Lashunda Nicole Flowers oral history interview

Citation
Lashunda Nicole Flowers oral history interview

Material Information

Title:
Lashunda Nicole Flowers oral history interview
Creator:
University of South Florida -- Library. -- Special & Digital Collections. -- Oral History Program

Subjects

Genre:
Oral history. ( local )
Online audio. ( local )
letter ( marcgt )
Oral history ( local )
Online audio ( local )

Notes

General Note:
Full cataloging of this resource is underway and will replace this temporary record when complete.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Dr. Cyrana Brooks Wyker.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
L34-00022 ( USFLDC DOI )
l34.22 ( USFLDC Handle )

USFLDC Membership

Aggregations:
Added automatically
LGBT Oral History Project

Postcard Information

Format:
Audio

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
xml version 1.0
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd leader ntm 22 Ka 4500controlfield tag 008 s flunnn| ||||ineng datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a L34-000222 USFLDC DOI0 245 Lashunda Nicole Flowers oral history interviewh [electronic resource] /c interviewed by Dr. Cyrana Brooks Wyker.500 Full cataloging of this resource is underway and will replace this temporary record when complete.Transcription and timecoding of this interview is underway and will be added when complete. At that time the audio link will be replaced with the OHPi player link (player supporting syncronized audio and full-text transcription).7 655 Oral history.localOnline audio.local710 University of South Florida.b Library.Special & Digital Collections.Oral History Program.1 773 t LGBT Oral History Project4 856 u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?l34.22


xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript
segment
idx 0
time 00:00:0.0
text Cyrana Wyker: This is Cyrana Wyker. I am here with Shunda K. It is January 27, 2014. This interview is part of the Tampa GLBT Oral History Project under my direction. Do I have your permission to record this interview?
1
00:00:19.1
Lashunda Flowers: Yes.
2
00:00:20.5
CW: Okay, so we will just start with when and where were you born?
3
00:00:24.0
LF: I was born in Tampa, Florida, but I am from Plant City. We call it Itty bitty Plant City, the home of the strawberries, strawberry festival, good eatin.
4
00:00:36.7
CW: What year were you born?
5
00:00:38.9
LF: 1980.
6
00:00:40.5
CW: So, that makes yousorry
7
00:00:42.2
LF: Thirty-three years young.
8
00:00:43.8
CW: Yeah. So, you grew up in Plant City? What was that like as a young kid?
9
00:00:53.0
LF: I mean, it was basically country livin for me. You know, my grandparents raised me. And so, they came up during the time of sharecropping, like the end of slavery. So, they was used to hard work. I worked in the fields. I knew how to pick peas and hoe the weeds out of a squash, you know, just the whole aspect of farm life. Its basically my upbringing. I mean, it was a pretty simple life, I think. I was a kid that was never really into materialistic stuff.
10
00:01:37.0
So, I didnt have a lot of name-brand clothes and shoes and different things like that. But I think the best part of my childhood was my athletics, my basketball, trackanything to do with athletics. I held unto that, because I just always felt like I was by myself. You know, it was a big generation gap between myself and my grandparents. So, they didnt really understand a lot of things, because they didnt even go to school.
11
00:02:6.8
They always pushed me to go to school, but they couldnt understand why the hell I always had to be doing something, all these extra-curricular things, you know, just go to school and thats it. But I was fortunate to graduate high school with honors. I got an athletic and an academic scholarship to college. So, I played ball at HCC for a year. And I got a taste of real life, the real world I guess I should say.
12
00:02:31.7
During that first year of college So, when you was asking me about coming out, this is when I came out was my first year of college. I was at HCC for like two or three months, and one of the girls on the team was like, Yall wanna go to the gay club? And Im like, Hell yeah. Cause all my life I desired to be with a woman. Thats what I wanted, but I was raised in a religious household.
13
00:02:57.8
I was condemned to hell if I would have ever felt that way. My mom is gay. So, a lot of the times growing up, my grandma, you know, she asked me, Shunda, do you feel that way? Do you have those feelings? And, of course, I was like, Hell to the no, because my grandma would have tore my ass up. So, I get to college. Its like this opportunity to go to the gay club. Im like, Hell, yeah. I go to the gay club. And its like, Yeah, this is where I need to be.
14
00:03:30.2
So, I done hooked up with this girl. We girlfriends and shit. And its just like this is whats up. This is my life. This is what I want to do. I felt like a sense of freedom, you know. And from there, I mean, you know, I started Well, Im gonna just keep it real with you. So, I meet this girl. Go to the gay club. She was theI was still feminine at the time because, you know, Im coming out of high school, living with my grandparents.
15
00:04:13.4
So, me and her were together for maybe like six or seven months, I found out shes cheating on me and sleeping with dudes, and shes supposed to be the man in the relationship. So, it just completely like, Okay, I need to be the man, apparently. I went through this whole transformation, changing my dress. You know, because I was comfortable being feminine, but once I started dating women and to, you know, be gay and continuously get hit on by men, its like, Okay, I need to switch up something.
16
00:04:40.9
You know, so I had to switch up my dress. And so, I left her alone, because I dont do the dick dykes, you know. So, I find me a feminine one, at the same club. Im in the club one weekend and Im like Ah, whats up? Like, a black Barbie and shit, so we hook up. Now she turned me on to the whole strip club lifestyle. Now, even though I was dressing more masculine, I was still like a little girl.
17
00:05:12.7
Im just fresh out of high school, you know what Im saying, so I kind of took ahold of that and I didnt have the support that I thought I was going to have from my grandparents even though I graduated high school with honors, academic, athletic scholarship. So, things was rough, because I moved out, and thats when I came out. Once I moved out of my grandparents house to start college at HCC, I was basically on my own.
18
00:05:43.0
So, I had to maintain. I was getting money from scholarships and stuff like that, but it doesnt cover all of your expenses. So, I tried the stripping thing, right. My first day I made three-hundred dollars. Im like, Okay, I can do this. So, me and the girl, the feminine girl, my second girlfriend, we up in the strip club getting paid. So, I was with her for maybe seven, eight months, find out she was cheating on me. And so, Im like Okay, I had to just take a break from dealing with women.
19
00:06:19.8
I had dropped out of college. I had become like a depressed alcoholic. I mean, Im like nineteen years old going through this crazy stuff, because I wasyou know, I lived a sheltered life, so when I stepped out on my own it was like, damn, the real world. Its a cold world, you know what Im saying? Its not peaches and cream. So, I went through that or whatever, and I continued stripping, and stuff like that. But then, its like, Okay well, I cant do this all my life, so I start selling drugs.
20
00:06:53.6
You know, and since I got all the contacts in the strip club, Im like, Okay, Im gonna just let the girls sell the drugs for me, that way its no liability to me. They know all the costumers. They know all the other strippers. Im just gonna collect. So, I did that for a few years. And I said, Well, this is not really poppin, and all this time, Im working on my music. Im doing my music. I created the name Yo Majesty when I was eighteen.
21
00:07:24.6
So, before I left home I created the name Yo Majesty, started getting into the music. So, after all this with trying to sell the drugs and stuff, and people getting busted, and me barely missing getting busted, like five or six occasions, its like, Okay, I need to figure something else out. I went back to college. I ended up getting my associates in business administration.
22
00:07:47.1
So, when you talk about being home, doing home-schooling, basically what you doing, thats how I got my degree. So, all this while Im still doing my music. I meet up with Shon B. whos another third of Yo Majesty. Theres three of us. So, we hook up. We start doing some local shows around here in Tampa. And we flowing and everything, but were like, Man, you know, we killin it with the rap, but we need somebody that can sing. So, we meet Jwl B. and thats how Yo Majesty come about.
23
00:08:23.3
So, I mean, were grinding this music. Were like, okay, were just gonna work, just going to believe. Were going to believe that were going to be superstars one day. And so, for seven years, from 2000 to 2007 when we got the record deal, thats what we did. We just worked on music. We recorded hundreds of songs and, you know, just believe that it was gonna happen. And we were fortunate, our producer was living here in Tampa.
24
00:08:52.3
We met him in 2002. Hes from London. So, he recorded a lot of music for us. He ended up going back to London like in 2006, shopping us around, 2007 were in London signing a record deal. It took time. We had to go through a lot. I mean, we were so poor, we eatin rice and tomatoes, you know, just whatever we can just to survive and just believing in our dream. You know, like, damn, man, our shit is hot. Were gonna make it. And so we did.
25
00:09:28.7
We seen that dream coming to fruition. And once that happened, that changed my whole life, because when that happened I realized that everything that you want out of life you have to work extremely hard for. Nobodys going to give you anything. Its not gonna fall into your lap, but it can happen. You know what Im saying? But you can have all the faith in the world, but without the work, its dead. Faith without work, its dead.
26
00:09:58.2
So, you have to put the two together and thats what makes it happen. And thats what we did. We toured for a few years, but even Yo Majesty we had our, I guess, disagreements. That came to a stop as far as the group. We split up. We tried to put it back together. Even now were trying to put it back together, but it may happen and it may not happen. You know, so whats important for me is me and what I want out of life, and not put my life on hold for somebody else or bow down to bullshit.
27
00:10:40.0
You know, dealing with unnecessary shit. Id rather just bejust do my own thing instead of having to deal with all this crazy stuff, because, you know, the older you get you realize that a lot of the stuff that weve been taught, and a lot of the things that were living for, a lot of the things that were working so hard for, is just an illusion. Its fake. You know, it doesnt matter in the end, because when youre dead and gone you cant take none of this shit with you. None of it.
28
00:11:5.9
So, thats where I am out now. I mean, I had to takeI, actually in 2011, I had a tour set up with Yo Majesty. We were going to go to Australia. We were going to do a Mexico tour. And I just felt like something was missing. You know, I believe in Jesus Christ. Thats what we talked about. We promoted the gospel, and it really encouraged a lot of people all over the world, because, you know, gay people are told that you doomed to hell, youre going to hell, you cant have a relationship with god, he hates you. Blaise-squasia(?)
29
00:11:45.8
And with people seeing us on that stage, with those words coming out our mouth, god is love. Its okay for you to have a relationship with him. They were really encouraged. People coming up after the show in tears, like, How do you do it? You know, you just have to do it. You cant listen to what other people say, but its important to have your own relationship.
30
00:12:6.4
So, just seeing all of that stuff, man, it was a blessing. So, we had this tour set up, but I felt like something was missing even with all of that, all of the good news we were giving to people about the lord, and stuff like that. So, I started doing some research and learning about how people selling their souls for fortune and fame, just how the governments have lied to us, and how everything that we thought was true it really isnt.
31
00:12:36.1
And so, thats where I am at in my life right now. And so, for the past couple years, Ive just been doing research. Like my Facebook page, just nothing butI dont know if youve been to my Facebook pagebut Im just on the truth. Straight up. Because that is what makes us free. Were in America, supposed to be the land of the free, but we are the most enslaved people on this earth.
32
00:12:58.8
You know, so when I traveled around the world and peopletheyre free, people outside of this country. I mean, theyre free, but here we are. Were working our whole life. I watched my grandparents; man, they worked like dogs for nothing. You tryinthis is nothing. None of this shit. The smartest people in this world are the people that choose to be homeless, because they realize that its just vanity.
33
00:13:32.9
It doesnt even matter. Its nothing. Its not important, you know what Im sayin. So, that is where my mind and my heart is. Its on whats real. I want to encourage the people. I want to expose the whole truth so that we can get our minds right, our souls right, cause thats whatits life after death, you know what Im sayin, and what you do on this earth is going to determine where you go.
34
00:13:56.9
Either its going to be eternal peace or its gonna be eternal damnation. Cant nobody judge you. Cant nobody say, Oh, youre gonna go to hell because you do this Its only one judge and thats the creator. So, thats why you have your ownI got my own relationship with God. So, people want to make me feel like, Oh youre not worthy. Youre ass going to hell. Youre gonna burn. Okay, whatever.
35
00:14:21.9
But I know. I know because I have my own relationship, and I have a peace and thats what everybody needs. Everybody needs that peace, man, but, you knoweverybodys stressed out right now, because they wantthey so stressed out. They want all this materialistic stuff. Living above their means. Theyre so stressed out about losing their house. Let it go! Let it go. Downsize. Downgrade.
36
00:14:45.6
Even if you got to get on publicgive the damn $400 a month car payment car back and get your ass on the bus, you know what I am saying. Its easy. But weve been conditioned and programed to believe that its all about having these possessions, like thats what life is all about and its not. Were supposed to be happy. Were supposed to be enjoying ourselves, but were not, because we dont have time.
37
00:15:15.2
We work. They work us all day, all week. And then on the weekend, itsthats not enough time to rest. You know, so, but youre trying to just fit everything that couldnt do during the week, because you had to work all week, fit it into a couple days, and by the timeyour whole life is just wasted on bullshit. But, Im taking a step back and looking at whats real. Im going to be in control of my life and my destiny. Im not gonna let nobody else run my life.
38
00:15:47.1
CW: Was it difficult for you to reconcile religion and your sexuality?
39
00:15:57.4
LF: At first it was. Um, but just this past couple years I realized that religion was created by the devil himself. Because religionit causes division and separation and Oh, well my religion better than yours. Its only one truth. Its not all these different denominational truths. Its only one. And none of the religions that are out there is truth. Its all fake. Its all man made. Its notits not what were supposed to be doing according to the scriptures.
40
00:16:35.4
You know, and I believe in scriptures. I know that the bible was tampered with, but the foundation of it is on point. Its accurate. The prophecies, they are accurate, you know what Im saying. The name was changed. Jesus means dirty earth pit. I found that out. The true name of the son of the creator is Emmanuel. I found that out, because when were calling on these idle gods, and worshipping, you know, pagan religions and stuff like, that were actually cursing ourselves.
41
00:17:15.6
How can you be praying to the devil, but you believin in God, because of a name? It got to match up. Its only one name. You know, thats what Ive been trying to get down to like the truth. So, its taken me a couple of years to do it, and I have, and I still dont know shit compared to the truth. I just know the tip of the iceberg. Theres just so much that weve been deceived about. Schoolits a farce, you know what Im saying? You know, its aboutIm fifty thousand dollars in debt.
42
00:17:56.0
I have a bachelors degree in entertainment business and Im fifty thousand dollars in debt for nothing. Because really the degrees that I have, I learned that by hands on experience, not from sitting in the classroom or going online learning. I had to, you know, physically interact with everything, all of the knowledge that you gained from going to school, you have to physically do itwell, at least for me. I have to be hands on.
43
00:18:27.7
You know, Im sitting in the class and I dont understand shit, but as soon as I am going out in the world, now, I understand and soeverything, man. I tell people all the time on my Facebook page its time to unlearn what weve been taught. We need to strip ourselves down. We seewe was in school. I hardly ever paid attention to theI dont even see how I graduated with honors.
44
00:18:58.8
The last nine weeks of my senior year I had all Fs. It was a hustle. I said, Okay, I got all Fs. So, all this work I am missing in each class, I am going to see if my teacher will let me turn it in for half credit, whatever she want to give me, and Im going to get the work from people that have done it already, just copy their shit. And thats what I did. So, nine weeks worth of work, I just copied other peoples shit for all of my classes.
45
00:19:27.1
Came out with a 4.3 GPA when I was fixin to fail, but it was a hustle, because its fake. Its a hustle, you know what Im saying. Like, I didnt learn shit in school. You know, it wasnt until I got out into the real world, you know, to where I was really learning stuff, reading and stuff like that. Yeah, but Im talking about truth. You know, history.
46
00:19:52.1
CW: You mentioned that yourare your grandparents from Florida?
47
00:20:4.8
LF: Um, well, no, theyre not. My grandmother was from Alabama, my grandfather was from Chicago, and so they moved here.
48
00:20:15.1
CW: After they got together or
49
00:20:17.9
LF: Yeah, after they got together. I know that theyve been here all of my life, at least thirty-three years. And Im sure before then, too, because all of my aunts and cousins and stuff like that, they were here before I was born. Itstheyve been here for a while. My grandma, she passed a couple years ago. She was like eighty-five. So, shed been around for a while.
50
00:20:47.4
CW: And they were sharecroppers?
51
00:20:49.9
LF: Yes, you know, they worked. I mean, the stories that I would hear, Lashunda, we didnt have a chance to go to school. We had to get up and go to work and you betta not lay your ass down when daddy tell you to get up. You betta get your ass up and get ready to go out to them fields, and there wasnt no playin. We didnt play, we worked.
52
00:21:14.1
You know, thats what they did. They worked from sun up to sun down, you know what Im saying, just to survive and, you know, to have a place to stay. You know, you obey; they came from the era where you obey authority. Dont rebel, dont question it, but me and my generation: fuck authority! I am the authority. Because you realize that we allits not a black or white thing. Everybody is a slave in America, for real. Get up seven oclock, got to be to work by nine, get off at five.
53
00:21:55.7
You make 250,000 dollars a year. Thats good money, but how much is the company youre working for make? Are they giving you a million dollar bonus check and theyre a multi-billion dollar corporation? Hell to the nah. I mean, its a big ass gap between the money you make at 250,000 dollars and the money the people that you work for make, the company. Thats notthats modern day slavery to me.
54
00:22:24.1
You know, and then even though youre making 250,000 dollars, everything you have, especially your house, you never own it. You still got to pay taxes every damn month or every year. You feel me? You pay car insurance. For what? Why you gotta pay car insurance. You been paying car insurance for thirty damn years they done made a million dollars off of your ass, five hundred dollars, three hundred dollars, you know what Im saying. Its crazy.
55
00:22:54.7
CW: Yeah, thats true.
56
00:22:57.1
LF: It doesnt evenits crazy man. They pimpin our ass out. All the money we make we give it right back to em, because its only a few people that own everything. They own the insurance companies. They own the clothing lines. They own everything. Everything we go to the restaurants, sports teamsthey own it all.
57
00:23:17.3
CW: So, what did your grandparents do when you were growing up, when you were younger?
58
00:23:25.1
LF: Well, my grandmother, she worked. She was a cook. So, she cooked in restaurants and my granddad, he worked in warehousehe worked for Lykes Brothers for a long time. The Lykes meat company, they had a big warehouse out of Plant City. So, he worked there for a long time. You know, these peoplemanual labor. Straight up. They didnt have an education, you know what Im saying.
59
00:23:48.5
So, that was like another thingyou know, were going to deprive you from going to school just so you cant get these kind of jobs, because were going to reserve these jobs for people that went to school, which, you know, not being racist, was mainly the Caucasian race. So, it wasbut now, everybody, everybody a slave. We all been slaves, but now its just more evident, you know, what Im saying, but weve all beenwere all victims.
60
00:24:20.4
CW: And how did your grandparents take your coming out?
61
00:24:26.8
LF: Ah, god. My grandmother, man, she cussed me out so bad one night, I swear I was talking to Satan. It was so like, the combination of cuss words that she put together, like, it was just like, Oh my god. Ive never heard anything like this before. You know, and I just felt soit just really fucked with my spirit so bad. I was down. I was justI went into this dark place for about thirty minutes. I felt like I was in hell.
62
00:25:2.0
Just in my mind, she talking like this and, you know, it was crazy. Because this is what happened this particular day: So in 2003, I had got a revelation. I was studying Islam. I studied a lot of religions now. So, I said, Well I got a revelation. Im not going to be gay anymore. Im gonna get saved. Right, this is what black people say. So, I go to church one weekend, and I go to my cousins church. They had a guest pastor, a preacher, and Im like, Man, this brother, he anointed. He was an attractive guy.
63
00:25:50.2
Im attracted to guys, but its not like, Oh damn, I want to hop on a dick. Nothing like that, but Im like, Oh, he cute. You know, Im woman enough to say that. But me, I am tryingand then another reason at this particular time, I said, Well, if I give up the lifestyle my grandma would be happy. This would really make her proud and I wanted to please my grandma.
64
00:26:21.6
And so, I called, and I said, Well mama, I aint going to be gay no more. Im not gay no more. Some shit I told her. Im gonna move home. So, I move home. I go to this church service. This guy is there and everything. And Im like, Okay, is that my husband? And you, so know, Im listening to the message and afterwards I get introduced to him. We met and, you know, the next day or whatever we go out.
65
00:26:46.0
Were talking. So, me and this guy end up getting together. We get married. This is 2003. The marriage wasnt legal though, because he was already married. So, there was stuff that he was keeping from me. When we went to the courthouse to get married, it just so happened it wasnt a priest there. So, he was like, Well, you can just take the paperwork to your pastor, or whatever, and you got to send it in for it to be legit.
66
00:27:12.8
And we neverit was optional to have the pastor do a ceremony, so we were like, We just want to work it out. We will send it in. So, he was like, Okay, Ill take care of it. And he never did. And Im glad, because I never wanted to be divorced. I never wanted to go through that. So, me and this guy get together and we ended up being together for maybe like a year and a half.
67
00:27:39.4
I moved up to Newborn, North Carolina with him. And we was going through a lot of shit, and he had left to go to truck driving school, and so we was already beefing when he left. So, when he didnt call me after the first week I was like, hmm. This nigga done left me, right? Why this nigga done left me? Im in a whole different state. Oh, hell nah.
68
00:28:12.4
So almost before the end of the second week, Im like, Okay, Im fixing to pack up everything I can, and Im fixing to go back home, and thats what I did. I get to my grandmas house, back home, he come calling me, Hey, I couldntit wasnt no phones around, or some shit he was telling me. Like, okay. Now let me back up a little bit.
69
00:28:32.8
As soon as I get to Florida, my cousin, shes like, girlshe come to the house, so shes like, Somebody want to talk to you. So, she hand me the phone. Its this girl from school. Ive had a crush on you all this time. Im like, True? So, me and the girl, we done hook up by the time this dude calling me. Like, its over. Im back where I want to be. Im back where I am supposed to be. You feel me? This is what I want.
70
00:29:1.8
So, hes like, Well, Im gonna come there, or whatever, and Im like, Okay, but Im seeingas far as Im concerned its over. Im done, you know. So, he moves in with my grandparents and myself. And I was probably there the whole time he was there maybe about three or four times, and so we would have to sleep in the living room, and Im likeIm on this end. Hes on this end.
71
00:29:35.7
Hes trying to getIm like (makes audile noise), Dude, Ive got a girlfriend. Im good. So, anyway, so my grandma this whole time didnt know what was going on. She didnt know that I was seeing a woman. She didnt know nothing. She just thought, Okay, they beefing. Theyre back together now. So, theyre gonna work it out. So, he left.
72
00:29:55.9
He had to go back and do his training shit. And this nigga wildin out on the road, I guess he had such a panic attack, cause I left him, and now they got to rush him to the hospital and shit, and he making this big deal. So, he done called my grandma and telling her what done went down. He finally told her, Shunda is seeing a woman. Its where she at right now and we never were back together. This whole time that Ive been there shes been dealing with a woman.
73
00:30:22.7
My grandma called me. Thats when she justshe was just so mad at me for leaving this man, who is supposed to be a preacher, but here he is already married. My first conversation I had with him, I asked him, Do you have kids? No, I dont have kids. And Im a spiritual person. The spirit of the Lord said, Yes, he does. He has a son and a daughter. And I said, Yes, you do you have a son and a daughter. And hes looking at me like, How the hell you know that? And its like, You dont have to lie.
74
00:30:56.3
Throughout the relationship, he would try to use the bible to control me and shit like that. One day I told him, I said, Im more He was like, You act like you the man in this relationship. I say, I am the man. I think I had on a dress. I had done grabbed my crotch like, Bitch, I am the man. (laughs) Hes like, You just know how to make somebody feel smaller than an ant, or whatever.
75
00:31:24.6
So, you know, that whole experience, it just, I guess, drove my grandma to this place to where she felt like, Damn, she all in, even being married to a pastor couldnt change her., you know what Im saying. So, that night it was pretty hard as far as the shit she was talking about. But towards the end of her life, we was good. She learned how to respect me, because I demanded it. I no longer let her talk shit.
76
00:32:1.2
I believe in honoring your mother and your father. I believe in that. I never was disrespectful, but I let her know, You cant continue to talk to me any kind of way, because the Lord loves me too; and the bible says touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm, because you bring some harm to yourself by your mouth.
77
00:32:23.3
And you have to treat people right, because if not, something can happen to you, and youre not supposed to judge people, because that same judgment youre putting on them, that shit gonna come back on you. Just stick to your ownlike, keep your nose out of other peoples business, live your life, if its something you dont agree with, thats fine, but you dont have to put nobody else down, because you dont agree with them or whatever, you know what Im saying.
78
00:32:55.5
My granddaddy, he always tell me, It dont cost nothing to be nice, Lashunda, it doesnt cost you a thing to be nice. And my grandfather, he was just like, you know, he would talk shit, but he didnt care. You know, he was just like, Thats my baby. He would love it when I would bring my girls around. He like all in there flirting with them. Im like, look at my dad over there flirting with my girl.
79
00:33:19.0
But it was cute and it was cool, and I love my daddy and I love my grandma. I mean, I thank the lord for them. They kept me and my brother out of foster care, because my mom was strung out on drugs. My dadhe was there in the form of child support. I would see him sometimes and I have got other siblings that we share the same father.
80
00:33:42.8
And so, I see him sometimes, hang out with him and whatever, but it wasnt a tight, tight relationship. So, I thank god for my grandparents. They, like I say, kept me out of foster care, and thats a harsh life for people that have to grow up in foster care, because you know, nobodys monitoring making sure those kids are taken care of. Its all kind of evilness go on in foster homes and stuff like that, you know what Im saying.
81
00:34:12.6
CW: Right.
82
00:34:14.3
LF: So.
83
00:34:16.2
CW: When you went to HCCwere you living with your grandparents then or did you move out?
84
00:34:22.6
LF: When I first started I was, but then like two months into school, I moved to Tampa. And once I moved to Tampa and then once I moved to Tampa __(?).
85
00:34:31.4
CW: And then how many years after did you get quote unquote married?
86
00:34:38.0
LF: I started at HCC in 98. I dropped out in 99. I was doing the lil stripper thing from like 99 to 2001, the drug thing from like 2001 to 2003, and then 2003 was when I picked up the dude.
87
00:35:0.4
CW: So you said went to the gay bar, which gay bar did you go to?
88
00:35:6.1
LF: Cherokee. You remember Cherokee?
89
00:35:8.1
CW: No, I moved to Tampa in 2002. So I think Cherokee might have been before my time.
90
00:35:18.3
LF: It was. Oh my god. Cherokee was the shit. I loved Cherokee. So, it was Cherokee, then they have the Harbor Club, which is off of Nebraska across room the dog track. You know where the dog track is? It was kind of adjacent to it. The club, its on the river. Yeah, that spot was nice, too, but Cherokee turned me out.
91
00:35:40.0
CW: (Laughs) So, what were your initial observations?
92
00:35:45.7
LF: At the gay club?
93
00:35:47.9
CW: Did you have any inclination that you were gay when you went or were you just
94
00:35:51.2
LF: I already knew from the time I was three years old. I always had to be the daddy when we were playing house, you know, playing house with my sisters and shit. Got my lil panties on, no shit, like, Im the daddy. Im three years old. I remember this shit. There was this teacher in elementary that I was in love with this lady. Miss C, come holla at me, girl.
95
00:36:15.4
And so I remember I got a jerry curl when I was like third or fourth grade, and I had to get all my hair cut, so it was all low, so I could look like a boy with like the short hair. But, and so, I went through this whole phase not loving myself and being grateful for being a woman.
96
00:36:41.5
Thinking about cutting off my breasts and all kind of crazy shit that I thought about doing just because, you know, I was feelingand like I said, I am a very spiritual person. So, I felt like the devil will try to make you feel, you knowwell for me, try to make me feel like, yeah, you should do these different things. When you talk about it people be like, oh thats not a big deal. Its acceptable. You just cut your breasts off. But thats sick. It is. You know, I feel like its demonic.
97
00:37:17.2
I have people that have had operations and I feel bad for them, because its like man, theyve really hate who they are. And I did, too, but I had to get to a place and it took a lot of prayer to where I learned how to love myself, and love being a woman, and just felt comfortable in my skin. Because, you know, of course, being gay or in a relationship with the same-sex, its like, man, you know, people, especially people around me, religious people, are like, Nah, thats not right.
98
00:37:57.6
You cant do that, you know. So, I had to get to place to where I was like, Okay, I knowand its in the bible. Ive seen it. And I believe it. I believe that we are not supposed to be with the same sex, because it goes against the being fruitful and multiplying. Two women cant have a baby, two men cant.
99
00:38:19.9
But just with all of the deception and all of the misleading and everything that the powers at be condemned to manipulate reality, this is why the lord says that his grace and mercy shall follow us, the ones that believe. Yeah, he already knew. Its everything is already done in heaven. Theres no time in heaven. Were just going through it in time. You know what Im saying? And I believe and I have come to believe that for me personally its about my heart and how I treat people.
100
00:38:57.6
You know what Im saying? Like, yeah, so what, its an abomination? Thats what the bible says. Thats what I believe. But what did I do with my life here on earth? What kind of good did I do? And thats what I try to do from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed every night. I just try to impart goodness. I try to impart love, you know, honesty, the truth. And thats just where I am at.
101
00:39:30.3
I dont feel like Im gonna ever be with a man again. I just dont feel that way. Thats not what I want and, you know, sometimes I get kind of down on myself. Im like, Lord, Im sorry. Im so sorry. I love you more than anything, but this is how I feel. This is what I want. And yeah, Im gonna let you order my steps and guide my life or whatever, but at the same time, I just, thats one thing I cant do. Im not trying to be with a man. And Ive never enjoyed sexual encounters with men, none of that.
102
00:40:11.0
You know, I did want kids. But with just the way the world is, its like, man, to bring kids into this world, especially in AmericaI dont want to do that. I would love to carry my own kids for that experience. Will it happen? I dont know. So, you know, because of my decision to not want to be with a man.
103
00:40:36.3
Of course, theres other ways to do it, you know, artificial insemination, but just the fact that I dont want to be with a man, and just the fact of the point of this evil ass world, I may never have my own kids, and thats fine, you know. So, I dont know. I deal with truth. I dont try to hide behind insecurity or try to make a lie the truth or the truth a lie. I just try deal with whats real.
104
00:41:10.0
CW: Did you have any kind of support system when you were coming out in college?
105
00:41:12.9
LF: My mom. My mom is gay. So, she came to one of my basketball games and I was like, Do you want to go to the club after the game? What club you going to? The gay club. What? Yeah, you wanna go? So, we go to the club, and my mom see me interacting with these women, and it made her feel real bad, because she felt like it was her fault that Im gay. And then the whole religious aspect.
106
00:41:54.7
When people find out, they gonna put it on me. Thats how my mom was feeling and thats what they do. Its exactly what my family did, blame her, you know. And I believe in generational curses, you know. I dont believe that Im cursed, but just knowing the truth about where this whole same-sex relationship, where it derived from.
107
00:42:23.6
I know that this is aIm not saying that Im evil or youre evil, but Im just being real with you. So, my mom she had to deal with like, a lot of backlash from the family, and it just took a toll on her, man. And so, I asked her, I said, Well, were you dealing with women when you was pregnant with me? Or were you seeing women? She was like, Yeah. I was with women, because my dad hurt her.
108
00:43:2.6
So, after he hurt her, and she was still pregnant with me, she got her a girlfriend or whatever. When women are pregnant, its important what you do when youre pregnant, because everything you do, the baby is doing. The baby is experiencing those things. And so, I feel like I was born gay. And knowing that its supposed to be Adam and Eve and not Adam or Steve, or Eve and Eve, you know, I feel like it was passed to me that way through my mom. Thats how I feel.
109
00:43:43.3
So, people say you cant be born gay, because thats goes against the whole creation of da-da-da-da, but for me I feel like I was. My mom was literally sexually involved with women, had relationships with women while she was carrying me. So, thats why at the age of three years old I had to be the daddy, you know what Im saying. I dont regret anything.
110
00:44:16.3
Im glad to be a part of the LGBT community, because I was created for this. This is the reason why I was created, was to let people know that its okay. Its okay. Calm down, youre not gonna go to hell if you believe. You understand what Im saying? You have to believe. You have to have that relationship. Its not a religion. Jesus was a dirty ass earth pit that the Romans sacrificed on the altar of the Lord.
111
00:44:48.4
You know that pork is an abomination as well, just like being gay, right. No sin is greater than the other. All of our filthiness, all our righteousness is as filthy rags. So, no matter how much you try to make it seem like youre this and that, you aint shit, because all of our righteousness is as filthy rags, you know what Im saying. So, this is what I say to people who so holier than thou.
112
00:45:16.4
Hey man, let me show you, your righteousness is no better than mine, you know; you think youre doing becauseman look, weve all fallen short of the glory. All of us. And nobody is better than the other. Thats why were not supposed to judge each other, because you just, you never know who you putting your tongue on. Not talking about like thatIm talking about running your mouth. (Laughs). So, yeah. But
113
00:45:48.3
CW: Do you still have a relationship with your mom?
114
00:45:51.5
LF: Yeah, yeah. During the time I was in Newborn, North Carolina, I was working the Sheraton Grand Hotel. And I just felt this overwhelming feeling of like I want a relationship with my mom, so I called her. And I said, Well, you know, I know you havent been in my life, but I love you. Youre my mom. I would never disrespect you and I want a relationship. I dont care what has happened in the past, but I want to move forward. I want us to be tight. I want us to spend more time together.
115
00:46:32.7
I just think me doing that just took so much pressure and so much guilt off of her shoulders, because I understand, the way my grandma was with her mouththe bible says that the mouth is like a sword. It cuts sharper than a sword. You can say something to somebody man and kill them with your words, you know. And the way my grandma would treat my mom, even up until the time that she passed, it was so evil. And I love my grandma.
116
00:47:12.7
My mom loves my grandma, like she served this lady hand and foot, no matter how much my grandma talked shit or whatever she said. My mom honored her mom. And thats why she still alive, because my mom has been in situations where she should have been dead. Ive been in situations where I should have been dead, but because the actions that we exhibit, a lot of times thats what saves our life.
117
00:47:39.2
You know what Im saying? Like, we got that grace built up. So, you know, a dangerous situation comes, where Im supposed to be murdered, you know, the angel will come and move me out the way, and Im good, because of what good deed Ive done. So, thats why I support __(?), you know. My mom, shes all in, and seeing how she loved my grandma in spite of that, encouraged me to love her.
118
00:48:5.5
If you can love your mom after all that shit, what she just said, Oh, Imma love you girl. Im gonna love you. So, me and my mom, we tight. She call me everyday. She be blowing my ass up, but Im like I have to answer the phone, because I know before my grandma passed she was calling me, calling me. She wanted me to give her some money and I was torn.
119
00:48:33.4
I just didnt have it and I would rather not answer the phone instead of saying, Mom, I aint got it. Because she My grandma even though she talks shit, experience some evil throughout my life, she always had my back as far as I can getif I need a thousand dollars, I could go, Momma, I need a thousand dollars. No problem. So, I didnt want to tell her no. And I went to see my brother one day.
120
00:49:6.7
I calledI didnt have her number cause I switched phones, so I called my aunt to get my grandma number. And I was like, Aunt Pauline, how you doing, Aunt Pauline? Can I get momma number? And she like, Baby, Im sorry to tell you, but your momma gone. And I hadnt spoke to my grandma in two weeks. I said, Gone, where she gone? She said, She gone, baby. And Im like, What? She died.
121
00:49:32.0
And that shit moved me, like, damn. But I got a chance My grandma, even though she didnt agree, cause she talked a lot of shit throughout my life, like I was saying, toward the end she learned how to respect me. She came to stay with me and my ex before she stayed __(?). She enjoyed herself; and to have her around my girlfriend, that was big for her.
122
00:50:14.2
What? You want my girl to cook for you? You love the way she cook. Just the whole interaction, man, it was beautiful. It was beautiful. I mean, if youve never been through something, you dont have a testimony. You cant really help anybody. You have to go through something. Ive been through a lot and I dont have many regrets or anything.
123
00:50:38.6
CW: What are your observations of the GLBT community in Tampa?
124
00:50:48.9
LF: Its no love, at least in the black community. Now as far as like outside of Tampa, just the whole LGBT, I think its been popularized by the media to where they are making it cool to beeverybody thats gay or everybody should act gay. Its sick. Like, man, why are you trying to impose something on people that would normally not even do it? I mean, the cartoonsevery damn thing is gay.
125
00:51:20.6
Its like, man, these little kidsSpongeBob? You know, acting all gay and shit. When I was three years old, you know, I wasnt playing. Damn. Dont try to put it on everybody. I dont like that, but as far as the LGBT community here, locally, I dont think its no love, but not enough love in the black community. I havent really been out inbecause you know, its still segregated.
126
00:51:52.0
So, I havent really been out in the white community that much aside from being Shunda K the artist. I perform and everywhere I go people show me love. And its been love with the white community, the white LGBT community. Its been all love. But just what I see in the black community, man, its unnecessary shit.
127
00:52:20.1
People in the black community, they dont really know who I am as an artist is concerned. I never really performedsince Yo Majesty signed a record deal and, like, been like international superstars, I never really performed the community. Now before, we used to do little shows here and there, but, you know, I was just like the rest of them. I wasnt a superstar yet. (laughs) Im just talking shit.
128
00:52:47.6
CW: So, when you say theres no love, are there specific black gay spaces?
129
00:52:58.0
LF: Well, its just no support. Like, were not supporting each other. You know, weve been taught to hate ourselves through slavery and shit like that. Thats something that has grown and is still manifested today for black people. So, if youve never been taught a thing, you dont know. You just dont know. And, you know, like that goes back to religion has killed the black family. It has.
130
00:53:24.3
Itsyou know, I mean, its made people so judgmental. Its made people turn their backs on their loved ones, you know what Im saying. Like, Oh, you gay? Well, you cant come to my house. I dont want nothing else to do with you. Im done with you. And white families experience the same thing, but with black families, they hold that shit to the grave, like, for real.
131
00:53:48.7
So, its just been a lot harder for the black family to stick together. Every other race of people stick together. The white people. The Mexicans. The Puerto Ricans. The Haitians. The Jamaicans. Theyre black races, but Negroes, African Americanhell no, aint no love. You know, Im hoping that I canI know I cant do it single-handedly, but Im hoping I can play a part in just shedding some light on the greatness of black people.
132
00:54:29.7
I know weve been taught this, but this is not true. This is what the school taught, but this is not true. You have to research outside of what you learn in the school. I cant remember the quote I just posted as far as who said it, but they said, If youre just being educated in school, youre not being educated at all. You gotta go beyond that. You got to go beyond it, because theres books that were taken out of the bible by the Roman Catholic Church.
133
00:54:57.6
You know what Im saying, then theres still other reference books that bring the whole picture together that youve got to know about. Youve got to read. You cant just rely on one source, because its been changed, flipped, separated, a part of it over here Its a puzzle and youve got to put it together. So, thats what I have been doing for the past couple of years. I refuse to do any shows.
134
00:55:19.7
I dont even know, these people selling their soul. Just the other day Mary J. Blige daddy supposedly got stabbed, you know, and Im like, damn, thats a blood sacrifice. Thats a blood sacrifice for fame and fortune. Thats what it is. The bible, you read the story of the messiah going on the mountain for forty days and forty nights, and then they fast.
135
00:55:43.7
You got the devil there telling, if you bow down to me, Ill give you all the kingdoms of the world. Well, how can the devil give you anything, if it doesnt belong to him? It must belong to him for him to be able to offer you the whole world. We were fortunate for all the famefame come before fortune, so we didnt get a lot of fortune. We got some fame. And I didnt know anything about this shit.
136
00:56:10.4
I didnt know nothing about people selling their soul. I didnt know none of that. We didnt have to experience none of that. It was the lord. He was the one ordering our steps, and putting us in places, and just the whole success that we had, it was all done and orchestrated by the lord himself. So, we didnt have to bow down to the devil. But just like, last night, I didnt watch the Grammys, but you know, I mean, everybody like, the whole shit was so satanic.
137
00:56:39.5
Katy Perry, and she talking about she gonna be a witch, and this and that. And people take that stuff lightly, but thats some dark stuff. Its satanic. Its crazy, so thats the kind of stuff that Im into. People like, you need to stop preaching and start rapping again (laughs). But I got a show next month. Were performing in Orlando. Let me get the spot will it will be at. People cussing my ass out for the stuff that Ive been exposing like, Man, you used to be cool. Its gonna be at the Haven in Winter Park, so Ill forward this to you.
138
00:57:28.8
CW: Yeah.
139
00:57:30.7
LF: Just in case you want to come out and hang out.
140
00:57:32.5
CW: I will.
141
00:57:34.4
LF: True. True.
142
00:57:36.2
CW: My grandparents live near there. So, when you say that theres no support amongst the black community, do you think black gays and lesbians are hesido they sort of seek support inwhich predominately, I guess, white support groups, like Metro Wellness
143
00:58:6.4
LF: Nah. What Ive observed is that, you know, black people in generalI shouldnt say generalwell, I will say general as far as the LGBT community concerned, they wavery minded. So, you know, they fall out with one person and theyre just seekingblack people just want to be accepted, because all of our life, you know, weve been told that you know, this is who you are, you dont have a history.
144
00:58:41.1
When really all the history that is history is our history and its been stolen. Its been whitewashed. So, you know, when you dont know where you come from, you dont know where you going, you just end up in a never-ending cycle. You know, and that cycle has to be broken with the knowledge, because thats the power. Knowledge is power, you know what Im saying. With knowledge you can do everything.
145
00:59:11.1
Because to me knowledge and wisdom, theyre like run hand and hand, and so we dont have the knowledge, because its been taken from us. Its been rewritten. Our history, you know, they put us in these reprogrammingreally thats what school isjust reprogram our minds. They aint teaching us shit, you know what Im saying, maybe a little subtraction, addition, and a little reading. Thats it, you know.
146
00:59:40.3
147
00:59:40.0
CW: I mean, do you think its different in terms of gender? Do you think its different for black men rather than black women? Theres a reason why I ask, is because Ive noticed in white male spaces, white male gay spaces, its all white men. But, you know, Honey Pot is a little more integrated.
148
01:00:3.2
LF: Right, definitely. I think its harder for black men to be open. And honestly, men and women mingle together in the black community. Its like, if you ever go, or want to go, to Palladiumthats off of Hillsborough and Armenia, by the skating rink, you know that spot?that shit be jumping every Saturday. You know, you got the men and the women, studs, femmes, drags. Im talking about, thats the shit.
149
01:00:39.6
You want to go shake your ass, thats where you go. And then you got Skye on Tuesday. Skye be jumping on Tuesdays. The same thing. You got the, you know, all the blwe all together, but its just still no love. You know what Im saying, theres like really no support. Let me see how I can put this, make you understand. For instance, if I putits a lot of jealousy.
150
01:01:7.9
Like, for instance, if I put that Im gonna be performing at Palladium, people are not going to rally around me. You know, theyre gonna back off, because they dont know me. So, they gonna go, Well, who this bitch think she is? Shunda K, who the fuck is Shunda K? You know what Im saying, but I gotta go rip the damn mic, you know, and tear the stage just to get some respect.
151
01:01:29.8
You know, its not like off top. You know, but if it was a white club, I feel like it would be, Oh, such and such is gonna play. Well, we dont know them, but lets go check them out and see what theyre about. You know, its more positive. Its not like, off rip like you got to prove yourself. You know what Im saying, and with the black people, you know, You gonna prove yourself. I aint showing you no love.
152
01:01:53.6
You got to prove yourself up front, whereas in the white communities and other races, its like, you know, Come on in. Lets check you out. We gonna come and watch you, you know, thats whats up. Do your thing. Its more positive. Its not like they hatin off top, like just dont want to give you a chance, not showing you no love. You understand what Im saying?
153
01:02:18.0
CW: Yeah. I think so.
154
01:02:19.9
LF: Okay.
155
01:02:21.5
CW: I didnt know Skye had a
156
01:02:23.3
LF: Yeah, every Tuesday. The same promoters from Palladium on Saturday promote Tuesday. I think theyre doing something on Fridays, too. But Tuesdaysnow on Sundays, its Valentines. You been to Valentines?
157
01:02:35.9
CW: I have never been to Valentines, ever.
158
01:02:37.6
LF: Valentines Sunday.
159
01:02:38.8
CW: But they closed. Didnt they close?
160
01:02:42.0
LF: Nah.
161
01:02:43.7
CW: Okay.
162
01:02:44.4
LF: When?
163
01:02:46.4
CW: I dont know. I saw something online.
164
01:02:48.2
LF: They probably did. I havent been in a while.
165
01:02:51.0
CW: But thats everyones favorite. I dont know why Ive never been to Valentines, but Ive never been to Valentines.
166
01:02:52.7
LF: You should go. See, I love the draglike, youll love the drag shows. You know, because with the Palladium and Skye, they just dont do drag shows. They sometimes have strippers that perform and they do, you knowwell, I guess it is drag, but its not drag queensanybody can get up there and lip sync to a song. You know, its pretty entertaining. I think youll have a good time. Its justits hard man, cause, weve been taught to hate ourselves.
167
01:03:28.2
All the black girls got blonde hair, you know what Im saying. So its not, you know, theyre not embracing their naturality. Embrace your nappy hair. Girl, lock that stuff up. Thats cute, boo. You know what Im saying, but you got to go pay three hundred dollars for some horse hair or for somebody else hair. Who does that? You know. So, this is what weve been taught to do. And we got to be, we have to beits time to unlearn that. Thats whats up.
168
01:04:1.1
CW: Do you feel that the white gay community is inclusive?
169
01:04:3.9
LF: As far as?
170
01:04:6.7
CW: As far as like, um, blacks gays and lesbians in general. Cause I wonder what
171
01:04:15.6
LF: Why the segregation?
172
01:04:18.4
CW: Yeah.
173
01:04:20.5
LF: I just think its because the way we was raised, you know what Im saying. We was raised to believe that white is superior and black is inferior, and everything in between just got to get in where you fit in, you know what Im saying. And thats basically what history has taught us, schoolall of that shit, you know what Im saying.
174
01:04:36.1
So, when you in history class and youre just learning about all of these Caucasian people and youre not learning nothing about yourself, its like, Damn, who am I? Where my peoples at? What do we do? This is what you learn from head start through twelfth grade, and so when you get out here in the world, you dont have an identity. Youre just trying to survive.
175
01:05:8.3
So, youre gonna do what youre told to do, youre gonna go get you a job, and your ass better graduate from high school or you wont even be able to work at McDonalds. Now you got to have a bachelors degree to work at McDonalds. Im just kidding, but Im not. Seriously, they want managers to have bachelors degrees at McDonalds. Can you believe that?
176
01:05:26.4
CW: Thats crazy.
177
01:05:28.4
LF: So, its like all of these jobs, you know, theyre making it harder in high school for one. The FCAT and all thatwhat is that? You know what Im saying? So, a lot of people are dropping out, because really, like I said, man, a lot of that shit is bullshit in school. Im surprised I finished. You know, if it wasnt for sports or athletics, I probably would have dropped out too, cause it was just like not making any sense.
178
01:05:55.2
I couldnt stay focused. I couldnt pay attention, because something just wasnt agreeing with my spirit, like I couldnt even listen to that shit. And now I know why, now that Ive done my research and I know that a lot of it was lies, you know what Im saying. But, man, black people for the most part, we dont have an identity. We dont know where we come from, because weand another thing is were just lazy.
179
01:06:21.8
You know, we believe whatever the media say. We dont want to go read and do no research and look into it for ourselves. Whereas with Caucasian people, Oh, yall open up a book, and read, and learn, or whatever you gotta do, you know what Im saying? And there may be a slight advantage, because of the skin tone, but its still no excuses.
180
01:06:46.3
You know what Im sayin, even with myself, Ive had to get to a place in my life where I felt like, Okay, Im successful. Im traveling all over the world preaching Jesus Christ, but its still something missing, because I just want to do good. I want to know the truth. I want to know everything. And I know people say, Well its impossible cause its sowhatever I still want to know everything.
181
01:07:5.9
You know, and the most important relationship in my life is my relationship with the Lord, because thats who protects me when Im in dangerous situations. When I was at the strip club that night and the dude walked in my face, as soon as he stepped in my face thats when I was exhaling my weed smoke, and he already didnt like me because I was dating a girl that he wanted to fuck.
182
01:07:36.9
And so as soon as he stepped in my face, and I blew that smoke in his face, and he got all pissed off, and when he left, I heard the spirit of the lord say, You better go because he coming back with a gun. And so I finished smoking my blunt and I dipped. And I didnt go back to that club for like a week or two. And when I went back the security guard who I was originally outside smoking with, I was like, Did the dude come back? He was like, Yeah, he was looking for you.
183
01:08:2.0
So, thats why I put all my trust in the lord, because he sees all and know all. He can tell me avoid some shit and I can avoid it all together, you know. So, but thats whats important and I just know that I was feeling like, its more to it than this. And now that Ive been doing this research Im seeing that, damn, weve been sold to seas. Not just black people, everybody. Everybody been deceived, because we have not been learning the truth and thats what really makes us free.
184
01:08:36.2
CW: Right. Do you go to any big gay cultural events, like pride or film fest? No?
185
01:08:49.6
LF: No. You know, Im who I am. I dont have to prove myself to nobody. I mean they dont have straight festivals. I guess cause everythingbut you know, theyre not naming the older straight festival. Ya feel me? So, to me its like a little mundane. Its not that serious. Like, I dont have to prove myself to nobody or go here to make myself feel like anything. I am who I am. And thats just it.
186
01:09:29.0
CW: Do you everdo you like seek out lesbian authors or film? No?
187
01:09:40.5
LF: Do you?
188
01:09:44.0
CW: I mean(laughs) So, was Yo Majesty a lesbian group? All of you? Okay.
189
01:09:54.2
LF: It still is. Yo Majesty is the shit, man, and I just want these girls to get their shit together, because I cant deal with no more bullshit. Shon B, she has her issues. Im not saying Im perfect, but I am reliable and I did keep it moving solo as the group. You know, and I found myself always having to make shit happen at the last minute, because the other two left me hanging in some form or fashion.
190
01:10:27.1
You know, like, Jwls, she get locked up the night before the tour starts. I didnt find out until that night. The tour start tomorrow. Im leaving out of Florida, driving to Texas to get this tour started and nobody call me or nothing. I just so happen to call my publicist, like, Yeah, just want to make sure you got everything, our schedules and whatever, so we can, you know, get the press out, and Im gonna be pulling out tonight to start the tour tomorrow.
191
01:10:56.2
Oh, you havent heard? Heard what? Jwls locked up. What? Yeah, shes been locked up for four days. Come on, man. So, that same night Ive got to hustle and findcause I still got to give the people a show. I cant just cancel the tour because this girl is not going to be there. I have to survive too. This is my livelihood, and nobody thinking about me.
192
01:11:21.2
Nobody saying, Well Im gonna doIm gonna handle myself decent, because I have other people thats depending on me. Nah, that aint their mentality. They dont give a fuck, you know what Im saying. But me, I think about things. Like, its supposed to be a team, so I have to handle myself accordingly, so that I can be reliable, and be where Im supposed to be.
193
01:11:44.5
We a team. We a puzzle. Its three pieces to this thing. If one is missing, its gonna be lacking. So, dont even put yourself in no situation to not be a part of this equation, so that we can move forward and be successful and keep this money coming, but thats what they do all the time. So, I got to call some dancers. I hit the DJ up like, Man, look, we got to do this shit. I got these dancers. We on our way. We gonna keep it moving.
194
01:12:14.4
And then this girl get out of jail and Im like, I dont want you on the tour. Im half way through it now. So, she calling around to the promoters telling them not to pay me all the money cause shes not gonna be there. Why would you do that? Because I still got otherI have additional expenses now. Now I got to get hotel rooms for the dancers. I got to pay them, gas, rental carI got to eat. I got to have a hotel for myself. I got to get a hotel for the DJ. I got to pay him. Nobody thinking about that.
195
01:12:54.0
CW: How did you guys meet?
196
01:12:54.7
LF: We met through a mutual friend. Both times. When I met ShonI met Shon first through the club owner of the Harbor Club. And then me and Shon meet Jwl through another mutual friend atI dont even know what club we was at this nightcause we wanted a singer. He was like, I got somebody for ya and she introduced us to Jwl. We like, Well, lets see what you got. She sang that night right there in the club.
197
01:13:32.9
I mean, theyre talented, man. The three of us, we be killing it. Like, you probably familiar with just me and Jwl, which is the one that sings, though Shon This is what happened. Our first time ever going to the UK, so we fly from here to PhoenixIm sorry, from here to Philadelphia and something happened where we missed our connecting flights.
198
01:14:11.3
So, then we had to fly to Boston. Were in Boston. We get on the first plane. And mind you, now weve been flying all fucking day, so we get on the first plane to finally leave to go to the UK, and its these people sitting in Jwl and Shons seat, because they want to sit together. And so we telling them, or theyre telling themIm looking at this shit. Im over in the cut, like, damn, man.
199
01:14:31.6
Theyll get them up. They aint supposed to be there, so I dont really got to get up and do nothing. And so the man is like, No, Im not moving. Im not moving. So, were telling theI have to get up at this point because the stewardessnobodys doing anything. So look, our tickets say these seats. These are our seats, just make them get up. Well, no, were not gonna make them get up.
200
01:14:54.9
So, were going back and forth with the stewardess or whatever. So, theyre finally like, Everybody just get off the plane. They kick all of us off, the group and these three people, this family. And were like, Well, thats fucked up because were standing up foryou know. So then, the second attempt, we get on the plane. Were about to pull off.
201
01:15:20.9
We pull off, but we got to turn right around and do an emergency landing because some valves are fucked up on the plane. Okay, its midnight now. Weve been flying from nine oclock. Its midnight. Weve been flying all day, okay. Just give us, we dont want to try to do it tonight, just give us hotel rooms, some food vouchers, reschedule or rebook for tomorrow.
202
01:16:0.4
So, we all go back to the hotel. Shon is already pissed off, because apparently Jwl stole five dollars out of her bag and then tried to give it back to her. So, they used to go at it all the time. Like when it was three of us, I didnt have to deal with that shit. It was just them arguing all the time and me being embarrassed, but at least I didnt have to be dealing with it, you know.
203
01:16:18.1
So, we got back to the hotel. The next day we are supposed to fly out. Me and Jwl on the plane. Were supposed to leave at five in the evening, no Shon B. Shon, where you at? Well, Ive been praying and I dont think I need to come. You know, Jwl, stole this money out of my bag. Im like, dude, were about tothis is our dream coming into fruition.
204
01:16:41.8
Weve been doing this for seven years. We finally made it. Fuck all of that. Bring your ass on, man. So, we sitting up waiting for like a couple hours, no show. She didnt show up. So, we get over to Sweden and we basicallywe got a show that night. Now we have to redo our show tracks, because its no Shon. It was like a lot of pressure, you know what Im saying.
205
01:17:12.1
Man, weve been through hell, like, damn, you just left our ass hanging. You walked away from it all. So, but we ended up killin it. We killed the show. We murdered it. It was my second one-night stand, so I aint complaining. We had a good damn time. But its been tough. I guess its always hard when you have to rely on other people. People, they not you and you not them.
206
01:17:43.1
Sometimes its time to be on one cord, but business is business and people dont want to hear that shit. If theyre paying you to be were you needthats where you need to be, man. If youre not, you fucking it up for everybody. You know, forget how you feel. It had got to a point where I was like, Okay, I want to do separate interviews. Man, Jwl B, something else, like everything got to be separate, separate transportation, separate interviews. I be lucky if I get a separate stage from her ass, straight up.
207
01:18:15.9
We might have to do separate staging, but it was crazy. I went as far as I could. I took as much as I could tolerate. That had been going on for about two or three years, and you know, if you dont put a stop to something, people feel like its okay to keep doing it, and so I had to put a stop to it. And I remember Domino Records, they was like, You can deal with it for a few more months, because if you dont then its gonna be over. If you dont just deal with it, Shunda. And Im like, I cant.
208
01:18:50.8
I had just did a tour, a whole US tour by myself, and we had a European tour coming up. It was gonna gross eighty thousand dollars. So, Jwl is out of jail, right, and so they like, Well, you have to tour with her. And Im like, Well where the fuck was she when I had to do this tour by myself. Im telling yall what this girl need, like she need some mental help and to do me like this. I dont want to be bashing her or whatever, but it is what it is. And so they completely disregarded that.
209
01:19:25.5
I guess what the rock and roll shit is all about, you know, being a rock star is that crazy mental shit. We love this crazy bitch. So yeah, you got to tour with her. And Im like, Hell, no.  So, they try to do the tour without me. They get Shon back on it, so its Shon and Jwl. That was a big mess, man. People leaving comments like, Thats the worst show Ive ever seen. And Yo Majesty never gotwe was always the shit.
210
01:19:51.0
But thats my shit. I created the name. I didnt do all of the work, but thats my shit. I put it together. I created the name. I brought this shit together. I didnt do it all by myself, but thats mylike, dont nobody love it like I do. Yall aint do this shit. Yall aint do this Yo Majesty shit like I did, man. Yall didnt give a fuck. It had turned into being all about the money for yall.
211
01:20:24.1
Yall forgot where you came from because you go a couple thousand dollars, man? That aint shit, you know what Im saying? You cant sell your soul for a little bit of fortune. Nah, man, dont forget where you come from. We still got to put the same amount of work, and time, and energy that we was doing before we made it. Thats why we made it.
212
01:20:48.3
You know what Im saying? You cant stop doing what you was doing just cause you kind of got it a little bit. You know, you got to work even harder now cause now everybody looking at you. They expecting for this shit to run smooth. You know, the team at first they was like, Ah, man, this bitch crazy, yeah, yeah, whatever, whatever, and then after a while it just wore everybody out.
213
01:21:12.3
To now none of those people we worked with want to fuck with Yo Majesty, because all the drama that could have been avoided. But, man, when you dealing with somebody with mental illnessand I believe that all diseases and ailments, its all demonic. You need to be delivered, you know what Im saying. I dont know how you feel about it, but thats how I feel, like its all demonic. Come drink some of this green tea. Itd chill your ass out. You dont need no luck. You dont need no weed. You need to chill out.
214
01:21:50.1
CW: This is there going to be a really dumb question. But, is there like a concept when you put the group together? Or, like when you create music is there likeI dont know?
215
01:22:4.3
LF: Well as far as the name Yo Majesty, I wanted a name that was gonna represent theI looked through the thesaurus and the dictionary. I wanted a name that was going to represent god and just be like bow down, you know, bow down to the crown, bow down. Im going through the thesaurus. Majesty. Majesty. Okay, thats what it means.
216
01:22:32.0
I think this pretty much fits, at least wraps up everything, and to make it hipYo Majesty. Yo Majesty! And so it just really all came together. You know, once I
217
01:23:7.6
So, you know, I was on that gay shit. Im like, hell yeah. Lets do this shit, man. And it was the same thing Well, I guess after me and Shon met we knew what we wanted. We needed a vocalist. We needed somebody that was on our level and Jwl B, that bitch was on our level.
218
01:23:33.5
She crazy as hell, but she was on it, and brung so much creativity. She brung that crazythe crazy side, thats all her. Thats all Jwl. She developed a lot of the hooks and concepts and stuff like that, and it made it real easy for us, for me and Shon to come in and just write a hot sixteen. Whatever we needed to do, she made it real easy for us to do that.
219
01:24:1.3
CW: And you worked by yourself because you
220
01:24:7.6
LF: Yeah, I got a record in the car for you, too.
221
01:24:9.2
CW: Yay.
222
01:24:11.3
LF: I didnt bring no vinyl, but Im sure Ill see you again. So, Ill bring you some vinyl.
223
01:24:16.1
CW: Okay.
224
01:24:18.1
LF: You got a vinyl player.
225
01:24:19.9
CW: No, but I can get one.
226
01:24:21.7
LF: True. So, Ill get you some vinyl.
227
01:24:23.6
CW: So, okay, so I know that youre very spiritual and thats part of your music as is eating pussy
228
01:24:30.3
LF: The best of the best.
229
01:24:32.8
CW: So, how do you make those two fit together in the same
230
01:24:38.3
LF: Well, it goes back to just being comfortable, like being to a place where I am loving myself. I had to get to that place because, you know, even now sometimes when Im in public with my girl and shit, I might let her hand go, and people just like gawking and shit like that. I dont want to disrespect nobody and I dont want nobody disrespecting me.
231
01:25:4.9
So, but I just had to get to a place. I mean, well, I guess Ill start here: It was really hard in the beginning, like, up until this point with how I feel. I just had faith. Then Im looking at how blessed my life was, like, here I am a black chick from the hood, Im over here in London, Sweden, we in Germany, we every-fucking-where, and I know that this is the lord blessing us.
232
01:25:45.4
I know it is, because we been doing it for so long, and if we could have did it on our own merits we would have been did it, but we mustve gotten to a place that I believe the lord said, Okay, its time, nows the time for you to shine. And just like now, Im trying toIm planning on releasing a mix tape and stuff like that, but because of the knowledge that I have and realizing that fame and fortune is an illusion, like having the biggest house and all the cars. Thats vanity.
233
01:26:25.4
Its not important. So, now this time when I step back into the game, its really about me just spreading truth, just putting the whole truth out there. So, being a writer, like, I can write about anything. The stuff that Ive been researching Im planning to put those things into songs. But it was really hard. But I was confident, like I believed in myself even though I was insecure, and I was going through what I was going through, I still believed in myself, because everything that I had always done, I was always the best at.
234
01:27:8.3
I was best basketball player, the best track runner, I was always the best, so I had a standard. Im the best MC. I be killing that shit, cant nobody fuck with me. You know, so, I guess havingthat I was able to encourage myself in spite of feeling like, damn. I talk about pussy and the lord in the same sentence. But then what really touched my heart, too, was seeing how we was touching the people.
235
01:27:43.1
We talk about kryptonite pussy and rubbing on your monkey and people coming up to us in tears after the shows. We having a straight party, I mean, titties out, people butt ass naked, but people still after the show people like in tears like, How do you do it? They ask the same question. Its easy. You just have to have your own relationship. You cant rely on pastor. You cant let pastor run your life or make you feel like you got to do thisno.
236
01:28:13.4
Go to the Lord directly. He created each and every one of us so we can go to him directly. We dont have to go to another person and thats where I think a lot of people fall short, especiallywell, everybody no matter what you dealing with, whether its a lifestyle, a habit, or whatever youre dealing with, people are always looking to heal for comfort or justification.
237
01:28:40.7
Nah, put your trust in no man, only to love one another. Your only responsibility to the next man to is love him. Thats it. You aint supposed to put your trust in them, put your trust in their word, for what? They just a man just like you. They just a woman just like you. You know what Im saying? Put your trust in the lord. Straight up.
238
01:29:5.6
CW: Do you have any I guess closing comments? Im trying to think if I have any other additional questions.
239
01:29:18.1
LF: Yall add me on Facebook. Shunda K or Yo Majesty. You know what Im saying. I got over forty songs available for free download at Shundak.com. Im getting ready to release a new mix tape. Its gonna be called The Best of the Written: Whats real. All of my mix tapes are gonna be called The Best of the Written. When you go onto Shondak.com, its going to go to my bandcount page.
240
01:29:49.9
I have a mix tape called The Best of the Written: Outcast. Its all outcast instrumentals. So, and it was like me coming from the perspective of being an outcast in this world as far as being black. I feature this artist named Jersey, and we just talk about what Black people go through and how hard it is, and the whole spiritual thing dealing with the Lord and stuff like that.
241
01:30:13.6
But its the next mix tape, The Best of the Written: Whats real, Im going to be featuring the artist Black Pop along with some other male artists that Ive worked with. And I love working with men. I love, especially my black men, I really do, because, you know, I think that black men have it the hardest in this world, here in America especially with just everything, man, like the black man aint shit according to society.
242
01:30:50.9
And so for me to have some brothers that Im working with on this mix tape that they know their power, they know their might, they know who they are, its a beautiful thing. And so were able to uplift and encourage the black people, the black race, and thats okay to do that, because aint nobody looking out for us. We got to look out for ourselves just like all the other races.
243
01:31:12.5
All the other races they look out for each other, but we not doing that but its time to do that now. Thats what this project is gonna be about. Its exposing everything from religion to the system, especially the jail system, to the whole joining the military and all that kind of shit. Why? For what? All of these wars are a bunch of bullshit.
244
01:31:40.2
You know, were lied to about why the wars are being started and then were sacrificing ourselves. Go to the army, you get a freefuck that shit. Stay your ass where you at. Let them fight their own battles, man, because the shit is not real, okay.
245
01:31:54.5
So, we talking about everything, everything. I have this DJ from Spain, hes gonna host it for me. Im gonna make sure I send that to you. I dont know how that can tie into this, orhow is this gonna bewhats gonna be the final product with this? Is it gonna be just a tape, just a recording?
246
01:32:26.9
CW: Well, um, for USF it will be the recording and tape the log and I believe that theyllthey have an oral history program there, so theyll transcribe the entire interview.
247
01:32:40.3
LF: Ah, true, true. So, yeah, but Im definitely gonna get you that.
248
01:32:47.5
CW: Well, thank you for letting me interview you.



PAGE 1

COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 201 5 University of South Florida. All rights, reserved. This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrighted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 42 02 E. Fowler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.


printinsert_linkshareget_appmore_horiz

Download Options

close
Choose Size
Choose file type
Cite this item close

APA

Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.

MLA

Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.

CHICAGO

Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.

WIKIPEDIA

Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.