When you see her, you see her crown. The stage is her palace. The crowd serves her their undivided attention. They wait. They wait a little bit longer. Then, BOOM! Your highness graces the stage, and for about ten minutes you are at her mercy. I call her the queen of the stage, and we are all witnesses. Her words are powerful. The words are uplifting. She's a mentor, counselor, and a homegirl all in one. She's Mz. JQ.
"I got my nickname, which is based off of my real name, which is Jonquil. I got that nickname from my peers, and it just stuck. I was down at SIU (Southern Illinois University), and I entered a rap battle. For those who don't know, I have an MC background. I've loved poetry since I was little. I've loved rhyming since I was little. So when I got to college, I was encouraged by my friends to enter this rap battle. It was my first battle ever. The first thing they ask you is 'What's your name?'. Well, I'm like my name is Jonquil. They said, 'Jah-who? We gon' call you JQ.' So when they announced me, they introduced me as 'JAAAYYY QUUUEEE!', and I won that battle."
Although small in stature, she stands tall on the stage. Her words are powerful. Her messages are very uplifting. Whether it is about empowering our community or speaking a relationship into existence, the words paint a picture. The picture is vivid and clear as a sunny day. In one of my favorite poems, JQ speaks on self-awareness. In one line, she talks about these young girls with that Yaki weave drapping down their backs, and they are trying to impress these young boys who weren't even raised by their daddies.
However, who is this JQ person?
"I'm a creative. I'm a combination of things. I do many different things to express myself. I've always had a lot of energy growing up, and it just transformed into different things. Most of the time when I express myself, it's usually musically or Hip-Hop related. So what makes JQ me? One, I like to be different. I enjoy different things that may not be of the norm for a female. I enjoy rhyming and emceeing and poetry, which is a male dominated field. When I got to college, and I started doing radio, that transitioned into me DJ'ing at people's parties. People enjoyed what I did at the radio station and encouraged me to do parties because they would say 'you sound good, and you get us hyped in our dorm room.' So that transitioned into me becoming a DJ, which is also a male dominated field. I do what is outside of the norm. Even with beauty, I don't conform to societal standards. I like to be me, even if it means me looking different."
Male domination is frequent in all of society. However, JQ has made her way through the crowd. The queen of the stage is also the queen of the ones and twos. Everyone knows that a bad DJ can end a party very quickly or spoil the mood. When it comes to JQ, ain't no party like a JQ party 'cause a JQ party don't stop! From a great playlist to great energy, she brings it. Needless to say, there a some male DJs that can't even touch speakers. How does she do it though?
"It's not easy being a female in this industry. I have to work twice as hard to prove myself. No matter if its me perfecting my craft in rhyming or being a DJ or event planning, you have to hold your own. Being a female has its advantages, but we have to work twice as hard. Being aware of the differences that men and women share when it comes to being entreprenuers is what is an advantage. I think anyone who recognizes the differences and is able to use those differences to help unite and open others minds can be a beautiful thing."
JQ is for lack of a better term is a leader . Have you ever heard of iGrind 4 Real? It can be considered as a beacon for up-and-coming movers and shakers making an impact in today's urban culture. iGrind features the latest artists and fashion designers in the industry.
"iGrind4Real is a movement. It's movement devoted to highlighting and motivating grinders. I have a few ways that I express myself artistically. After graduating college and leaving the radio station, I still had a lot of connections and people wanting me to still do radio interviews or some type of support. A lot of people may think that it is easy for people to follow their passion. Well, its not. Sometimes people need a little support. So, I came up with a way to support them. Long story short, I didn't have a radio station when I came back here. So I had to figure out a way to support my fellow artists and grinders. I needed to show them that if nobody else in this shark world will support them, then I will. iGrind is all about motivating grinders to keep going and keep grinding because you can get discouraged out here while following your dreams. Especially with social media being at your finger tips. You can easily be discouraged by looking at someone else's journey. I just want people to know that if you grind, I'll support."
So, what are some of JQ's challenges?
"Sometimes, the challenges I face are resources. Sometimes I have to look above and beyond for different resources for new ideas and concepts off the ground when it comes to continuing the brand."
And what kind of advice does she have for up-and-coming artists?
"Plan, plan, plan! Then, execute. As long as you have your vision, create your plan and start moving towards it. Have patience as well. It may take a while for your goal to get to where you want it to go, but never get discouraged. As long as you plan, and then plan some more, then execute, you will get to where you want to go and be where you want to be."