish the tour with me.

My whole set every night — I’d just tell the promoter I need
two hours to do my thing. Josh Bloom opened up the show, and he’s an indie rock
artist in Manhattan. After him I had Supahero GoGo Star go up, and they’re two
gay guys, six feet tall, black, dark and handsome, both of them. They’re into
some electronic, techno, Sylvester-type — that’s one of their role models. He
was this gay singer back in the days when being openly gay was like: Oh hell
no, are you for real? He was open with his s— and had a lot of respect for
the people.

From there, Rosetta Stoned would come up. I don’t even know
what kind of style you would call that. It’s some other kind of hip-hop. And
then I would close the show out with some Yo Majesty tracks. Then I got a
chance to do some solo stuff. It went real good. It really moved the people,
that variety of music. They were full when they left the place.

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