Artistry: Artist Feature
Brave Soul Artist: Queen Aishah

March 14, 2007 Print version       Other articles by this author

Our Brave Soul Artist for March is a woman who is a very close friend of mine, and lifetime Brave Soul family member. Comedienne Queen Aishah is not only a funny ass woman, but a warm, loving spirit who is committed to... "TOUCHING AND HEALING SOULS THROUGH THE ART OF LAUGHTER". I've known Aishah now for about 6 years or so, having met her when I first began attending First Sunday services at Innervisions Worldwide, the spiritual life maintenance center founded by another one of our spiritual mentors, Iyanla Vanzant. From the first time I met Aishah, I knew she was someone I'd get along with fine because she has the same kind of wonderful knack for saying whatever is on her mind....much like I do. We both of us have continued to attend First Sunday since early 2000 wherever the service has been held in the DC area. I think I speak for both of us when I say that we've witnessed tremendous spiritual development and growth in each other over the past six years. Aishah's story goes as follows... Although she stepped into the public eye in 1995, Queen was no stranger to comedy being from a family of natural comedians, there was always comedy in the house. This inspired the Queen to make others laugh; as a result, she practiced on family and friends and studied various comedians' styles until she finally mustered up the courage to hit the stage. Queen Aishah first performed at the famous Washington D.C. Nightclub "Mr. Henry's" where celebrity comedians like Martin Lawrence and Dave Chapelle first dazzled audiences. After competing in local talent shows and performing at the DC Improv, she ventured towards television where she performed on Showtime at the Apollo in New York, VH1 and BET Comicview. Today, the Queen is featured in a Verizon print ad and radio campaign for DSL. She takes center stage in a Verizon television commercial promoting their Freedom value plan and home service.

Leaving no medium to chance, her Internet documentary "Realize Ambition" was released in August 2006. No stranger to media, Aishah studied Mass Communications at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD and has worked as an on-air personality, producer, and creator of various characters. Queen Aishah has also lent her talents to the syndicated Russ Parr Morning Show, Washington, DC, The Big Phat Morning Show, Baltimore, MD and "The Olivia Fox Morning Show on 95.7 The BEAT, in Tampa, FL. She is an on-air personality on XM Radio - The City, for a feature called "The Press Conference" where she offers her thoughts about celebrities and current events. She has interviewed celebrities such as: the late Luther Vandross, Alicia Keys, John Legend, P. Diddy, Tyrese, Fat Joe, Ciara, Fantasia, Beanie Man, Monique and Faith Evans.

She has toured with R&B crooners Jaheim, KC-I & Jo Jo, and Tank; and graced stages with fellow comics Bruce Bruce, Rickey Smiley, Thea Vidale, Tony Roberts, Joe Clair and Donnell Rawlings. She made a special guest appearance at the 2006 Essence Music Festival and was a presenter for the First Annual Go-Go- Awards in Washington, DC.

She is very humbled and focus, keeping her spirituality as her center. When she's not touring, Queen divides her time between visiting local comedy clubs, mentoring up and coming comedians and giving back to the community. As a humanitarian, Queen felt strongly in contributing to the healing process of the Katrina disaster and put together several shows to raise food, gifts and money for Katrina families. For the last five years, she has been a welcomed volunteer for the Annual Marine Corp Foundation "Toys-4-Tots" that provides gifts to disadvantaged children in the Baltimore community. She is also very active in the Baltimore production company Womb Works -Nu World Art Ensemble which preserves and empowers families and communities through creative art, dance and theater expression.

In November of 2006, Queen Aishah made her Brave Soul Collective debut as hostess of the evening for "Brave Souls UNPLUGGED: A Collage In Truth". Aishah along with her co-host, Mr Michael "Micci" Sainte-Andress kept the audience entertained and laughing the entire night. I'm personally honored to showcase the talents of this beautiful talented woman who is not only a 'sister' and friend of mine, Queen Aishah. Read on, and find out what propels, inspires, and motivates this woman to keep us all laughin 24-7...Enjoy

I love to make you smile, laugh until it hurts . . . I am talking almost peeing on yourself. Taking our experiences and laughing to heal from them...

"TOUCHING AND HEALING SOULS THROUGH THE ART OF LAUGHTER" is one of the taglines contained in your bio as well as on your merchandise. Can you talk to us about what 'the art of laughter' means to you and for you?

Laughter to me is an expression of joy and can almost be as great or better than sex. Depending on who ya wit! It is nothing like a good old laugh with great company. You kick off your shoes and be you. The kind of laughter where you feel it from your toes and your cheeks hurt. I had been praying for a slogan that defined what my humor does and means to people and this is what God told me, you are "TOUCHING AND HEALING SOULS THROUGH THE ART OF LAUGHTER". So there it is.

What impact has the HIV/AIDS epidemic had on your life specifically in the last decade?

HIV/AIDS has alway been very real to me. I remember being in Job Corp when they called a meeting with all the students and explained to us students with HIV/AIDS would be coming to the center and it was only up to the person with the virus to tell anyone so we needed to practice safe sex. I was like wow. I feared for a lot of the girls there because they were loose. Around the same time I had found out one of my oldest brothers had gotten the virus from drug use. I was shocked and in denial. I didn't know what to say or do for him. We never talked about it. I felt helpless. Then a few years later another sibling contracted the virus from unprotected sex. I was floored and angry. I always encourage people to protect themselves. It's tough because a lot of us come from families where talking about sex is taboo and now we need to ask about testing and viruses, but we have to.

On your website, you have a section of affirmations, some of which are statements you've made, and others are from various individuals? Why are affirmations important to you?

I decided to have this feature on my website to give a balance. Comedy is what I do but it's not all I do. I use affirmations in my daily life to keep me going and moving forward. Some of the affirmations that came to me were so necessary, therefore I decided to share them with the world.

How did your career as a comedienne begin?

Comedy sort of found me me. I used to always write down things I thought were funny but never really knew why. Then people started telling me I was funny and I should try comedy. I looked at them like they were crazy and maybe two or so years after hearing it enough I gave it a try and I here I am over 12 years later.

Have you always known you wanted to entertain?

As a little girl my brothers and sisters used to always put on talent shows for the family. We would do special shows for our mother on Mother's Day and invite over some of her friends. I was the lead singer. Not too much comedy. My older brother told me that I used to crack jokes with one of his friends when I was around eight years old and he told me I was funny. I just learned that about six months ago. Everyone in my family has a sense of humor and can hold their own from the youngest to the oldest. As a young girl I wanted to be a journalist. I studied Mass Communications in college and I also work in radio.

How do you balance family life with your life as a comedienne and all the travel that it requires?

This is a constant challenge for me because things are always changing. When I am working in the office at home I try and schedule appointments around my husband's schedule. He works 7 days a week so sometimes I may be home waiting on him... My boys are grown so they do their own thing. If I am doing something and I know they would like to go I take them with me.

Would you ever wear nipple pasties onstage?
(this one was from one of our Brave Souls who wanted to know...)

No, See, I don't have Janet Jackson breasts that stand up so I can show them off. My breasts have a mind of their own. They have a touch of A.D.D., so a nipple pastie would be a straight up disapointment because my breasts do what they wanna do, but they show love to my armpits.
In honor of Women's History Month, can you talk to us about what impact the women in your life have had in making you the woman, the artist, the individual you are today?

My mother and grandmother are two of the strongest women I know from birth. My mother raised six children on her own and never remarried. She had me in private schools and me and my sisters and brothers in other acitivies on the weekends to keep us out of trouble. My grandmother, my father's mother is the truth. She is 88 years young and she will tell you, she believes she is in great health because she didn't have a bunch of men in and out of her bed. She knew who she was with or without a man. She is retired and still provides for the family where needed. She is the truth.

What is the most honest, loving, useful advice you can offer to Brave Souls who are reading this interview?

DO U! If it makes you totally happy and you can live with it. Make it hot and walk it out. Do not look outside of yourself for vaildation and joy because you will be disappointed. Surround yourself with those who elevate and celebrate you.

For those who experience Queen Aishah LIVE, what do you hope they walk away with after having seen you perform?

Truth and Realness. I love to make you smile, laugh until it hurts . . . I am talking almost peeing on yourself. Taking our experiences and laughing to heal from them.
As a heterosexual black woman, how do you feel about the way homosexuality is usually addressed in the black community?
From what I've experienced, it is a very sensitive matter. I have a great friend of mind who struggles with his sexuality and I have people close to me who can't stand homosexuals. I truly believe we must communicate and reach a place of respect. I feel if you like it, I love it. Whatever pleases you. We can't push people away, but then when they harm themselves we feel bad. People need to be able to express themselves without judgement.

What's the inspiration behind the "Speakout to Reach out Tour"?

I have always wanted to give back and share my story. A lot of times people see the artist and the glory but don't really know th sacrifices it took to get there. Michael Walton is a track and field star who will be in the 2008 olympics and he is the founder of the tour and he reached out to me to be a part and we are rolling. Visiting a school at least once a week. It is a huge success. We are taking it nation wide and I am looking forward to going to my hometown of Newark, NJ and speaking.

What can we expect from Queen Aishah for the rest of 2007?

I am working on my 2008 calendar. I am also looking to do more commercials as well as television and film. Of course more touring with the schools and my comedy shows - I have two tours and I am working on; first Queen Aishah's Women of Ambition Comedy Tour - Celebrating Women in Laughter. It kicks off in March for Women's history month and Queen Aishah's Fried Fish and Lemonade Tour - this is straight up for the real people. The idea, whenever you have some good fish and lemonade is a good time. Yes, We are looking for fish and lemonade sponsors.

For more on Queen Aishah, please visit her official site here: Queen Aishah Online,
or her myspace page here: Queen Aishah on Myspace