Art

Lous & The Yakuza Talks About Inspiring Women, #MeToo & Racism

At just 23 years old, Lous & The Yakuza has become a sensation in the music world, and we talked to the artist face-to-face.
Reading time 5 minutes

Reminding of L'Or du Commun, Damso, Blu Samu, YellowStraps, Yseult, and especially Krisy, Marie-Pierra, with her first song Dilemme and a clip with 800,000 views on Youtube, approached the general public with her attractive pop, a proud look and a good dose of frankness.

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© Laura Marie Cieplik

Who are you, Lous & The Yakuza?

I was born in Congo, then lived in Zambia, in Belgium, then in Rwanda and again in Belgium for seven years. I am a real mixture of my two cultures of origin, excited as a Congolese and calm and posed as a Rwandan. It is like a sign which symbolises intense joy as well as despair. When it comes to the state of mind and humour, I am 100% Belgian. I lived in Saint-Servais near Namur, and I was in boarding school at Val Notre-Dame. I am a mixture of all that.

 

Did you always dream of being a celebrity?

In the hip-hop music scene, everybody tends to claim that they've always been made for success by dreaming and singing about it. In reality, it's not the celebrity life that we dream of. It's being heard - getting as many people as possible to listen to what you have to say. 

 

What is your message?

It is, first of all, a cry of pain. Then, appeasement, euphoria, and joy follow. In Africa, despite the misery, people still smile. I want to break the stereotypes that people have about this continent, and my message is of peace and change.

 

How do you feel about being compared to other artists? 

It is flattering to be compared to people who have had a good career. However, comparing music doesn't really make sense to me. Everybody does such different things. I'm not a fan of comparisons, and, for me, each artist is unique.

 

What does your style tell about you?

Every morning, I meditate for around twenty minutes and check my indoor weather. I dress according to my state of mind: sometimes, I feel like a warrior, so I'll go for a more masculine, hip-hop look. This morning, I felt confident, so I dressed like a diva. Yesterday, I was totally Sergio Tacchini. I like to play with my look. It expresses the different facets of my personality.

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© Laura Marie Cieplik

Which women inspire you?

I love Rina Sawayama, a Japanese singer who lives in London and who made the cheesy pop of Britney Spears in the 90s. I also really like Lizzo. I find her super fun. Also, Spanish songwriter Rosalia is a goddess! And, of course, everything that is done in France.

 

What does the #MeToo movement mean to you?

A movement that resonates all over the world like this is very powerful. However, we still have a long way to go. When we can stop discussing issues such as these, then we'll know we've achieved it all.

 

What is it like to be a black artist today?

In France, there are many black female artists. However, there are hardly any on stage or the radio, apart from Aya Nakamura. There is a marginalisation of the women of my colour.

 

Have you ever been a victim of racism?

Yes, so many times ... There is no doubt that it is partly because of my personality: I am very exuberant in my style and my attitudes, but I have the impression that we are expected to be discreet. As a result, I have often been the victim of racist attacks and insults because I was a little too visible for the taste of some people. Sometimes you get mad because it just gets the better of you, but most of the time, I try to talk to people who insult me. Hatred is useless. I try to make them understand my point of view. It takes time, but it pays off.

 

What is your goal in life?

It sounds utopian, but I want to reduce poverty in Africa. Create clinics, schools ... The politically correct humanitarian work, like "the artist who goes to Africa to buy a good conscience," does not interest me at all. I really want to invest in sustainable development. Beyond the message that I transmit via my music, I want to leave an intention. As Martin Luther King inspired me, I want to inspire young people to fight for their rights. I am very idealistic, but if not at 23, then when?

 

Describe your music in three words!

My songs tell about me. They tell my truth about someone who loves life and does their best.

 

Her first album, Gore, will be released in Spring 2020.

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