Viva! talks to the UK’s top female hip hop star – who just happens to be veggie
Ms Dynamite is one of the most influential hip hop and rap singers in the UK today. Wth a career spanning over a decade, she has notched up two BRIT awards and is a three time MOBO award winner.
Not only has she had enormous commercial success but – crucially – she is recognised as an artist who is able to write songs with a moral or political message, something very rare in the music industry today.
After a five-year hiatus to embrace motherhood, at 30, she is back – more feisty, outspoken and determined than ever.
Born Niomi Arleen McLean-Daley in North London, Ms Dynamite is the eldest of eleven siblings. Having been a vegetarian for five years, she explains how influential her family were in making a change to her diet:
“I was living with my brother at the time who had been a vegan for seven years and every time we sat to eat he would tell me all the negative facts of eating meat. My dad has always been a vegetarian and three of my brothers are vegetarian. In fact, thinking about it, a lot of the men in my family are.”
She also explains how easy the transition was and all the benefits of a healthier lifestyle: “I feel psychologically and spiritually very positive, it makes me feel a million times better. Any nutrients you get from meat you can find in vegetables and pulses.”
She goes on to tell me that growing up she battled with acne and says: “Since becoming vegetarian my skin has cleared up.”
Niomi opens up about the first time she made the link between animals and food: “I just thought, I don’t want an animal to die for me to eat it. Life is life, full stop and I believe that life deserves to be respected, whether it’s the life of a human or a fly, it is a life. That’s the main reason why I don’t eat meat. Since I’ve become vegetarian it’s enhanced my life in a way that I would definitely recommend to anyone.’’
I asked her thoughts on factory farming and immediately I could see that it really touched a nerve: “Factory farming should be put to an end. It doesn’t respect lives, which is not something I’m happy about. I just think as people we don’t have to eat meat to survive so it feels pointless. If people went to a farm or watched the horrific footage that Viva! has obtained it would make them think and feel differently.”
Having spent the last year and a half writing songs for a new album and on a whirlwind tour performing at a host of music venues, it seems her feet have barely touched the ground. I was interested to see what she enjoys doing in her spare time: “I love cooking! I love spices, so I love vegetarian curries. I have things in vegetarian restaurants and then I go home and try to reconstruct them.”
Ms Dynamite’s latest single, ‘Neva Soft,’ has been dominating the airwaves and she promises me her new album “will definitely be here in 2011.” She continues: “I’m excited and looking forward to it!”
And so are we! Ms Dynamite is officially back!