What is the worst you’ve ever injured yourself?
Four months ago I was in a car crash. I was sitting in the back seat. A car made an illegal U-turn in front of us in L.A. My daughter’s father was driving and my sister was in the front seat. We were going to drop me off to rehearsal in my car. My poor Prius was totalled. I broke my wrist. I busted my chin open—seven stitches—and I chipped my tooth. I had never broken a bone before. It wasn’t like a really bad break. I had a cast on for what seems like too long. My daughter was in the car too. But I was the one who was injured the worst. My daughter had a tiny scratch from the seat belt. And why I broke my wrist, I was trying to keep from banging heads with her on impact—I reached out and her car seat broken my wrist. To me it was so traumatic, seeing her after the crash when she was screaming. It was like a movie. But she’s not even scared to drive in a car now.
I look up to Drake. I think everything in his whole career is commendable. He can act, he can rap, he can sing. I can relate to him. He’s mixed, I’m mixed. Everything he does, I just take note because I feel like he’s doing a really good job of just being well-rounded.
The crash also marked the end of your vegetarian phase, right?
Not the end. It paused it because I was doing really, really good. I was vegan for six months and prior to that, the month before I started vegan I was vegetarian. It’s something I had always wanted to do since elementary because I loved animals and then I learned the health benefits so I started doing it. Everything was better. My mood was better. As soon as I left the emergency room I was like, “I want chicken!”
Everyone was like, “Yeah. Your body is craving it because you need the extra strength,” but really, vegetables and stuff would give you more strength and healing power. I think it was more for comfort. It was something I felt like I needed.
That set me all the way back and I started eating meat again, so now I’m slowly trying to get myself back. It’s a process. If you really want to make that change you have to work stuff out of your system, and not just do it cold turkey. At least me. I know if I did it like that I would flip-flop.
What is the worst you’ve ever embarassed yourself in front of someone you idolize?
Idolize? Well, someone I look up to. This is recent. This just happened last night. It’s very embarrassing because—well, it’s more embarrassing for him. OK, let me just tell you the story... Last night on SNL... I look up to Drake. I think everything in his whole career is commendable. He can act, he can rap, he can sing. I can relate to him. He’s mixed, I’m mixed. Everything he does, I just take note because I feel like he’s doing a really good job of just being like well-rounded. And not only that, I think he’s really talented. I’m always asking him for advice with stuff and I’m always trying to figure out how he deals with being such a big celebrity.
Last night during the goodbyes on SNL, we’re all standing there. And obviously, he’s the only person that I know on the stage. I’m already nervous. The whole time I’m at SNL I’m nervous. And everybody starts hugging each other, and I’m just standing there. And right when I turned around, he goes to hug me and it looks like I totally dissed him.
So they made a gif of it, and it really looks like I was like, mad at him or something. It was embarrassing to me because it’s like, “Oh I don’t want him to think that he brought me on SNL and I’m like, ‘Anyway...’ ” He knows what it was, what happened. Watching it back it totally looks like I did. And it went viral today. Reading it online they’re like “Oh you curved Drake on SNL.” It just looked so bad. He tried to hug me and I turned away. I was so embarrassed. But he knows what it was.
People like to make up their own stories, don’t they?
They do. I’m the queen of awkward situations. Me acting naturally is awkward. I have to purposefully act normal for it to not be awkward because, I don’t know, that’s just me. I’m not aware of my body language or facial expressions so whatever.
As a woman in entertainment business, hip-hop in particular, and celebrity in 2014, people want to put things together. Like you make a song with, Drake you perform with Drake, you go together. How do you deal with that?
I just tell the truth. If someone asks me something, without compromising whatever that person—I’m not going to tell their secrets, or anything if we are friends. I ignore it if it’s negative. Sometimes I respond and I’ll be like, “No. You don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s not what it is.”
I like to explain myself a lot. I like for people to hear it from me just because at the end of the day I’m a person like you’re a person and you wouldn’t want someone to think something is true about you that wasn’t, or if it is true you would own up to it. It’s new to me, so I’m still learning.
I told [Drake] about it. I knew that he was going to see it eventually so I told him about it. I’m like, “Remember when you went to hug me and I turned around? They made a gif of it and it looks like I dissed you but I just wanted to let you know it looked like that. But you were there, you knew what happened.” He was like, “You go on the Internet too much.” And I was like, “You know what? I probably do.”
I probably read too many comments, too many opinions. I’ve been there. I’ve been a person that would be like, “Hmm.” I was never vocal about it but I’ve had those thoughts like, “Oh this must be this or that. Or that wasn’t good,” when I was a teenager. Now because I do this job and I understand what you go through and all that, I’m more understanding. No one is perfect. There’s a saying, “Promote what you love rather than bashing what you hate.”
If you’re always talking about what you don’t like or how this person doesn’t do this right or whatever, to me, it shows your insecurity as a person. You don’t have to express that. That’s just you putting out negativity in the world. If something strikes a chord in me, I go, “Well, why don’t I like that? Why does it make me feel this way?”
It always comes back to me. An insecurity or a jealousy and if it is that I go, “Well, you do this good,” and it diminishes and I can say, “She’s a good singer. She’s pretty.” You can start having good opinions about things. There are some people who are always like, “Ugh! I hate this. I hate that. He sucks.”
I just want to be the person that helps people get out of that way of thinking. I know there has to be a balance of good and bad. But it’s unnecessary to be negative like that.
How did you meet Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino?
We have the same publisher. One of his best friends is one of my brother’s best friends. Fam went to school with my brother that passed away. He had said something to Donald, so they set it up with my publisher to meet after Kimmel. They came and we have the same sense of humor, very sarcastic and dry. It was automatically like, “I like you! We can be friends.”When we left we were like, we need to work and I was like, “I’ll send you something tomorrow.” I sent it to him and he called me and asked me a few things about the song. That’s when I had just thought about the John and Yoko visual, [and told him] “So this is this and this is that. We’re going to do a visual.” He’s like, “I’m down. I get it.”
A few other people had sent me verses and I was just kind of like, “Hmm.” They didn’t take the time to understand it like he did and they didn’t send it right away like he did. It was meant to be him on that song.
A lot of people think you two are together, maybe because of the cover of the ‘Bed Peace’ single. Putting that visual out to the Internet, you know people are going to make up their own mind. Did that bother you?
It didn’t bother me because he’s an actor. We’re both creative people. We are friends and we hang out, we’re friends. I was interviewed by someone and they asked me, do we go out? And I said, “No we’re just friends but I’m also single, so you never know what friendships can develop into or if we’re going to be friends in a few years. We like each other as people, so you know, who knows?”
I’m very honest about that. If someone is just straightforward, and they’re like, “Do you date?” And if we’re not dating I’ll be like, “No. But that doesn’t mean I hate him or I think he’s ugly.”
So there’s no one guy in your life right now?
OK, so here’s the thing. I’m about to give you—not a bullshit answer. There is. But I’m single. Not by choice. Only because I found now that when I talk to guys, they’re sort of wary because they know about Donald, they know I’ve worked with Drake. So it’s always like, they don’t take me serious. They’re always side-eyed, suspicious. But I’m very loyal in relationships.
If I’m your girlfriend that’s it. I’m practicing to be your wife at that point because I treat it very seriously. I feel like I was born to be a mom and a wife and totally domesticated. I’m not going to spend my whole time trying to prove to that person that I am really who I say I am. You have to give stuff time for them to really see that like, “Oh you’re really not, like, a whore,” because that’s what I always say when I’m posed with those questions. “What about when you go on tour?” It’s just like, if I’m with you—what do you mean? I’m not a man. I’m a woman. I can control myself.
Is that really how it is? Women can control themselves better, you think?
I believe so. At least in my case. I feel like I can control myself but if I’m single, if I don’t have anything I’m obligated to do for you. At the same time I’m a woman, I would like a man to take control and say “I want you to be with me. No, I don’t want you to talk to those guys.” Give me rules, yeah, why not. Be a man.
But I can say that there is a person that I hope that we grow to blossom and be everything a beautiful couple can be.
Was that in place before you did this last body of work?
No. I mean, we met before that but it’s sort of a new thing.
Is this someone who’s in the industry?
Kind of. Not in it like how I’m in it.
Because that presents its own unique set of challenges.
It does. But it’s definitely someone that understands.
I wish you the very best.
Like I said, you never know. I feel like if the options aren’t open, keep the options open until it’s a defined thing. Me, I’m a free spirit. I don’t know what the future holds. I could meet someone tomorrow and I’ll have to call you and be like, “remember that part, where there’s a person? That changed. It’s a new one.” Just because you never know, I’m young.
I have to ask about the tweet about your ideal date.
It was a Tumblr question. Someone asked me about the perfect date. That was a great list of activities.
The observatory was the most intriguing part.
I love the observatory. I feel like I have to space my visits there because it’ll get played out after a while. Me and Donald were supposed to go to the observatory but he left out of town. Have you been?
Yeah. Since I was a kid.
Yeah. I love planetariums. The New York one?
No the Griffith Park. What is it called, with the theater. The observatory is the whole thing, and they call the theater something else. Yeah the planetarium. That’s where you sit in the chair and the stars move all over the ceiling and then they flash the pictures of the zodiac over the stars. Have you been in Grand Central Station?
They do that there?
Why can’t you trust girls who don’t like Hello Kitty?
I tweeted that a few months ago. I never trust a girl that doesn’t like Hello Kitty. It doesn’t have to be super girly. I feel like she appeals to every girl and it’s you giving into your femininity by accepting—why not like Hello Kitty? It’s a cat. If you’re not into pink there’s a green character, blue.
Did you learn the hard way? Did a girl who didn’t like Hello Kitty that betrayed your trust?
I’ve just learned that if a girl doesn’t like Hello Kitty she probably takes herself too seriously, is into designer, even though there are Hello Kitty collaborations that could satisfy the designer girl. There’s different ways to enjoy Hello Kitty.
You’re passionate about Hello Kitty.
I am because I don’t like pink. My daughter likes pink Hello Kitty stuff. I have all the black Hello Kitty stuff, the camo, the leopard print, you know. It’s no one person, but I’ve noticed when someone is like, “Ugh! Hello Kitty it’s so childish.” It’s like, really? Calm down. It’s cute, OK?
Tell me about No I.D., how you met him and how has he impacted on your work?
When I met No I.D. I thought it was about production. I got a call from Noah Preston, who’s my A&R at Def Jam now and he was like, “I’m working with No I.D. now and I want him to meet you.” I’m like, cool. At that meeting is when he was taking the position at Def Jam and that he wanted me to be his first act over there and I’m like, “Wow! OK.” At that point I had met with a few other labels, it was right after the mixtape release.
I sort of wanted to do it independent but he really made me feel like he really understood because he wasn’t a labelhead. He’s an artist. He’s a creative person and producer. Not only that but he’s a vegetarian, he doesn’t drink alcohol anymore, he just seems like he’s where I would like to be. We ended up having talks about Buddhism and about spirituality and everything was just very compatible. It just made me feel like, yeah, this is a good partnership.
He gets it. He trusts me. He trusts that I know my vision. He’s just always like, “You tell me,” and I obviously respect him as an artist and I know what he can do for me, as far as bringing my music to another level because usually I’m like, “I don’t care who you are. If you don’t get the vision, it doesn’t make sense.” He has proven so far that he gets it.
Who is J-Hennessy?
J-Hennessey is who I am when I drink Hennessey.
It starts with a drink.
It starts with a drink of Hennessey. Obviously my name is spelled J-h-e-n-e, so I had this friend in middle school that used to call me J-Henny. When I grew up, that was my drink of choice, Hennessey. Hennessy and apple juice or Hennessey and ginger ale. It tastes really good. It tastes kind of like a holiday drink. Happy juice.
I feel like I have a lot of different sides to me, probably too many to name but J-Hennessey is like my rapper, hip-hop, more aggressive side of me where I feel like when I’m mad, I feel like I can battle rap a rapper when I’m J-Hennessey. She’s not the best rapper alive yet but she may be. She’s on her way.