We had the good fortune of connecting with Kerrie Joy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kerrie, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
“Show me someone not full of herself and I’ll show you a hungry person.” – Nikki Giovanni I was hungry all my life, full of everyone else’s ideas of who I should be, why I should be, and what I should do with my time on this earth. Sometimes, I still get caught in the trap of trying to be what everyone else needs me to be. But, for the most part, I took the time to discover myself, all the good, bad, uncomfortable, and have learned to be full of all that I am. I’ve learned to enjoy my own company, I’ve learned to honor myself, I’ve learned to own my story and my power, in spite of my failures or shortcomings…and although I’m still facing my insecurities, I’ve learned to embrace every part of me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I love words. I think a lot of that love comes from growing up in a very legalistic church and reading the KJV bible daily. I’ve always been fan of the earlier forms of modern English. The intensity of the words, the power they possessed, they almost felt like spells cast. And they did cast a spell on me, brainwashed me most of my life because of those who wielded its power over me. But when I started writing, sharing stories, sharing poems, I always find myself falling back on this iteration of modern English. It is what, I believe, gives me the power that “sets me apart.” I speak with strength because many of my poems are prayers and testimonies. I never knew I could do this professionally, but I did know that I didn’t want to do anything else but unpack my humanity, my journey, and the journey of those around me, threading them together by dissecting and rearranging syllables and sounds…so I just went for it. It was never easy. Like Erykah Badu said, I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit, but if it weren’t for the artists that came before me, wielding their vulnerability as a sword of strength, I don’t think I would be free in my heart and my mind today. So I pay it forward and encourage every single one of my listeners/readers/supporters to come alive within themselves, through their own vulnerability and freedom.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’d take them to Tres Girasoles to grab some breakfast burritos then Whittier Cafe for coffee in the morning then I’d take them down Welton St. just to wander, see who’s on the block, talk to some friends. For lunch, we’d probably stop at Welton St. Cafe and hang with Fathima for a bit. We’d have to go out to the mountains for a little bit, get some fresh air and perspective, meditate, laugh, act up. Then I’d bring them back to my house in Swansea and hang out in my backyard with some drink and herb, maybe watch a movie on the grass and eat some chicken mole and rice from the one and only Hugo Quintana.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I wouldn’t be where I am today without my mother, my friend and fellow poet, Leah James, my brother Ryan, my girls, Raj, Monique, and Such, and the love of my life, Candi CdeBaca. My mother made me the woman I am today, and I am grateful for everything she poured into me. Even when it created conflict within me, it still strengthened me. Leah, Ryan, Raj, Mo, Such, and Candi have held me down through some of my most difficult transitions in this life. It is because of them that I am the Kerrie Joy folks know and love. Most people don’t see the growing pains, and I promise I wouldn’t have made it this far, as a human, without them.
Jason Melino, Marla Keown, Ryan Landell