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Life during the pandemic has been crazy, interesting, and weird. I’m just trying to flow with the pace. I moved homes and never really had a chance to say a proper goodbye. My life just started again, unconsciously, and without me even knowing it, and I was dealing with these feelings of past and present, and then future and past. Then fast forward to spending a year in the house alone, pregnant, and then having another year alone with my child and still in the house—that could drive someone stir crazy.
I conceived my son on November 19th, 2019 while I was on my European tour. When the lockdown happened, I got stuck in Atlanta. I was four or five months pregnant and staying in hotels and Airbnbs, all kinds of places. That experience taught me the difference between isolation and solitude, and really understanding and noticing when I slip into either of those spaces.
Motherhood has definitely taught me patience and knowing how to navigate communication.
Motherhood was challenging because I didn’t have a sense of community. People knew how to show up for me as an artist and an entrepreneur, but being able to articulate to them how to show up for me as a mother was the biggest hurdle I had to get over during the pandemic. Motherhood has definitely taught me patience and knowing how to navigate communication.
I’ve been in music and the creative space for so long that I started living in a digital world and lost the energy to work with my hands. So this winter, I took up ceramics. Ceramics led me to collecting furniture, and that led me to meeting all different types of collectors. I met one of the original engineers from Panasonic. He opened a whole world for me.
Now I collect old electronics. I’ve got the first-ever record player from Panasonic. I have micro TVs that are as small as an iPhone and that people used to take with them in the Vietnam War. I’ve recently gotten into pieces from the Space Age. I’m really invested.
I like hunting for things and the art of discovery. With how accessible culture is right now, there’s something very satisfying about finding a piece no one else has or approaching something from a different perspective. Like right now, I’ve got my eye on a Windows 98 IBM computer. I think the reason why I’m so intrigued by old and analog hardware is because I was so exhausted from existing within a digital space.
I’m very into the relationship between future and past, past and future, and sitting somewhere in the middle of that. I know I’m not the only one. I heard Kanye say something like, “Not Black History Month, but Black Future Month,” and I think he’s onto something. I love looking to our elders for the past, but we also need to think about what modern things we can archive for our future. It’s my new little science experiment I’m trying to figure out.
I’m originally from Savannah, Georgia. Savannah is beautiful. Its core value is in its original architecture, the historic preservation, its real estate—the original DNA of the city. You have that coastal energy, but then it’s also hood. I like to call it a baby New Orleans. A hybrid of wetlands and culture. That’s me: culture, but wetlands.
I grew up in a very strict Christian way because I’m from the South and my mom wanted to instill that in me. I didn’t really have a choice in the matter, because of where in the world I was placed geographically: the Bible belt. That was just my upbringing. But it was the Baptist Church that also led me to music and performance.
Growing up, I knew a lot of people, but I didn’t have a lot of friends. My aunties were very influential to me. They were adults, but they were cool. They would take me to parties and college campuses and teach me about music. From Shania Twain to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to the Dixie Chicks—I first heard about them from my aunties.
The first time I smoked, I fucking thought I was dying.
My mom’s so old school, she calls it “reefer.” I’m like, “Can we please say cannabis or something?” But she’s from the ‘80s. The first time I smoked, I fucking thought I was dying. My friend was crying. I think I was either having a panic attack or the weed really got me. She was like, “You better not die on me, girl.” I was 18. I was like, “I can’t, I can’t.” Terrible experience. I did not have any knowledge of cannabis, the different varieties, how much I was supposed to do.
I really started smoking after college. My experience at 18 fucked me up. So I educated myself. I don’t like tobacco leaves. I like raw cones and papers. I’m more of a daytime smoker. I don’t like indica. I like a sativa-dominant hybrid. I didn’t really have that education back when I started.
I like the way it enhances and elevates creativity. I love that cannabis softens me. Because I’m already rabid, it takes me down to a seven. Some people like to smoke to get high. I do too, but I really use it medicinally as well. My anxiety, my stress level—it brings me down to regular people level.
My face-melting days are over. I’m too old for that shit.
Now I like to smoke with other florals and herbs, like rose petals or lavender. I love the taste of it. I like edibles as well. Twins That Cook have really good cookies. They’re awesome. Kiva’s pretty tight, too. Some of my friends have homegrown weed and I love how organic and less processed it feels. Living in L.A., you can definitely tell the difference between Cali weed and Georgia weed. And I could instantly tell the varietal by how I express myself when under the influence.
I like the relationship, or the language, between psychedelics and cannabis. I think those things interact really well together. I enjoy microdosing. I like it as an offering to put on top of where I’m already going. Nothing like, Oh my god. I saw my face melting. No salt to anybody who does that. But my face-melting days are over. I’m too old for that shit. It’s more about psychedelics as an enhancement. I feel this grounding with them that I don’t get with weed. Sometimes on a Saturday morning before the farmer’s market, I’ll put a little something on a yogurt parfait with honey and blueberries, and then go out into the world.
I stayed in Savannah because I got a scholarship to Savannah College of Art and Design, but I also knew that there was something in the city keeping me there. That’s when I really got my roots in music. I was in school and had a full time job, but I worked as a lounge singer on the weekends to get my stripes. I was singing a mixture of Rihanna covers, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott. Then I was like, Fuck this shit—I’m going to do my own original music. But the owner didn’t like that.
I was doing my own art and creative direction for my music videos, my rollouts, and album covers. Anything created visually for my music, I made it. This was in fucking ‘09—I was like DIY mami. I just knew how to build shit coming from SCAD. People thought I had money or a silent investor. They were like, “Are you signed? Do you have an angel investor?” I was like, “No. I’m doing this out of a need for visibility. I’m doing it out of a need for community, to express myself.” But then my money started getting low and I was like, “Fuck, I don’t want to be a barista anymore.”
With Slug, we do what we love. That’s how I know I’m in my purpose.
I tried to look for an art job. This was a time when being inclusive wasn’t popular. Somebody looking like me, trying to go talk to white agencies—they weren't trying to hire me in 2012, 2013. Even though I had the skill set, the knowledge, the background, and the education. There’s always been a barrier for someone like me. So I started an art collective.
Slug was four kids just trying to do what we love out of the need to be seen, out of the need to be able to express ourselves. We have illustrators, animators, set designers, and set installers, and when we all come together, we are Voltron Slug. We are a collective of artists, we are not a work for hire. I think our advantage is that we started out as a brand that produced our own content, shows, and merch—all that type of stuff. The agency came out of that, because people wanted to work with us on a service basis.
When we had our first event, 200 people RSVPed and 200 people showed up. That shit was wild. Then that’s when all these brands and shit were like, “Yo, we’re trying to work with you,” basically to get the sauce. It snowballed from there.
I’m going to keep it honest with you, I don’t really fucking know how this shit happened. For my music, I know exactly how it happened. I’ve always had to fight for that shit in my music career, just to be on the level. But Slug was never a thing I really had to fight for. With Slug, we do what we love. That’s how I know I’m in my purpose. That’s how I know I’m in my calling.
The end goal is to make things for the world and for our community.
I’m proud that we can authentically be in this space with people who trust our collaboration and our partnerships. We created Future First with Melina Matsoukas and gave five students $10,000 to make short films on Instagram Reels. I was very proud of that one last year, but I’m most proud of our consistency, our drive, our mission, and our laser focus to get the fucking job done and not compromise our artistic integrity or our identity, for a bag, for a check. Consistency always wins the race.
We’re working on a video game right now. We have a Slug girl that’s going to drop soon. We’re going to get into games, action figures, and collectables. That’s where I see Slug going, more into products. I don’t want to be an agency forever. I’d love to do partnerships, but that’s not the end goal for us. The end goal is to make things for the world and for our community. Modern archive and shit.