HOLLYWOOD—Her name is Valencia King, she is letting it be known that she is ready to take Hollywood by storm. She is very upfront about her dreams for the future. It’s all about preparation and hard work.
MSJ: Valencia, how long have you had a passion for the arts i.e., singing, acting and even the dance?
VK: I was about 4, maybe 5 years of age; riding in the back seat as my mother sang along ever so passionately with tears in her eyes to the remarkable songstress, Erykah Badu. And once the song was over I remember telling my mother “I want to do that.” Without knowing, that began my passion for the arts. I started with the basics of dancing: ballet, tap, and jazz. Then as I got older, I wanted to explore the urban/hip hop side of dance. Which lead me to be the captain of my high school step team. In the mist of my dance exploration I also dove into acting, modeling and sports broadcasting, which has all helped me with producing and hosting my own radio talk show today.
MSJ: Growing up, who were some of the people you idolized as a teenager in the business and why?
VK: My grandfather, Leroy Locke, was the first person I knew “in the business;” he was a musician in the United States Navy and later formed his own Jazz band called “ZZAJ.” Watching him play & lead the band ignited the artist in me – and that’s why I admired him.
I also admired R&B singer/song writer and actress Brandy. The starring role she played in the 1990s TV show “Moesha” was a relatable character for African-American girls, such as myself, in a middle class world. Her character came from a hard working, two parent home who only wanted what was best for their children. The family had rules, responsibilities and a common respect for each other. Which is a life styled that paralleled mine.
MSJ: Living so far from Hollywood and New York what were your opinions and feelings about these two major centers of the creative arts?
VK: Although, I’ve never lived in Hollywood or New York, I have had the opportunity to visit and perform in both cities. Both cites offer an artist the chance to blossom and flourish beyond their wildest dreams.
In New York, I got the opportunity to participate in fashion shows as well as a youth summer camp production. And I went to Hollywood to participate in the casting calls & perform and compete at the HBO Brave New Voices. In the entertainment field, Hollywood and New York will continue to be vital cities on the path to my success.
MSJ: What do you believe is missing, generally, in show business? And what are you going to do in making positive changes for people of color especially image-wise?
VK: I believe that show business is missing a true reflection of middle classAmerica and people of color. In saying that, show business tends to portrayAmerica as rich or poor, smart or uneducated or that life is just black or white.
One of the things that I have done to bring positive light to the images of middle class America and people of color, is highlight the positive things people do for, about and in their community on my radio show; as well as provide youth and young adults a platform to showcase their talent, skills and/or academic achievements during my weekly student spotlight. As a motivational speaker I will also continue to educate, inform and empower youth and young adults about their self worth, self value and self respect – in hopes of creating a better future for those whose path I cross.
MSJ: What is one of the most exciting discoveries about yourself as an artist so far?
VK: The most exciting discovery for me was finding out that there was a poet/spoken word artist inside of me. And when pushed, challenged and even broken I was able to bring out words that otherwise would have never been said. Poetry has provided me with lyrical wings to soar and release any uncertainties, insecurities and doubts that I may have and other can’t admit to.
MSJ: When you’re alone at night and look in the mirror, who and what do you see at this point in your life?
VK: I see a chocolate covered princess becoming a young queen. I see the reflection of mother and the beautiful women that came before her. I see a young visionary with no limitations except herself…and she’s not standing in her own way. I see a star that has yet to rise. I see beauty is my reflection. I see me, Valencia King – The Woman in the Mirror.”