Statement from a Facebook user: “Damn. Should female rappers just give it up?! Seems like in Hip-Hop women are seen and not heard UNLESS they’re tooting their half-naked ass on stage singing/rapping.”
I am perplexed about the images of women in the media for years now. As I read the Facebook users statement, I immediately thought about Titi Lo’Kei, a young female rapper on the rise. With the release of her first video and international song “Buss My Brain”, I wanted to know how she was personally developing to avoid becoming a negative statistic in the music industry.
During our interview I was able to find out more about the life practices that are sure to keep Lo’Kei grounded and giving. I had an amazing aha moment. Artists, particularly women artists, need to dream bigger than the centralized images that inundate us on cable television. It is our individual responsibility to become familiar with cultures and entertainment other than what we see on 106 and Park or MTV.
Lo’Kei is an African-American rap artists with Nigerian roots, and a hit single in rotation in countries including Dubai, Nigeria, and the States. In order to be a better musician, Lo’Kei brushes up on the history of music genres and writes new music daily. The awareness of women musicians is sure to help Lo’Kei become comfortable with HER image. With aims on international success, she cannot afford to ONLY replicate the images of female rappers found in the United States.
There are a few things that Lo’Kei is certain about as it relates to her music career, “I don’t want to fall into the norm. I want to set myself apart from the image of current female rappers.” The music industry is fast paced. There is no sample start-up budget and blue print for upcoming artists to turn to. On any given day, a new opportunity can arise that requires Lo’Kei to adjust her plans, including her finances. She admits to not being great at budgeting, but when beginning a new project, Lo’Kei always looks to her resources and personal connections to get the best deals. Once she sets her mind on achieving the next step, she then begins to save and plan accordingly.
Most productive in her car, Lo’Kei writes some of her best lyrics in her mobile office, getting most of her business done on the move. Although committed to music, her most important life priority is building her relationship with God. Her attendance in church has wavered over the past few years, but Lo’Kei has refocused her priorities and re-ignited her commitment to God by attending church weekly, and trusting Him to guide her music career.
Lo’Kei says that church is a community asset in which others should turn to more often. Churches provide resources and outreach services including tutoring, donations, arts, and many other programs. Lo’Kei is certain that God led her to music. Early on, she was unsure about the role she is to play in the industry. It is becoming clear that she is to “lead by example, and be somebody that girls can look up to.” Lo’Kei also wants to “give advice to female music artist that allows them to avoid the pit falls that many women musicians before us have had to experience.”
With Titi Lo’Kei, a lot is at stake for not only her, but for women all over the world. Some artists and athletes make it clear that they do not want to be considered a role model. Although there is on-going discussion about whether or not this is acceptable, Lo’Kei has accepted the responsibility to use her growing fame to become a role model for female artists. It is because of this, that Titi Lo’Kei is a Success Formula for personal and community development.
Titi Lo’Kei’s Success Formula = Live the example + Active church involvement + International aspirations
More on Lo’Kei
What is your idea of community development?
Mentoring. Leadership. Being the example. Often people help, but they don’t live it.
What does success look like for you?
Bridging the Gap. As I travel to other countries, I noticed that people were listening to a variety of musicians, not just those in their city, state, or country. I want to play a part in bridging the gap for artists’ exposure everywhere.
– Attend church every Sunday
– Read the bible and pray EVERY morning and evening
– During the next year, improve my finances and savings with a focus on financial freedom
Update 7.12.11- From Titi Lo’Kei
- I still attend church every Sunday and I am also reading the bible more everyday.
- I pray all day everyday but i am still forming a habit of reading the bible every morning and evening. I have picked up on reading the bible but I am not yet at the point where I want to be. But as long as i am making progress I am happy.
- The one thing I keep going back to is budget. I remember saying I never set budgets because music expenses can be so random and unpredicted but that answer actually bothered me. Since then I have been studying ways to budget and save money in order to plan for unexpected expenses. I have also been finding ways to make extra money and seek out investors that are interested in sponsoring my music career. I often times live too much in the present instead of thinking long-term when it comes to money, but all of that is slowly changing for the better.
- Success Formula’s: What I Have Learned Part 2 (ashleyscwalls.com)