Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Last Christmas Eve, rapper Que send me a copy of his mix-tape, and when I got the opportunity to listen to it, I was impressed with his raspy voice, mellow, yet raspy flow and his lyrics, which ranges from love, to overcoming obstacles to reaching goals. Born in Tennessee and raised in Florida, the rapper got his start like most southerners singing in church, but he later began to rap and battle his siblings, who were so impressed that they encouraged him to hone his rapping skills, which he's done. The Out rapper, who will graduating from college this week is also dropping his mix-tape which is bound to be a hit. I had the opportunity of speaking to the talented and down to earth rapper via telephone and I.M. (due to technical difficulties) and I found out that we had many things in common, and I found him to be very intelligent, mature, mellow, fun and inspiring. Here is how the interview went.

DA-PROFESSOR: Hey bro thanks for allowing me to interview you how are things going?

QUE: Things are well as of now just doing some promo work for my 3rd mix-tape and working on getting in to more fields of the entertainment industry.
DA-PROFESSOR: That's great. How did you become involved in music?
QUE:  Well, when  I was younger I was always involved in music and entertainment .. I was singing in the church as a child and doing musicals and all of that good stuff and as I  got older I  use to have rap battles with my sister and brother and then one day  I decided I wanted to take this rap thing to     awholenother  level.
DA-PROFESSOR: Interesting you went from singing in church to busting out raps. Which artists inspired you and how did they do so?
QUE: Lol yeah singing and praising the lord to rapping about this that and the other ... I would say I  have a lot of different inspirations when it comes to rap, Eminem, Busta Rhymes , and B.o.B. to name a few Eminem really influenced me to actually get deep, deep, deep into music .. but the main thing to excel me in to rap was Soulja Boi... and not in a good way I might add lol.
DA-PROFESSOR: Lol. Interesting choices I may add. I noticed that you're also a gay rapper. What made you decide to rap as an Out Rapper?
QUE: Yeeeeeesssss.....  I am in love with lyricism .... and  I  don't really consider myself an OUT Rapper or a Gay rapper. I am just a rapper that just so happens to be gay ... Example .. I  decided .. well not necessarily decided .. but in my life, I  CHOOSE not to hide who  I am and that goes with music ,acting, modeling , singing , or any other endeavor I  choose to take on I will never deny being gay .. but  I also do not make it the basis of my Art I  take my music and I  let it speak for me so its like if I   decide to talk about some Gay sh*t in my music well I guess that's what that song will be about .. not saying I am going make a song about sleeping with music because my music is not meant to lie for me or cover up my life .... but  I am also not going to use my music to examine my life either my music is to tell a story for my fans to interpret if that makes any sense.

DA-PROFESSOR: Interesting theory. I've listen to both of your mix-tapes and I noticed that you did your version of Brandy's I Wanna Be Down. What inspired you to do a cover of her debut single?

QUE: Well, I am a huge Brandy fan. I  grew up listening to her.  I watched her since she was on Thea and I  have multiple copies of all her Albums.  I  listen to her unreleased tracks and her features. She is an Amazing artist along with being an amazing person and I  look up to her.   I covered multiple songs of hers as a Tribute to her and as a way to expand the type of music I  do to show  I am not just one type of artist.

DA-PROFESSOR:  That's great. How do you fell about her comeback and recent album and what is your favorite Brandy album? What did you think of the song she did with Michael Jackson It's Not Worth It?

QUE:  Her Comeback is going great. Chardonnay is a character that really captures the essence of her acting abilities ... .Her album is constantly on replay no matter what I do. I  have to listen to it and I'm always singing along to scared of beautiful and with out you and so sick lol...  I would have to say though my all time favorite Album by her is Never say never ... so many hits and legendary singles come from that Album .... ooooooo.. Michael Jackson and Brandy ... the harmonies and melodies and rifts and runs and all of it just sends chills down my spine.. the lyrics amazing "U came into my life and it's so funny how u made everything right"  I mean something a guy like me can relate to another prime example why I  am so in love with Brandy and her music.... Michael too he has been a big inspiration to my life not only my music.

DA-PROFESSOR: You also did your version of The Fugee's Ready Or Not What inspired you to do your version of this classic?

QUE: Ready or Not??   Lol. Well  I needed something with a message and not only did the instrumental spoke to me and brought so many ideas and inspirations to me ....  I had a certain message  I wanted to get through to my fans and I  felt that I was successful in doing so.

DA-PROFESSOR: Cool. I love your version of Alicia Key's unbreakable What inspired you to do that cover and how do you think she connects with her fans?

QUE: Lol.  Well my boyfriend inspired that song ...  I  feel so much love for him that I  had to convey it through my music .... it is also is a great example of me speaking of my life without making it "Gay" for lack of a better term. Alicia Keys connects with her fans in a deeper way ... with her lyrics ... and when she gets on stage and aura comes over her and she just oozes charisma.

DA-PROFESSOR:  You also did a video with Vonte Red Ranger. I loved how the video was tasteful and intimate. What was it like working with him?

QUE: Well working with him is like working with family ... Fun and creative .. we always get along great and make amazing music.

DA-PROFESSOR: That's great. It's great to see people in the LGBT community getting along and maintaining friendships and working together. How important is it for many Blacks in the LGBT community to support and respect each other?

QUE: I  think it is super important ... don't let my friendships fool you tho.   There are many people who are against me and what I stand for .... but at the end of the day   I will always support unity and equality because if we do not stand together how else will we rise?? 
DA-PROFESSOR:  Great point. It seems like many in the community always complain about the lack of Gay and Lesbian artists, actors and performers, yet many who complain don't show support. How do you feel about their contradicting themselves?
QUE: I think that it is very foolish .. I mean we are out here busting our ass's and working hard and then not only do these people not support but they are tearing us down instead of building us up and helping us succeed .. making it harder for us to make it in this industry.
DA-PROFESSOR: True. When Frank Ocean revealed he was bi-sexual many were praising him, but when many said that they were glad Frank came out, but we need to support the artists who been representing for the community many shady ones said that we needed to not be shady while the intelligent gays said that the Out artist needed to be supported as well.
QUE:   I support  him to the fullest.  He has a very unique style and thinks out side of the box he actually wrote one of my favorite songs Scared Of Beautiful - Brandy .... of course many people say he came out as a publicity stunt .. I don't believe it. I believe it was more of him being upfront and true to himself ... because him coming out could have went either way. Really really bad or really really good... so publicity stunt ?  I think not.
DA-PROFESSOR: Now that's interesting. He also wrote for Noel Gourdin as well. Besides performing do you have any other things you like to do in entertainment?
QUE:  I would love to act ... maybe have a talk show .. but I  would love to be a judge on some type of Talent show like America's got talent .. but make it more centered towards the Rap community.
DA-PROFESSOR:  That's great. If you have the opportunity to work with -mainstream, independent and LGBT who would it be?
QUE: Brandy of course. But I would love to work with Lola Monroe, Nicki Minaj and B.o.B. .... Shorty Roc, Foxxjazzel, Swanny River, and Milan .... and  I  would love, love, love the chance to work with Frank ocean and Bruno Mars.
DA-PROFESSOR:  Excellent choices.
QUE: Yeah they are my main choices.
DA-PROFESSOR: Sadly we lost many popular legend such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, Don Cornelius of Soul Train and Dick Clark from America Bandstand. How did the death of these pioneers effected the industry and the fans?
QUE:  The death of all these people affected me in more ways than one .. they all paved the way for me as an artist to do the things that  I aspire to do in my life .. . but it really irritates me that everyone would slander people such as Michael and Whitney while they were alive, but when they died everyone wants to break down and act like they rode with them since day one?? I can not stand flip floppers if you weren't for them when they were alive why grieve them when they die???
DA-PROFESSOR: Great point People were putting MJ down saying he didn't like being Black and being weird, but when he died they began to cry and when Whitney died many still got on her for marrying Bobby, but many came to Bobby's defense.
How did Donna Summer's death affected you and what did you think of TLC and Beyonce sampling Donna's "Love To Love You Baby" for their singles "I'm Good At Being Bad" and "Naughty Girl?"
QUE: I feel like it was sweet and respectful... Donna Summer had a lot of influence for the type of music they do and it is only right to pay homage to those who come before you.
DA-PROFESSOR: Great. It's great to see young adults paying homage to Donna.You're from Florida. What is about Guys from Florida that makes people want to holla at them?
QUE: Lol. I'm from Tennessee.
DA-PROFESSOR:  OK lol what is about a guy from Tennessee that makes people wanna holla at them?
QUE: Country Boy SWAG~!!! Lol.
QUE: Lol.
DA-PROFESSOR: How did you feel about the verdict involving Trayvon Martin and do you feel about Black Gays realizing that life isn't about always partying and throwing shade and they can become target of profiling?
QUE:  I  honestly feel that the verdict was Bullsh*t for lack of a better word ... and it was an eye opener for everyone ..everyone realizes that they too can become profiled.
DA-PROFESSOR: Great quote. Congratulations on your upcoming graduation. How does it feel to be graduating college?
QUE: It feels surreal.. because I  honestly never even thought  I would go to college lol ....but now that I am graduating, I can honestly say staying in school pays off.
DA-PROFESSOR:  How do you feel you're feel you're making an impact on the music industry and the LGBT community?
QUE:  I can't really say... but I  hope I am making a positive impact on the LGBT community ... showing people never to let adversary stop them ... I have been up against so much hatred and adversary since I have been in the industry and  I never given up and I  encourage everyone else never to give up.
DA-PROFESSOR:  That's great. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
QUE:  I see my self being a icon and a role model .. I see my self hosting rap battles or judging Talent shows ... making albums and mentoring upcoming artist giving everyone a leg up.   I also see my Label Vicious Quality (VQ) being bigger than ever.
DA-PROFESSOR: How do you manage to have a relationship while pursuing your career?
QUE: Well just like any relationship it is hard ..but it helps that my boyfriend is in the industry too so we can work together and our interests don't really clash that much .. but at the end of the day you have to work at it and make a point in showing that you love and care for your partner .
DA-PROFESSOR: What advice would you give to a person who wants to enter the music industry?
QUE: If you are getting in this industry its not enough to just want it ... you have to crave it and desire it more than anything else in this game if not this game will eat you up and spit you out ... if you are doing music just to be famous then you will never make it .. do music because you want to support your family .. or simply because it is something that you love to do
DA-PROFESSOR: Great advice bro. It seems like you have a great head on your shoulder and a great future ahead of you. Thanks again for the interview and continued success
QUE: always .....oh and one more thing for the interview I live by the motto I have tatted on my arm ..."Almost Doesn't Count- Brandy"
DA-PROFESSOR: Wow you really admire love and respect her.
QUE: To the fullest.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Motown Legend Stevie Wonder is known for his classic hits, but he's also known for his activism and fights for justice and equality, and he, like many are upset over the injustice that Trayvon Martin received two days ago. Martin was racially profiled, stalked, attacked and killed by George Zimmerman, a guy who is of White and Hispanic heritage, who was part of the neighborhood watch in the area where he lived at, who saw Martin 17 walking and assumed he was a trouble maker called 911 and referred to him as a coon and a punk, and despite being told by the dispatcher to stay in the car and wait for the police to arrive decided to take matters in his own hands and follow him which resulted in a physical altercation and Trayvon who told his girlfriend over the phone that he was being followed wound up being shot and killed. Zimmerman claimed it was self-defense and used the Stand Your Ground law as an excuse for his actions. Zimmerman was found not-guilty and while there were many people including boguie Blacks who support him, there are many more people who feel that Trayvon didn't get the justice he deserved, including Wonder, who decided made an announcement during a concert; that until the Stand Your Ground Law is abolished, he will not perform in the state of Florida.

“For those who may have lost in the battle for justice, wherever that fits in any part of the world… we can’t bring them back…  What we can do is we can let our voices be heard.  And we can vote in our various countries throughout the world for change and equality for everybody.  That’s what I know we can do.
“And I know I’m not everybody.  I’m just one person.  I’m a human being.  And for the gift that God has given me, and from whatever I mean, I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again.  As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world.
“Because when I do know is that people know that my heart is of love for everyone.  When I say everyone, I mean everyone.  As I said earlier, you can’t just talk about it.  You have to be about it.  We can make change by coming together for the spirit of unity.  Not in destruction, but in perpetuation of life itself.” Stevie Wonder at his concert in Qubec.
The Award winning Legend has took part in many political protests for many decades. His 1974 top charting classic "You Haven't Done Nothing" was directed at the President Nixon scandal and his 1980 radio hit "Happy Birthday" was dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, and was a theme he used to help have the slain Civil Rights Leader have his birthday made into an national holiday. He also was very active in helping get apartheid abolished in South Africa and when he won his Oscar for his classic "I Just Called To Say I Love You" he dedicated his win to South African Activist Nelson Mandela who was in prison for fighting for equality. The South African government was pissed, and had planned to boycott Wonder's music because of his protest and support of Mandela. Wonder wasn't pressed or phrased at all. "If my being banned means people will be free, ban me mega-times" Wonder told United Press International. Stevie also lend support for his friend and former label-mate Michael Jackson when he was falsely charged of child molestation, especially after Rapper Enemem released a song and video "Just Lose It" which made mockery of MJ's trial, facial features and the burns he suffered while shooting a Pepsi commercial with his 5 brothers. Stevie called the video as 'kicking a man while he's down and bullshit.' BET stopped airing the video, and while the Slim Shady rapper continued to sell albums and win awards, his sales hasn't been as strong due to their song and protests. Stevie also went after Lil' Wayne for dissing the legacy of slain teenager Emmit Till in a remix on Rapper Future's single "Karate Chop" which featured Weezy's line 'Beat the pussy like Emmit Till.' Many Blacks were upset at the verse considering the fact that Till was killed for allegedly whistling at a White woman in the south which was segregated at the time."You can't equate that to Emmett Till," Wonder said. "You just cannot do that. ... I think you got to have someone around you that – even if they are the same age or older – is wiser to say, `Yo, that's not happening. Don't do that.' Future's label removed that part of the verse from the song and issued an apology while Lil' Wayne's endorsement with Mountain Dew ended because of the lyrics. Stevie Wonder has always put his talent to good use and always stood up for equality, and with Stevie boycotting Florida and other states that has the Stand Your Ground laws, he will continue to show others how to protest by taking the Higher Ground, while fans in those states will have to rely on listening to his music, missing out to see a talented guy who is for equality. This will let people know that certain things will no longer be tolerated.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Trayvon Martin and to others victims and survivors of Racism, Sexism, Classism and homophobia.