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    • Well, how has being a woman emcee stifled you? Have you felt like you haven’t been granted the opportunities you want to get because you’re a woman? But I didn’t want to have too many interludes. Originally there were only supposed to be 3 but we ended up with 4, because one of them was the “No women = no hiphop” interlude. That interlude, and the person who was speaking was ang13, and the question I asked for everyone at the end was “What do you see for the future of women in hiphop?” And ang13 went into a whole tangent, she didn’t even want to say what she wanted to see for women in hiphop. She was saying if it wasn’t for women, there would BE no hiphop. I never knew that DJ Kool Herc’s sister was the reason that there’s hiphop. All of the women on the interludes, they are all artists that have been in the game for 20+ years. I learned a lot from just speaking with them. But especially for the “No women = no hiphop” interlude. It would have made the “Future is Female” interlude super long, so I had to make it by itself, because I felt like people HAD to hear this especially. It’s almost controversial, the way that she’s saying it! “We’ve been here, we raised them, and they still disrespect us.” SO powerful.

      I will say that a friend and I have kickstarted a documentary about Chicago women in hiphop. We’ve been compiling footage. I knew when my friend asked me to do this documentary with him, it was perfect timing, because I was already doing the Synergy album. So I asked them these questions that would be useful for the album and the documentary as well. So some of the things that you’ll hear in the interludes will be used in the documentary as well. It’s something we are putting together, we don’t have a release for it yet. We are collecting interviews.

    • What’s been the most rewarding thing about seeing Synergy out there and in the world? What kind of reactions have you received from fans?

    • Well, people have definitely been loving it. Even from doing the album release show, just hearing everyone’s chanting, and affirming YES, YES, that means a lot. When people are reacting to it, that shows the people love it, and the music is great. People can react to it, they can really think on it. I think the most rewarding is to give people a platform, to be able to give people opportunity to speak or express themselves in whatever creative form they contributed to. That’s the most rewarding, to be able to share the gift with other people. It’s not an easy process, because we’ve had a lot of people that joined, a lot of people that’s left, and the remaining people that stood with this project, and that tells me a lot, the people that were dedicated and thankful. I am always telling them “Thank you for being a part of Synergy” and they are saying thank you right back. It’s good to have people who will always appreciate each other. I just want us to keep skyrocketing. Last night I submitted the music videos to a few film festivals. I want this project to keep living. I don’t want this project to be released and that’s it. I want Missy Elliot to see it. I want Queen Latifah to see this. Because this has NEVER BEEN DONE. An all-women produced and perform hiphop album has not been done before. I want people to create dances to it, to implement it in their hiphop curriculum, to do workshops around it. I don’t want it to ever die down. 

      Photocredit: https://www.instagram.com/chicologi/

    • Anybody can follow me on social media through JLeslieMonique, especially Instagram, where they can stay up on the updated works. I also have a website, JovanLandry.com, and a monthly newsletter they can sign up to stay up to date. And as far as next steps? I want Synergy to keep going up, so just submitting it to some film festivals, and I would love to do more performances together, and doing my own thing aside from Synergy, some video work with this amazing project called Project Tool where I video and photo-document a group of dancers creating dance floors they make by hand.

      I’ve been added to do video documentation for the project, and they create their own dance floors as a way to call upon the ancestors who created their own things by hand, and also to provide a resource to other dancers, they can rent out these floors, have a mobile stage. You can have a dance floor anywhere, in the middle of the street. So we recently went to Haiti in December for the Black Arts Retreat, and we visited a carpenter, seeing how they create their own furniture.

      Starting next week, we will be in New Orleans for a residency with Dancing Grounds. So I’ll be there with them to document and be a part of the entire process. So that’s an ongoing project that I’ve been a part of and traveling with.