Energy: From the Bay to NYC, Khadija's Playlist

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“Listen, I want to hear black women telling me to go and get it. Because they're the only ones that have done it and the only ones that have been through it (in my position). We already know who these people are now go and get it yourself, easy.”

-Khadija

@khadijadania

What prompted you to move to New York in the first place?

I think in my second year of college I was like, “I'm moving to New York.” I always knew New York was where poppin’ s**t happens. Honestly, at the time I was acting and I saw New York from an actor’s perspective. I've always been acting. I never imagined how I was going to get there. I just always had this feeling in my body. I actually visited for a week in the summer during college and was offered a few modeling gigs and every thing just kind of clicked for me after that visit.

Prior to my move, a lot of people were interacting with me on Instagram and were like, “let's work, blah blah blah.” So when I got out here I was linking up with hella people. A lot of things didn't work out, but it was just the fact that there were so many opportunities versus the Bay Area that got me juiced to come to NY. I would be in the bay and there'd be people in New York talking about, oh, are you free? Are you free? Are you free? And I'm like, yeah, but, I'm just not there. Like what the f**k, so I was like I gotta get there. And then when I got here I had such a good time. I was out all day all night, having a ridiculous amount of fun.

So you had no plan to model or anything?

Yeah, like literally not at all. It's funny because even at the stage that I’m at right now I'm a model, but, I still don't even regard myself as a model.

I think that it’s more of a personal struggle. I don't even get “plus size model” gigs although I'm a plus sized model. Honestly, I don’t really fit the plus sized model norm at all. I get jobs but I'm not the curviest nor am I the smallest.

I've never given my all to modeling because I don't really feel like I fit. I honestly told myself that if I’m really going to be in the industry, it's going to be on my own terms. I'm not going to kill myself to look like either or. My body is my body and I love myself and it just so happens that others love me too. Like I've been told to put on weight and I've been told to take off weight and I'm just like "My N***a, whatever body that I produce in the gym is the body I'm going to use. I'm not going to die." Seriously, the reason I got out here was purely God and my sister got into NYU (lol). My African Parents would not let her come here without me. She’s the baby.

So now check it out. Boom. I'm in New York. I feel like what I'm supposed to do hasn't even really unfolded. It may be modeling, but it's not going to be limited to modeling, I know that much. It's hasn't really completely unfolded but it's coming! I'm so excited now, I'm so happy you're making me talk.

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Sometimes it takes somebody giving you a space to have dialog to realize that there's blessings in your life. Right?

Exactly. Exactly. And I'm big blessed right now and I often forget. I had a vision for how things would go and they haven't gone that way, but I'm still grateful.

What music has kept you going and grounded throughout your journey?

Female Rap, period. It’s really what gets me through when I’m feeling down, or not on my shit. When I feel a certain type of way I don't want to hear men talking to me. I don't want to hear men telling me anything because they’re apart of the problem. When I'm feeling bad, I want to hear another woman talk about "f**k these n****s, get your money, you're a bad b***h. You have bad days, but, go out and get you a bag.”  It doesn't even have to be about men. It could just be about life.

Favorite artists or people you’re listening to right now?

Megan the Stallion, Jungle Pussy, Rico Nasty, City Girls, Lil Kayla, Noname. Megan the Stallion is like my number one right now. Kamiyah. Rico Nasty is that b***h. I just f**k with her. Literally, I listen to them and it makes me want to be a rapper. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

I listen to Missy Elliot of course. I love Missy. (Miss)Misdemeanor. Literally, icon, legend. She doesn't get enough credit because she's way too humble. Lil Kim. I honor her presence more than her music. Her figure, her fashion, her everything. Her music bumps but her energy is amazing. Female rappers put me in the zone that no one can f**k with me. It's important to feel that way. That you're up and you feel that way.

Honestly, I just honor her presence more than her music. I'm sure I'm forgetting other people, but like female rap is literally everything. If I'm trying to feel like nobody can f**k with me I’m listening intently. Nobody can f**k with me.

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So what does music mean to you? Is it the true dialogue to your soul?

Listen, I want to hear black women telling me to go and get it. Because they're the only ones that have done it and the only ones that have been through it (in my position). We already know who these people are now go and get it yourself, easy.

What are some unique ways that you've experienced music?

I always think of singing because I sing. My first memory of singing was in the third grade and we're sitting on a carpet, a carpet for like the library reading time and they're reading a book says about Marian Anderson who was the famous lady who sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I heard her story and I went home and I tried to sing, just because I heard her story, I never even thought about singing as being a thing. I went home and I tried to sing and I was singing to my mom and my mom's like, oh you sing so beautifully. And she took me across the street because there was a girl across our street who sings. I was like super nervous. I just remember staring at their door and you know African moms. Since then, I was hooked. My first memory with music wasn't even music.