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Sunday Observer Interview with Queen Ifrica

Posted on 25th November 2007 by Reggaelifestyle
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After finding broad success and mass appeal with her string of catchy singles and her last studio album, Fyah Mumma, royal reggae empress Ventrice Morgan (known to fans as Queen Ifrica) says she is now poised for greater heights in the music industry. And we believe her. As soon as she kicks the first verse of her 2007 runaway chart-topper Below The Waist, you immediately recognise an artiste in great lyrical form. But hearing her deliver her thought-provoking messages on tracks like Daddy and Rasta Nuh Chat Rasta, it becomes clear that the Kingston native, now 32, is certainly not the same artiste she was five years ago. Was she holding out on us all along? At its core, Queen’s music is still reggae with a ‘toops’ of dancehall, yet it gives a taste of her singing talent, which, contrary to her I’m-not-a-girly-girl persona, is surprisingly sweet.

She recently sat down with the Sunday Observer to talk about spreading messages through her music, handling harsh criticism, her Rastafarian faith and her hopes for Jamaica and the future of her career.

Sunday Observer: With all the love you’ve been getting from fans and music lovers in recent times, how are you handling all the attention?

Queen: It’s all good. When you work hard at something, you feel good when you get the reward. I guess people are just rewarding me for the good music I have been putting out. I write all my music so that makes it even more special (Laughs).

Sunday Observer: Your hit single Below The Waist touches on the issue of domestic violence. Why such a topic?

Queen: It’s just another reality of everyday life. Everybody knows that in relationships you are going to have ups and downs but it is important for the lovers to remember why they decided to be together in the first place. Fighting and quarrelling doesn’t solve anything. It is even worse when the children might be affected. We have to be especially careful and remember to take care of the kids.

Sunday Observer: Incest is another disturbing issue you’ve explored, this time in your song Daddy.

Queen: That is another pressing family issue. You have young girls in Jamaica who only have their fathers to look up to. They listen to everything their fathers say and they are quietly being molested by their fathers. Many of them are now wishing their fathers would die.

Sunday Observer: Do you have knowledge of any actual cases here in Jamaica?

Queen: I know of too many who have been experiencing it. Many have come forward and are willing to talk about it since the song came out. You have 12-year-olds in institutions who are pregnant by their fathers and that is very, very sad. We need to start fighting issues like these to protect our children.

Sunday Observer: Did I hear some harsh criticism and controversial talk that the song should be banned?

Queen: There was a little banning argument going on. The song is really causing debate in the streets and that is what music is supposed to do. Music is supposed to incite dialogue and move people to take action.

Sunday Observer: I also hear you’re a motivational speaker.

Queen: Yes, I do a lot of motivational speaking in schools and it is through talking to the young students and asking them questions that you find out the many problems a lot of them are facing.

Sunday Observer: How would you describe the power of music in your experiences?

Queen: Music is a great medium to affect change. People use it as a source of relief they can turn to when they need to. There’s nothing wrong with talking about issues but when you start to glorify things like violence and slackness in a society like ours, that’s when you start to impact negatively on our young people. That’s why many of our artistes need to get more responsible and start using mature approaches to their music. I’m not here to tell everybody to become Rasta but my message is that we should strive for positiveness and upliftment.

Sunday Observer: You also call out those Rastafarians who are doing wrong in the faith on Rasta Nuh Chat Rasta - a tune I find myself humming all the while. “Pass me the piece of pipe iron,” you sing. Speak on that.

Queen: I am from the Rastafarian faith and when I talk about anything, I talk about myself first, and in the Rasta faith, there is a lot of corruption and mistrust going on. People look up to Rastas to set proper examples. So what I am saying is that we should be living up to what we stand for, what ‘Rasta’ is supposed to be about. Don’t dictate to people and you are not living righteous at the same time. When we travel overseas, a lot of the foreigners are disappointed and surprised at how some of our Rastas behave. They are expecting us to live up to the unity and discipline we are supposed to represent. I am not perfect, but I try to live up to my faith and lead by example.

Sunday Observer: Do you think reggae music is in a good place right now?

Queen: The music is so big right now, it’s not even funny. No matter where you go in the world, reggae is there. It’s our number one tourist product. I think the government needs to do more to protect the rights of our musicians. We, as Jamaicans too, need to start supporting and looking out for the positive side of the music instead of the deteriorating side. I would love to see our young people learning more about the icons and forefathers of reggae music, through the establishment of more musical institutions.

Sunday Observer: How have your touring engagements been going?

Queen: Good. I just came back from Virginia the other day and I have a few more foreign shows coming up. I am booked for all the major shows here for the holiday season. I will be performing at shows like Sting and Rebel Salute before going back on the road for some more overseas touring.

Sunday Observer: So who will you be “clashing” with at Sting?

Queen: (Laughs) I’ll be clashing with the negatives and all the careless fathers out there!

Sunday Observer: What does Queen Ifrica do in her ‘me’ time?

Queen: I spend a lot of my free time writing. I am always trying to find a new topic that people will find interesting, agree with and say thanks for.

Sunday Observer: I know your record Fyah Mumma came out some time ago, but is there a new album in the works?

Queen: Yes, I am working on a new one which I hope will be ready for release in March. I think I’m going to put less tracks on this one. It will be more compact and exclusive.

Sunday Observer: Looking ahead, what are some of the other projects you hope to undertake in the new year?

Queen: There are so many projects I want to undertake. But, importantly, I want to start a public workshop on bleaching because it is really taking over our society, especially in the garrison communities. It is way out of control. I have been doing some research on the effects that bleaching can have on the skin, and a lot of our women and men who are bleaching do not know about them. I want to get the doctors and people from the health sector involved to help spread awareness through the workshop. We need to start talking to people about these things because having the knowledge and not passing it on is very unfair.

Sunday Observer: That is so true. Do you have any hopes and dreams for the country that you’d like to share?

Queen: I would love to see Jamaican people start to live more in unity. We all know that you and everybody not going to get along, but we can all try and unite and not kill one another.

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Responses to.. Sunday Observer Interview with Queen Ifrica

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ras jerry posted on November 29th 2007

Greetings to my sweet sister,QUEEN IFRICA in the name jah RASTAFASRI.i really appreciate your help and contributions towards our society to live in peace and harmony.jah will continue to bless u and also bless every words that comes out of your mouth for the betterment of the people,jah guide and protection.nuff respect.jerry chuka from nigeria



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Queen Ifrica is ever so positive. She works hard and deserves every success right now. I really belive she is living up to her name (mamma Africa) taking care of what she says and does to impact our society in a positive way. Love you mamma and proud of you too. Keep it real and righteous Queen Ifrica.
Bless,
Ket.



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cindie raven posted on March 28th 2008

great to read your interview and hear what you have to say. i admire your passion and honesty. you are the sort of role model all rastafarians should be guided by. very divided are their actions because many only believe in themselves and the power they can have over others. Respect and Love to you Queen Ifrica xxx



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Deldris La.Borde posted on April 3rd 2008

You r an inspiration I love ur song DADDY. It touches my heart.



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Jo Powell posted on June 8th 2008

Hi there!

I am a survivor of sexual abuse and have recently set up a self help group for adult survivors in West London for persons of African and African Caribbean descent. Although, it is in its infancy, I have already received encouraging feedback to broaden my scope. To this end, I would dearly like to connect with similar organisations in Jamaica in order to share and exchange ideas. Queen Ifrica has considerably opened the path for debate and raising awareness of this emotive subject and can only applaude her for her candour. Jo, London NW10, UK



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