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Interview:
Yo! Majesty Raps With Different Kind Of Purpose
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Lashunda “Shunda K” Flowers says that her rap group, Yo! Majesty, is “about being able to express our artistic creativity and identity.” But considering she’s openly lesbian and Christian, she knows it’s a different kind of identity to sell.

“I think people need to see this black woman from the ‘hood who’s gay, the minority of the minority, the biggest outcast in the world,” explains Shunda K, 29, who was a high school and college basketball player before starting the Tampa-based Yo! Majesty in 1998.

“People need to see me excelling and feel like, ‘I can do that, too,’ no matter what color you are or what your sexual preference is.”

Yo! Majesty’s genre-bridging sound has had its greatest success in Great Britain, where it worked with the London-based production team HardfeelingsUK. The group released an EP as well as a full album, “Futuristically Speaking ... Never Be Afraid” in 2008, but Shunda K finds herself fully in the spotlight now that groupmate Jewel Baynham (aka Jwl B) , who’s been part of Yo! Majesty since 2001, is in jail on an assault conviction.

“She went to jail four days before the tour, and I found out the day before,” says Shunda K. “But, y’know, I’ve got to keep it moving. I kind of feel like I’ve been holding it down 100 percent anyway, so it’s really not that different.

“I’ve got two dancers and my DJ and myself. I’m feeling free to do whatever it is that comes to mind ... and uphold the Yo! Majesty name and continuing putting that in people’s faces so they can see it’s real, it’s not some fly-by-night entity. My heart is really in this for the people.”

Yo! Majesty, Natalie Stewart of Floetry and DJ Frankie Bank$ perform Saturday (Jan. 31) at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 day of show. Call (313) 833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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