The onetime intern sports reporter and almost weather reporter in Atlanta has transformed herself into one of the best gossip writers in the business. The Spellman, NYU graduate and inventor of the Ms. Drama, The Drama Queen brand talks on her hometown, Harlem, her spiritualism, Alicia Keys and memorable interviews.Harlem World: Where were you born?
Ms. Drama: I was born in Long Island, NY. We moved when I was four years old. I was actually raised more so in Virginia. I spent some time in Connecticut, but I would consider myself a northern Virginia girl.
HW: Where did you go to school?
MD: I was an undergrad at Spellman College, and went to NYU for my masters.
HW: What was your major?
MD: As an undergrad I was an English major (it was a liberal arts school so they didn’t have journalism as a major). At NYU Graduate program I majored in Journalism/Mass Communications, in the GSAS program (Graduates school of Arts and Science).
HW: When did your passion for media begin?
MD: I always had a passion to talk. I knew I couldn’t see myself working behind a computer, I had to be doing something where I interacted with people, because I knew that was where my talent lied. It really didn’t hit me until my last year at Spellman. When I had an internship as a sports reporter at WSBTV, the Channel 7 News in Atlanta.
HW: What did you do during the internship?
MD: I would basically go out with all the regular reporters to cover stories. There were two semesters that interns stayed on for, and you would do two news casts. By doing that I got to edit and create the actual setup for a particular program, it was very entertaining.
HW: Do you remember any great stories?
MD: It was also great because that particular year it was All Star Week in Atlanta, and I fell in love with it, I really thought I wanted to be a sports reporter. I was actually thinking about staying in Atlanta to do that. They even offered me a position, not sports reporting since obviously I had no sports experience, but as a weather person, putting information into the system. In the end I had to make a realistic decision for myself. First of all, they weren’t paying that much, I could have survived but not comfortably, in addition to that I would have to make a decision about graduate school. I applied to two schools NYU and the University of Southern California. It’s funny because I applied late to USC and didn’t get in, but applied to NYU early and got in. So I said “ I guess I’m going to New York”. It just worked out like that, even though I swore up and down I was going to California!
HW: What have been some of the amazing events you’ve attended this summer?
MD: I actually just did an event yesterday where my logo (Ms.Drama Entertainment) was branded (the Casio G-shock event). In the past Kanye West headlined the event This year the event headliner was Ke$ha. It was a great event; lots of celebrities came through. Personally I’m so not start struck, because I interview so many celebrities that I don’t get excited about quote on quote celebrities. I don’t even know who’s a celebrity anymore! Like she’s a celebrity now? Great! All in all it was a good turnout. I think people partly came because of how crazy it’s been before. This year it was at the Hammerstein ballroom, my logo was branded in the VIP Gifting Suite. I had a client, that gave out “urban chic”, a Harlem store called The Vault Urban Clothing (on 145th Street), which gave out some “swag” to the artist who came through. The guest list included people from the Source, BET and even Wendy Williams came out. It was a very festive event.
HW: What are the top five most memorable interviews you’ve ever done?
MD: (laughter) It’s hard to say because honestly my memory isn’t the best. I feel like, and I hate to say this cause its very industry, but I don’t remember a lot of people or a lot of faces. Mainly because I’m constantly bombarded by new people and faces everyday. Firstly, I would have to say first Liza Rios (big puns wife). That interview was seen on a lot of different sites, as well as heard on a couple of radio stations such as Hot97. Mainly because of how she was living in a shelter, and also how Fat Joe hadn’t paid her any royalties. After that interview I got so many emails because it was so controversial and eye-opening at the same time. My interview talked about how she was living in a shelter, with her kids, and nobody knew it. After that interview many people emailed me asking me to reach out to her, saying that they’ll help and give her housing. It’s so funny because she e-mailed me yesterday saying that she would love to chop it up with me again, and that she’s doing fine.
Another interview that I did was with southern rapper Waka Flocka Flame, it was a really silly interview but he has a really crazy fan base, and his fan base bombarded me with emails because I was being sarcastic in the interview. He was really tired and I was basically his eighth interview that day so when you interview people and your fifth in line, usually that person isn’t going to be entertained with your questions. He had recently been shot at that time, at a car wash, so I said to him (hoping to get some type of reaction) how has this changed your life? Are you a different person? And he said Nah I still do what I got to do. And I said really? Do you still go to car washes? He got kind of animated after that and people assumed we had beef. Which is so not true. He’s a homeboy, whenever I see him he shows me love, and there are no hard feelings. I actually had to do another interview just to let people know there were no hard feelings.
Lastly, I did an interview was with G Dep who was on Diddy’s label, who had a song out called “Get Smacked Silly”. Before the interview I had heard through the grapevine that he was doing drugs, and I wasn’t going to dance around the subject. He opened up about his drug use and how he’s still on drugs (some sort of synthetic drugs) which got a lot of people talking. It was really sad, because he was saying how he still takes drugs, but he’s not addicted. A guy who was on top of his game than fell off due to drugs is heart wrenching. He was trying to get out of his situation, but it was clear that he still was in the situation.
HW: Why is music and entertainment gossip your niche?
MD: Through time I’ve become fond of hard news, and I believe I was trained at NYU to do hard news. Unfortunately I feel that news in general has become full of entertainment. Fox five reports what Jay- Z and Beyonce are doing, that has nothing to do on what affects my life. Because of my strong love for music. It’s been more so in that range, I want to get into more hard-hitting news, that affects the community with a twist (by meshing the two). I think my personality has always been about telling it how it is, when other news you have to stay more subjective. Entertainment news I can talk crazy all the time because its entertainment (laughter).
HW: Are there any new upcoming music artists that our Harlem World readers should keep their eyes open for?
MD: I’m actually going to one tomorrow for BMI, and John Legends brother Vaughn Anthony. Honestly, I think that some of the ones I’ve heard that excite me are the ones not necessarily on the radio. They’re a lot of artist that I interview, will they get a lot play I don’t know. It hard to say names but I will say a lot of artist in Indie labels should be looked at. Major labels don’t always bring out the big hits. Big Crit, who had a mix tape deal with Cinematic Records. I think they’ve been really on their grind with Big Cric and Nipsy Hustle. I personally like a lot of lyrical music. Look at the Indie labels they usually look for real talent.
HW: Who has inspired you in your career?
MD: Well honestly I see myself as a very spiritual person. God is always with me helping me with everything that I do. That’s basically has been the strong hold of my life. I’m blessed to have both parents in my life who never shot down my dreams, and just let me make it happen. Inspiration to me is having a circle of positive people in my life. Also, people who have managed to stay relevant in entertainment news, as a whole such as Oprah and Wendy Williams. Who regardless of how you feel about them you have to respect their hustle, because they have both been able to stay relevant in the industry, just as I hope to stay relevant in the industry.
HW: What advice do you have for future journalist?
MD: Basically my advice would be to write the vision down, and figure out ways to execute it. At the end of the day I’m very spiritual so I felt if I prayed about it and did all that I could do, in reason, that God would pick up the other half. If your serious about being what it is that you want to be (whether it be a singer, actress) that don’t require a nine to five schedule, you must be focused. And remember to not get your hands into to many projects at one time. It’s very easy to see an opportunity and say, “ if I do this, it will lead to this”. If there are to many connect the dots, you’re probably not going to get where you need to go, in a reasonable time span. Don’t get distracted, if it’s for you just know it’s for you.
HW: Any thoughts on Alicia Keys & Swizz Beats getting married this past weekend?
MD: Like I said, I’m a very tell it like it is person, and when I say that open letter from Mashonda, it definitely made me very sentimental – I’m always for the underdog. The good thing in this is that they are finally divorced, because I would hate to still be married and see them…no, it’s not okay. I think that she’s pregnant, however you look at the situation it was never going to be a perfect circle, there was bound to be rough edges. At the end of the day I just hope everyone can move on, I say that because it’s hard, relationships are hard. I don’t know what happen to put it down to that degree, but we know it wasn’t right. I definitely feel for Mashonda, and pray for her, her son, her movement forward, and I know there something great for her in store. As far as Alicia Keys and Swizz Beats I wish them the best. I have no issues with them, because it’s not my personal situation, but I feel like it’s so hard sometimes to hear Alicia Keys sing Karma (what goes around comes around). It’s really hard cause sometimes I’m like oh girl, who are you talking to sometimes? There are definitely a lot of interesting things going on with that situation, but at the end of the day you just have to worry about yourself. God Bless them, God teach them, and God help them.
HW Thank you.
By Megan Alexander Perry