By Virginia Lowman
Saweetie is a shooting star. The Bay Area-born rap artist, née Diamonté Quiava Valentin Harper, has seen her career in the music industry rise like a meteor, blasting off with her sizzling 2018 EP High Maintenance and the cool follow-up, Icy, the next year; however not before cinching her degree from the University of Southern California in 2016, where she studied interactions. As she gears up for the release of her debut full-length album Pretty B.I.T.C.H. Music, Saweetie’s returning to school– sort of– with a guest-starring appearance in Kenya Barris’s hit series Grown-ish.
In her acting debut, Saweetie declares her spotlight as Indigo, a spirited rap artist who counts Joey Bada$$ amongst her good friends. Grown-ish‘s third season, with a new extension out today (January 21) on Freeform, discovers series heroine and recent college dropout Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) is booked and busy with two star customers, consisting of Indigo. The parallels between truth and fiction here are difficult to disregard as both Saweetie and Indigo are strong-willed, independent female rappers owning their art and image. “My music covers a lot of parts of womanhood, of their adult years, of just the transitional periods of the various stages of your life,” she tells MTV News. “I definitely feel like there is a connection in between the ‘Icy Grl’ music and Grown-ish‘s [themes].”
Though Saweetie may no longer be a college student herself, she’s still taking her fans to class with her digital business and life academy, Icy University, which teaches whatever from how to start a business to lessons in flyology. Ahead of the release of Pretty B.I.T.C.H. Music and her small-screen debut, MTV News speaks to Saweetie, dressed in diamonds and intense red waves on the opposite end of a Zoom call, about her career goals, her album’s acronymized title, and her “manager shit” guidance for getting the life you desire.
MTV News: Why did you select Grown-ish as your very first acting project?
Saweetie: Well, to be honest with you, it was the very first thing that was brought to my group. It was a terrific very first deal. I was honored and I took it right away. I like Yara and the show was just currently so great. So I employed an acting coach instantly and got to practicing.
MTV News: How was working with an acting coach? Existed anything you discovered especially difficult or enjoyable?
Saweetie: There’s absolutely nothing truly tough about working with an acting coach, just because I know absolutely nothing, so I’m just there to learn.
MTV News: Now that you’ve got the acting bug, exist other projects we can want to see you in the future?
Saweetie: Well, I’m presently working on other audition tapes. I feel like the acts I have actually done on social media, together with possibly individuals understanding that I’m on the Grown-ish set, have opened other doors. I might certainly see myself getting on other shows or absolutely other films.
MTV News: You’re no complete stranger to the trials of undergrad life. What was your most significant growing discomfort or life lesson while you were in college?
Saweetie: I wish I was more proactive on campus. I was at the parties, however I wish I was a part of the trainee body. I wish I would have interacted a lot more because– [like] the Trojan– when you remain in, you remain in. I wish I would have developed more relationships.
MTV News: Among the iconic lines from the very first episode of this season between you and Yara is, “Just do employer shit.” If you had to develop a guide to manager shit, what would be your advice for making your own lane and setting the terms for the life you desire?
Saweetie: Definitely going to school and getting an education. Definitely college because it teaches you who you desire to be and who you do not desire to be.
MTV News: What about your recommendations for shooting your shot and setting the terms of the love you want?
Saweetie: I believe women should normalize shooting their shot. I have actually shot my shot previously. I’m very black and white, so if I desire it, I’m going to go get it. I’m not going to think about it. Constantly with class, constantly with taste, constantly. Don’t go out there and go bananas, however if you’re a grown lady, you could do grown-woman things. And grown women head out there and get what they desire, so don’t constantly wait on someone to approach you.
MTV News: Got it. And your suggestions for selecting your inner circle and setting a friend code to comply with? That’s a style that you see a lot play out in between Zoey and her ladies.
Saweetie: What’s interesting is I’m actually doing a class on woman code in Icy University.
MTV News: Speaking of success and empowerment, would you say those are themes that you typically integrate into your music? Is it something you’re considering when you’re in the ideation stage of developing an album or a tune?
Saweetie: It’s fascinating that you state that since it absolutely wasn’t intentional in the beginning. When I’m producing music, I’m generally simply speaking from my heart. Since I was raised by independent, bossed-up, simply fly females, I think it’s simply second-nature for me to act and to think that method. But in producing Pretty B.I.T.C.H. Music, I definitely do have particular lines or specific tunes that are deliberately and purposely tailored towards boss women.
MTV News: What’s the significance of redefining “bitch” and turning it into an acronym for your album?
Saweetie: Well, I wanted a title that would catch the attention.
I’m from the West Coast. I wanted it to be clear that when I’m stating “bitch,” people knew that it suggested boss, it indicated independent, it implied hard, it meant CEO, it indicated hyphy
MTV News: Is there any specific lesson that you feel you discovered while producing Pretty B.I.T.C.H. Music?
Saweetie: A lesson that this album taught me is that I’m really anal when it comes to recording. That’s one thing I found out while developing Pretty B.I.T.C.H. Music, that I have to be there for beat production.
MTV News: What do you hope fans remove from the album?
Saweetie: The story of simply being bossed-up, independent, depending upon yourself, doing things by yourself terms, doing what she wants to do. I believe those are continuous throughout the songs and the storytelling, just celebrating yourself. I feel like self-confidence is actually important, particularly in the day of social media, so just knowing who you are, knowing your worth and your value is truly essential.