Malina Moye is a gem in the music industry, singing, playing guitar, writing her own music, and owning her own label. Beyond that, she’s an individual who truly loves people and is living each day to her fullest. She states, “I’m always willing to help folks, I want to see everybody win.”
With the recent George Floyd incident which sparked the #BlackLivesMatter movement all around the world, Malina’s 2019 single “Enough” received a resurgence. The record was originally created with the cultural climate in mind, but has since sparked a global hashtag: #IAMENOUGH. People from all walks of life posted photos of themselves on their social media accounts and used the hashtag, coming together to stand for unity and equality.
The record hails from Malina’s no. 1 Billboard album titled Bad As I Wanna Be, blending the genres of funk, rock, and R&B into the mainstream light. When it comes to her accolades, her list is endless. Not only was she one of the first women to perform the national anthem on guitar at a sporting event, but she’s had the pleasure of working with Janelle Monae and even honoring the Queen of England.
Flaunt caught up with Malina via FaceTime to discuss the creation of “Enough,” having a platform to spread positivity, what she does for self-care, and more!
You were born in Ohio then moved to Minnesota. When did you come to Los Angeles?
I came out here with $20, I was homeless. I used to wash up in gas stations. I parked my car on the street, sleeping between the front and backseat of my car. I’d keep a knife and Bible in my car and put clothes over my head so no one would know I was there. Little by little, things started to work out. Man, it’s been going! [laughs]
Was there a turning point when you realized you could do music?
I actually grew up in a musical family in Minneapolis, my parents, my brothers and I were all musicians in a family band. But after I moved to Los Angeles, I wanted to find my voice as an artist and figure out what I can contribute to music. My first single “Alone” landed on the Hip Hop/R&B chart at no. 93. I woke up one day, and Billboard called to tell me “congratulations, your song just charted!” After that, I said “hell yeah I’m doing this.”
What’s your connection to guitar?
My dad is a bass player. He gave me a guitar as a right-handed player because he’s right-handed, but I’m naturally left-handed. When he left the room, I took the guitar and flipped it upside down. I started playing it backwards, he came back and asked “what’re you doing, it’s backwards?” I said “this works for me.” And my whole life, that’s how I played. Playing upside down became my thing.
You actually released “Enough” last year in April, what were you going through then?
What’s amazing is once you do certain things, you start to realize there are forces against you. Sometimes there are things you can’t do or change because of who you are. I started to realize there’s systematic racism, like “damn this is really crazy. This is odd.” And I began noticing that certain magazines and websites, which are supposed to be all about music and musicians, weren’t representing diversity and being inclusive.
I felt broken. I felt unseen, like somebody was trying to erase me. So I started writing. When I released ‘Enough,’ I asked everybody on social media to put up their picture and hashtag it #IAMENOUGH to celebrate who you are right now in this moment, because tomorrow’s not promised. This is the shit that no one teaches you; to love yourself for your own sanity.
I woke up and saw several celebrities had joined the movement overnight and I thought, “oh my God, this is bigger than Malina Moye.”
With everything happening with the pandemic, BlackLivesMatter, and the insane leadership in power at the moment, people are looking for encouragement. So it’s good to see the song making a resurgence. In fact, we just got word that BET Soul heard it and will be airing the video. It made me feel seen. My mom and dad always said to me “when you don’t see yourself represented, show up. When you think you can’t show up, and always know you matter and you count.”
4 million impressions on the #IAMENOUGH hashtag!
Man! You never expect something like this. I’m just glad it’s resonating with people and making them feel something. I personally hope it gives them a little peace.
I love how you spread positivity on Instagram, talk about having a platform and using it for the greater good.
Amen, I also have a foundation. Coming out here with $20 then a few years later having someone actually understand what I was trying to do and invest in my label, which in turn, allowed me to really put my feet on the ground and realize what was possible. After working so hard, money makes the road a little easier when the opportunities show up. I’ve traveled the world playing and recording music, and meeting so many amazing people. We learn so much on our journeys and now we must give back and share the knowledge with the next person. That’s how you actually win. It’s no fun by yourself.
It’s not just Malina Moye, there’s a bunch of us out here making this happen. I love H.E.R, she’s amazing. Janelle Monáe is super cool! She plays guitar too and I had a chance to vibe with her and her team at Wondaland. She’s an amazing actress too…a natural! Can’t wait to see Antebellum.
How was that whole experience?
It was a great experience and I hope we get a chance to do it all again.
What do you make of all these moments?
I come from Lorain, Ohio where we sat on the front porch and dreamed about stuff we wanted to do. At the end of the day, you buy your houses, your cars, your music, but really what matters is how you make people feel. They remember that if nothing else.
What are some things you do for self-care?
It feels like a lifetime ago, I used to love going to get massages. I like to take some time to meditate. I’d definitely get my hair done. I was in Beverly Hills, honey, they had us outside…at the salon! I’m still trying to keep the program going.
I love to run every day. No matter where I’m in the world, I always go for a 30 minute run. It feels good.
How was being one of the first black women to play the national anthem on guitar at the Vikings football game?
It was super cool because it was back in Minneapolis, the Vikings versus the Cowboys. Seeing the crowd of 80 thousand people, I kept saying “God please don’t let me mess up.” I was so focused. I was wearing in-ear monitors and when I finished, I didn’t hear any applause, so I thought I sucked. I then realized everybody was screaming. It was an incredible moment. They took all the items and put them on display at the Hard Rock museum. “Thank you God.”
Anything else you want to let us know?
I appreciate Flaunt Magazine for sharing my story. I hope y’all are wearing your masks so we can quickly get back to what we were doing before the pandemic—minus the racism (lol). I miss giving hugs and getting hugs. Please be safe and take care of your neighbor.