A few years ago, while checking out some of the talent in Washington, DC, I learned of an artist named Maimouna Youssef. I came across a video on YouTube in 2011 of Youssef taking on a foe, however this was no rap battle. She urged the audience to say no to GMO in her song, “An Ode to Monsanto”. (Check out the video)
“Monsanto is kind of a personal one for me because I enjoy organic markets, and I am upset that it is so expensive. I would love to go to Giant’s and buy regular produce for half the price but I can’t because we don’t know if it’s genetically modified or not because they will not label the food. There is a big fight in Congress right now to make companies that genetically modify foods label it so you can have a choice of what you want to buy. That was more of my personal battle; I was watching a documentary, “Food, Inc.” and learn about food. Before then I was privy to hormones that were being pumped into animals, so I was like, “I’m going to stay away from animals, I’ll just be a vegetarian.” Then I found out that all of the vegetables are being genetically modified, I was like, “Come on, guys! I’m hungry! What am I supposed to eat?”
I like to use humor to tell stories that are otherwise very serious, it literally all happened after meditation. I heard all of the words, and started writing, I’m laughing like “I can’t say that! Are you serious?” Two of my musician friends came over and I was like, “Listen to this! I know it sounds crazy, but let me know what you think.” We put it together and performed it in an urban nightclub; the crowd was stand-offish, like “What are you doing?” That’s generally not what want to hear when they are drinking and want to have fun. I thought we had messed up, but the next day people tweeted and said they had gone online to research genetically modified food. That is all that matters, if one person says, “Wow, something you said made me make a life change that can save my life”, that is a big deal to me.”
One evening I was at home working and listening to television, I heard something very familiar. Maimouna Youssef’s “I Got A Man” (Check out the video) was playing in the promo for BET’s, “Being Mary Jane”. Youssef teamed up with DJ Jazzy Jeff, who produced the track and we have been spinning it since the year it was dropped.
Today, Youssef has released “The Re-Introduction of MuMu Fresh” as a FREE Download! She has shown us that she is more than a pretty face and a melodic voice. What messages are embedded in this musical treat? “On the new mixtape, “The Re-Introduction of MuMu Fresh” we talk about everything from student loans to “We’re Already Royal”. There is a beautiful piece, “Basquiat The Concrete” that deals with what artists go through, the joy of fame, the stress, why so many artists commit suicide in their 20s during the height of their fame. There are so many topics you will get on the mixtape. We have an awesome alpha woman’s anthem! You can download it from mumufresh.com, and on 5/1/14 is the release concert at the Howard Theatre. We will premier some of the music videos.”
Special thanks to Gypsy Soul & Soulcial Grind PR for granting access for the interview.
Photography by JW Photography.
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