When it comes down to individuals I admire, LaMoi is definitely up there. Without having to be a celebrity, but just being her unapologetic self, I found myself following her.
Fearless, bold and intentional are just a few ways I would describe her.
A great energy to have around, she provides in this interview a look at herself that not too many have a chance to see.
Also, today is her birthday! And you can pre-order her book, This Wild Woman is Speaking today as well!
So go ahead and get to know Big Daddy!
All right. So, let me get started. One thing I recognize about you, is your connection to your third eye. Or what some people would call it would say, connection to the universe. Right. Now, I'd like to know, when did you first recognize that connection?
I don't know when I actually first recognize it. But I've always known that I had a deeper connection to the spiritual realm. Growing up in church, you know, like being connected spiritually to God is always the big thing. It's always like, you know, you always gotta… If you if you aren't connected, you're not really you're really, really
So it was, it was encouraged in a different way. And so I've always known that I had a deeper connection where I can just like, sense and know and smell things. I ran away from it for a long time, because it's really scary, to be so connected and like being able to sense things that people can't see. But you can just like, feel it hanging over your shoulder. It's really scary. So I ran away from it. But I would say I knew that I had a connection. Maybe around like, 18. Yeah, I'm 18 years old. And it's gotten stronger. And it's gotten weaker, because obviously, the more that you cultivated the more massages the stronger it becomes. But because I've always been so scared of it. I was just like, “No thank you!” (laughter).
So how did it manifest itself?
So I started manifesting when I would get a lot of dreams. Yeah, the biggest way for me is dreams. That would like foretell something. I remember a specific moment was like, I think I had a dream about someone. And then my mom came to me and said, You know, this person, like, especially isn't coming to church today. I said, because she's pregnant. My mom was just like, what do you mean, she’s pregnant? I don't know, she's pregnant. And then it came out, like a week or two later that she was pregnant. And mom was like, How did you know? And you know, and I just had a dream. I just had a dream. So that's when it started. And I would realise that my dreams would tell me things either things that like happened in the past, that was a revelation or things that were going to happen.
Compared to where you grew up, what are the things that you impart on your daughter and the things that you want to avoid?
Oh! The biggest thing the biggest thing that I both impart and want to avoid and work simultaneously is this idea of fear equals respects. You know, I'm Jamaican. So growing up, you know, you have to be afraid of your parents. You have to fear your parents, and I do not ever want my daughter to be afraid of me. I want her to respect me because the love is tangible. And she feels protected and not because she's scared that mom is gonna flip her lid. So those two things work somewhat simultaneously together and I see how it affects our relationships. She's such a fearless girl, you know, she does things that I encourage her to do that my parents would never encourage me to do. Like, the first thing I encourage… She talks back to me all the time. Like, all the people hear it, they get so concerned, you know, she tells me no, she says, I don't want to do that. She tells me, I don't like when you to talk to me that way, you know, and I sit down and I listen to her. And I say, thank you for telling me I apologize for raising my voice at you. If you don't want to do something that's okay. And I see how that instills in her this confidence. And this truth that it's okay for her to use her voice and be assertive, it's okay for her to use her autonomy. It's okay for her to say I don't like something and know that the adults that is there to guide her will protect her voice and not dismiss her voice.
I grew up African. So I know what you mean. When did you start this unlearning of the old ways?
I would say when I actually got pregnant. I didn't want kids. You know, I didn't want to be a mom, I didn't want to have children. And when I got pregnant, it was such a shock for me. It really jolted me out of everything that I knew. And I decided that I was going to be not only the best mom, but the best woman for her. And for me to do that. I had to unlearn all of the bullshit. I went through such a traumatic event in terms of the physical pregnancy and just the emotional, spiritual part of unlearning. I was 29. So 29 years of bullshit, right? You know, because I was determined, I was like, I'm going to be raising a little black girl. She's already gonna have a hard time in the world. I do not want to be the reason why her life is hard. So in this nine months that I have, let me just wipe the slate clean and start over. All children deserve more. You know, they deserve more than what we had. And they don't want to give it to her. I have to give it to her first.
So you are the creator of the Reckless Arts Collective. A space where people actually get to come in and share their art. What led you to seek entrepreneurship?
Oh, um, a couple of things. Number one, I knew very early, I did not want to work for anybody. You know, I did not want to have to answer to anyone. I did not want to have to submit myself to the systems of white supremacy, you know, they weren't gonna get me. They weren't gonna get me. They weren’t gonna hold me. I knew that very, very, very early on. But it was also when I got pregnant. I took time off. I was on mat leave for a year. And it was amazing. I got to create a got to do things I got to sleep in, and I got to do nothing. I got to do everything. Like it was amazing. And then when I had to go back to work. I went into the office building and I was like, this is the fucking ghetto. (laughter)
So it was the time that I had to answer to myself only. But also, it dawned on me that I didn't want anyone else to raise my daughter. You know, She was going to daycare at 1. She was home with my mom and I missed her first steps. I missed all this stuff. And it was just not sitting right with me. I did not want to miss anything. It was going back to work for someone, a nine to five office job that I hated and missing out on my daughter growing and learning. So those two things together, I started whining to the universe and it answered.
So a lot of manifesting came up.
Yes. Yeah. In a way that I did not actually want but you can’t choose it. It happens the way it happens, so what are you gonna do?
So I said we're gonna talk about Big Daddy.
(singing) Big Daddy!
Recently you named yourself Big Daddy, to be honest. I mean, I follow you on Facebook. Sometimes you have some of the most unique posts, like nobody can touch it. And then recently, I come to find out… She's Big Daddy. And I'm like, okay, she's Big Daddy. And I've seen it on Instagram. I think I saw that on Twitter. Yeah, so what inspired it?
Honestly, I don't even know what happened. I was just chillin. And I think it was after a period of like meditation. And it just like, dropped.It just dropped into me. Yeah. I asked myself, What's a big daddy? And the universe was like, You are! And I was so scared because it felt so big. You know, I was like, Who? What? I'm not a big daddy! Me? And it was like, yeah, you are, you are big in every way, shape and form. And it's time for you to step into that bigness that you were call to. And it was even more palpable because I know that my purpose here is to shift people's perspective and show them that there is another way to exist. So I was just like, people are gonna hear me daddy automatically think one thing. And he was like, okay, but that's the that's not who you are, you are this. Yeah. And so it's your job to be this, to live this, to breathe this, to experience this and then to show them, this is who you are. And so even from the ending of last year, my life motto has been watch me be free, and then find your own freedom. And that's literally the culmination of my purpose here on earth. It is to show people what freedom as a black woman, as a black person, as a self-employed, as an artist… Like show them yourself being free, show them yourself dismantling all of the bullshit and then… So that will let them know that they can also go and find your own freedom and that is what Big Daddy is. Big daddy is me and my bigness. And it's not limited to you know, my gender, my sexuality, you know. It’s not limited to any of that. It's literally my feminine and my masculine together existing in this body that is big. And it's funny because I'm a short person. People see me people see me and they're like, I didn't know you'd be so short. Because my spirit is big. My spirit is big. My thoughts are big. My voice is big. Everything about me is big. The Universe I occupy is big.
It's such a polarizing presence. I can actually attest to that. You said this one thing that is staying with me. Watch me be free and find your own freedom. That is so dope. Because me personally, I've been in search of freedom. You mentioned that it's just so…
Yeah I don't know how that came to me either. All these things is dropping to me. That's my motto. Watch me exist in my freedom. And then you go find your own definition of freedom. And you can exist in that. And it's like each one teach one. Right? We all empower each other to be big. We all empowering others to be free, especially as black people in this fucking fucked up world. Like, what does freedom look like for us? What does freedom look like… You know, I had to come to terms with who would I be if I wasn't interrupted by whiteness? If whiteness didn't come and fuck up my world, who would I be? That's who I’m being. Yeah, that's who I'm being. I'm being who I would be if I wasn't interrupted and painted by whiteness. And so that looks hard for some people. And that looks subversive. And that looks uncomfortable. Of course it does, because you've been told to view yourself this way. But the creators like, Nah B!, you are this! So what is the path to get you from this to this? That is your freedom. And I'm doing it. So watch me do that. And then you go do it.
That's actually cool.See, right now I can go one of either way. But yo… Okay. Also, so you had spoken about your relationship. I don't want to say his name because you've been very secretive about his name. You call him the boyfriend. I'm gonna respect that too. And when it came to the ending of that relationship, the way you described it, I just found it so beautiful. Because it was a level of communication that you don't hear of too often. And him asking you, who you were and you said, your name was Lamoi and you were a queer woman. I want to know, in that moment, this truth about yourself, how has it been just to be able to actually connect with it?
It's been a journey. The more that I connect with myself, the more I realize, I am who I've always been, you know? Like this, who you see in front of you, I've always been her. But she just didn't exist in the timeline. But she's existing now. So I've always been… I go back to my memories, I've always been queer. I've always had my little experiences, but because of my environment, you know, I allowed myself to suppress who I really was. But with that relationship, the love that we shared, made me feel possible. You know, and that's why I believe in black love so intensely, because when you are loved unconditionally, and freely, you're possible becomes even more possible. And so I felt so possible. I felt so brave. I felt so protected and supported and even though it even though it caused the end of our relationship, but it was an ending of love and not of bitterness. If I didn't experience that relationship, I don't know if I would have had this freedom right now.
I found it so inspirational. Because like I said, not too many relationships have that level of communication. Would you say it's the first time you've experienced that in a relationship?
Yeah, it is because we were both on the same page. I find this either one or the other, like it's either me or the other person. But we were both communicative together. And we had built a relationship that was solely founded on honesty and communication, you know, like, and safety and being a safe space for each other. So it was easy to have those conversations because that's what we we had build. In my prior relationships, I would find that I was always the one who wanted to talk. And yeah, so it was it was easy with him because we were both. We both wanted to talk. And we both wanted to understand and learn and make room for each other.
Let's switch gears a little bit. I'm gonna talk about your activism.
Oh, Lord. Okay.
Because it's so intentional. It is so visible. Like no one can misconstrue you where your position lies. No one can actually say, Oh, yeah, the boy was having lunch with Candace Owens.
(laughter) No! She's not gonna have lunch with her. I will not believe that. So my question with regard to activism is do you remember the first time you felt the need to speak up?
The first time… Oh my god!I don'tknow. I do know that it was within the seven years because prior… My daughter is the catalyst for everything. It’s because of her why I even discovered my my blackness because before her I was there, but it wasn't there. In high school, I had majority like white friends. I idolized whiteness. I idolized it. I wanted to be in the midst of whiteness.
You wanted to be Lisa Turtle.
Yo! I'm telling you. And even though I had moments of awakening, I was still drinking the fucking Kool-Aid. You know, I still believed in respectability politics. I believed in whiteness as the epitome of success. It wasn't until I got pregnant, and I had her and I said, I can't. I have to, I have to discover who I am as a black woman because I'm going to raise a black woman. So she was really the catalyst for everything. So while I was unlearning parental generational trauma, while I was discovering my spirituality because I even at that I had left church. So I was like, fuck all of this. I was also coming into an awareness of who I was as a black woman. So my black womanhood is literally seven years old. But in that time, I've just been so focused on freedom. And I'm a Taurus, so I'm an extreme person. There's no middle ground with me. It's either I'm not fucking with it. Or like full steam ahead and I just been full steam ahead dismantling my own self. But I can't remember the first thing I put my hand to.
I thought about this question because I remember when we lived in France, when I was nine years old, we moved to Canada. And we moved into this predominantly black neighborhood. But the street we were on was predominantly Italians. And the racism we experienced from them, you know, it led me to basically feeling like… That's when I found out about Malcolm X. You know, I was like, around 10-11. And yet, at that point in time, but I still was not into my own. I got into my own blackness just a little before I published my first novel, Why Me?. Cuz Trayvon Martin had been killed. It's true. It’s Trayvon that basically like started for me, to be honest.
You know what? Now that you’re talking, I would say it really started into it was Michael Brown. Cause I was writing for Pride News Magazine and I wrote a story on Michael Brown. And that was when the fire… The fire was lit! So yeah, thank you for jogging that memory for me.
(laughter) Yeah, no problem. We were taking pictures, and I told you, your confidence is something about you that I envy. Because the way you speak… You don't even need a microphone. Your voice carries. Your voice also command attention. To what do you attribute the source of your confidence?
I want to say growing up with a speech impediment, was really hard for me. And so a lot of the confidence that I exude now was practiced. Because my essence lies in my throat and my voice. You know, my astrological chart is ruled by Taurus and Taurus’ power is in the throat. And so for me to be born with the inability to speak clearly was a cruel joke (laughter). Right? But it is what propelled me to who I am today. So I stutter. It was actually really bad. It didn't really manifest until I moved here from Jamaica after a hurricane. So I was in the midst of that trauma, moving to Canada, during the cold months, never seeing snow before, you know, coming here and see all this white stuff, people that I didn't know. My dad stayed back so it was me and my mom, and then being molested for a while by a family member, all those things kind of constricted my voice and made my tongue really slow. And so I had to do speech therapy for a couple of years, which kind of helped. It gave me coping mechanisms. But I find a lot of people who stutter grow out of it. I never grew out of it. So I really had to practice. I had to practice being confident. I had to practice using my voice in a way that commanded attention because of the stigma on people who stutter. People say they're stupid or slow. They don't know anything. I remember when I was younger, and I would pray, God, please make me so pretty that no one cares about what I sound like when I speak, you know? So I had to practice. I had to practice speaking. I had to practice my intonation. Practice my pitch. Practice the way that I use words. So I would say a lot of my confidence early on was manufactured. I had to fake it. Had to fake it. I didn't want to be seen as stupid. Yeah, I didn't want to be seen as simple minded. And that brought me into circles that paved the way for who I am now. You know, I did speech competitions when I was in school, and I won. And I was like, oh, not only can I write, but I can also speak well, when I put my mind to it. I took that shit and I ran (laughter). And you know, writing poetry, and then deciding to go on stage. It was literally practice. And once I found the power, technically, the universe drops this awareness in me that you are the shit. And you are here for a purpose. And your purpose lies in your voice. Your purpose lies in the fact that the stories that you have, no one else has them. And there is someone in the world waiting to hear your story. So you need to get your shit together. Get it together, because the longer you wait, the longer they have to wait. You're holding up. You’re holding up time and you're holding progress, right? And so I had to sit in the awareness that, hey, I am the shit. You know, of all of, the times and spaces I could occupy, I'm occupying this space. There has to be a reason for that. I don't believe in coincidences. I don't believe that things don’t just happen together. If intentionality rules the universe, then I am intentional. And why would the universe waste its time, intentionally making me if I don't have a purpose? So once that dawned on me, and I was like, okay, so I am the shit. I’m here for a purpose, and my purpose lies in all of the practice I just put in. In my voice, my purpose lies in my voice. So not only am I here to live, I'm also here to verbally share the experiences of my living.
Speaking on the whole confidence and everything, you teach classes also, but it feels like you're giving classes on confidence.
Yeah, pretty much.
For your poetry… I'm pretty sure everyone has a favorite piece. What is your favorite line that you ever wrote?
Oh, my God! Okay, I'm gonna have to paraphrase. No one was born with you. So who has the power to silence you? I'm pretty sure that's word for word. But yeah, no one was born with you. So who has the power to silence you
From which piece is that?
Girls like me take up all the space. I hope so. I'm thinking about it in my head, but yeah.
You've been a mentor to a few people. Right? But I want to know, for anyone that find themselves walking in your footsteps. Actually, let's go to a young you. The you who is still trying to figure things out, right? If you were to see her now, what would you tell her?
Make fear your friend.
I love that!
Yeah, make feeling make fear your friend. I would tell her all the things that you are afraid of, sit and have conversations with them. And they will all remind you of how powerful you are. So what you think you're afraid of, is seeing things spiritually. What you're really afraid of, is how powerful you currently are and how powerful you can be when you allow yourself to see things spiritual. Yeah, that's like sitting on my chest. Have conversations with your fear. And they will reveal to you that all you're really afraid of is your power.
My first interview… I mean, she was not the first person I really interviewed. But she was part of the first issue for WCW. And she mentioned that when you're in your fear, a lot of people are trying to get away from it. But no! Sit in it.
Yeah, feel it. And I think we get away from it. Because it's instilled in us very young that emotions like fear, and worry and anxiety are negative. And I don't believe in negative emotions. I think they're all valid. And the more time we spend running from them is the more time we misunderstand what's really happening?