Revered for her eclectic style and energy as co-star of VH1’s “La La’s Full Court Life,” Po Johnson checked into the Copley Marriott to spend a day in Boston promoting something other than the show last Friday — her latest single.
Monsters (Be Brave) featuring Zeke Thomas, son of NBA legend Isiah Thomas, is the track that’s attracting lots of buzz to Po Johnson’s name as a singer and songwriter. Working on her next project, Po has been touring major cities to share her single and her story.
Fans of the show would agree that there’s nothing is one-dimensional about Po. After learning of her myriad interests, involvement in the Precious Dreams Foundation and desire to pay it forward, this multi-talented, college educated young woman is setting the bar high early in her celebrity career. In the process she’s also changing how women of color in reality TV are viewed.
“I didn’t have that voice that I looked up to. I didn’t have older sisters; I was the older sister so I want to be that inspiration and role model for young kids. I’m telling you, Maya Angelou was who I looked up to and she was older. I want to be that like mind for a generation; that’s why I work with kids so much.”
From an early age the Baton Rouge bred Po Johnson’s passion for music and its use as an outlet was undeniable. But growing up in a stern Christian home limited this singer and songwriter’s access to a variety of things like school dances, sleepovers and secular music per demand of her mother and reverend stepfather.
“I wasn’t allowed to listen to very much music when I was younger so I didn’t know about it, I didn’t know how to write to it because I had never heard it. I was only allowed to listen to church music and you know that’s very different,” she said. “I’ve always been a writer because I wasn’t a very good communicator when I was young. I used to have a really bad stuttering problem so my mom made me study poets like Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou…I didn’t realize back when I was younger that she was just trying to give me a voice and try to show me that ‘hey, this could be an avenue for you to communicate with people’. I always knew I could sing and write but after some years passed and I found my voice, I promised myself I would use it and help others find theirs.“
Touring Boston, like every city she visits, is for more than promotional gain. It is an attempt to share her story, success and struggles through her music, the vessel she so loves, so others may see firsthand what it looks like and means to live out one’s dreams fearlessly, especially in a place where it may be difficult to achieve and advance for people of color.
“My music is a selfish way of telling my diary,” said Po. “I would tell my younger self and others who are wanting and striving to live their dreams to hang in there. I grew up trying to fit in to what I was told to be and that’s how I learned and that’s how I’m learning to find myself, to be myself and to accept myself.”
Within each song that reflects courage, dominance, freedom and love, every interview and television episode she shares intimate pieces of herself and the admirable, innate intrinsic motivation to be all that she imagined she could be and do, even when face with opposition of all kind. Her life’s example, reinforced in song, are the tools Po hopes will create a legacy of people encouraged and inspired that they can be free of the boxes they’ve been confined to for so long.
Join Po Johnson in the Life Beat Concert in New York City June 27th, 2014 alongside A$AP Ferg, Zeke Thomas, Flatbush Zombies and more talented artists.
“It’s a huge stage, I can’t believe I’m booked for it and I’m still biting my nails about it,” said Po. “[This concert] legitimizes me I feel as a serious performing artist so I’m excited. I hope to see you there!”