CRWN On the Move: A Sister to Sister Convo With Kam Franklin
“What’s our name?”
“Where are we from?”
Remember that name--because they are going to blow up. I was fortunate to sit down with Kam Franklin, the lead singer of the fast-growing, gulf-coast soul band The Suffers.
When I walked into Brooklyn Bowl, I was looking for a woman ready for a photo shoot. And there goes Kam at the bar. Her CRWN, her afro, was wrapped up in a rich blue head scarf. Her shirt, diamond patterned, was swiped right from the 90s. Her jeans showed her love, hugged her hips. She may be from Houston, but the spirit of Brooklyn was all over her. She was the girl next door we grew up knowing and loving. And she offered jelly beans, psh. I knew we could have a real conversation.
There were so many awesome segments from our conversation, but here are a few of the best highlights from our talk. From Kam to you, with love.
On Self Care
"When the topic of self-care comes along, I think people that are just hearing that term for the first time. They think it only applies in times of tragedy. I think it applies in times of celebration."
"Now, one of the things I try to focus on is myself first. I try to remember what they say on the airplane, 'You got to put your mask on first before you try to put on anyone else’s mask.' Like I spent the first part of my life trying to put on everybody else’s mask. I feel that’s why I couldn't get the jobs I wanted, the band I wanted, the hair i wanted."
"I used to just dwell on parts of myself that made other people uncomfortable. 'Oh you shouldn't wear that, you have love handles, you shouldn't wear that, you have stretch marks, oh your hair is not that big yet you may want to put a scarf on it.' The fact that I was clueless to these things and I'd have people tell me these things because they cared-- that’s the one line that always freaking irks me . 'I’m just lookin' out for you, so I'm gonna hand you this insecurity real quick.'”
"I know a lot of cynical people, and it’s funny, when I talk to them I probably sound like an idiot. I’m just like, “it’s going to be alright, everything happens for a reason.” I’m one of those, but you know what--I feel blessed to be one of those people, I feel blessed to think that way.
“We are bringing a sound that tells a story that a lot of people don’t want you to hear. They are trying to put up walls so you don’t hear some of these stories."
"We’re doing this all ourselves, we don’t have a label yet. We don’t have any of that stuff, so some months we don't even know if we’re gonna make it. But it’s weird. The universe always sets you up with what you’re supposed to do, and I’ve always been taught in church that God may not give you everything you want but you’ll always get what you need as long as you’re faithful. I feel as though I always had what I needed. I can magically make rent every month, I can magically eat every day. The gas tank always has gas in it. When I can’t afford my clothes, there’s someone coming through to provide me with outfits. And it just works out. I don’t know it would have worked out if I didn’t believe in what we are doing."
"We all share the same dream. Same dream, same team. But that’s what it really it. We quit our jobs together, we started this together. And as we enter year six as a band, that’s what it has to be."
“They said [we’d never get to Europe] because we didn’t have no money, because we didn’t have any of this, any of that. Again, when people try to force their insecurities on you, if you believe them, you will never live the life that you are supposed to live."
“The thing that makes me the most upset when I read these blogs and critiques is when people say, ‘you’ll never be successful, there are so many black female lead singers.’ But when it comes to other genres of musics you’ll never hear, ‘there is too many of this or that race doing pop music or country music.’ It makes me angry. Not only did I decide to be another black female singer but the best version of myself that I can be”
“No it’s not that there are too not too many of us. It’s that we’re that great. We just need to come up with more ways to keep them inspired and keep them mad. That’s all.”
“A greater hope that I have for black women that listen to my music is that they know that while we may have at one time been looked at as the not so desirable, or not the smartest, or the aggressors, I think the tables are about to change. People know that shit is changing. You can feel it in the air. But I think the people that will be leading the next revolution, that our generation faces, will be black women.”