Thursday, January 27, 2022

JoiStarr of ‘We’re The Campbells’ Talks Colorism in the Music Industry [EUR Exclusive]

We’re The Campbells” star Joi Campbell AKA JoiStarr (Warryn Campbell’s sister) is a self-described “down-home, humble God-fearing girl that loves music and fashion.”

As a musician, with roots in the black church, her impressive body of songwriting credits include work with Chris Brown, Mary Mary, Mario, Brandy and more. She toured with Kanye West on the “Glow In The Dark” Tour overseas and is currently signed to Warryn’s “My Block Records.”

Recently on episode #103 of “We’re The Campbells” JoiStarr opened up about recovering from an abusive relationship, and on episode #104, she is faced with the revelation that record executives felt she was “too dark” to be signed to a major label.

During EUR’s EXCLUSIVE conversation with JoiStarr, she dishes about how she continues to conquer the issue of colorism in the music industry.

Read our Q&A and watch JoiStarr’s music video for her new single “Cocoa Butter” below.

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Talk about how you continue to conquer and challenge the issue of “colorism” in the music industry. 

JoiStarr: Affirmation has been very key for me. In order to believe something, you have to be told something. You have to hear some words, whether they’re negative or positive. Negative words, we attach ourselves to them as children because we’re looking up to who’s saying the words, which usually are adults. So when you have that growing up, which I did, it can create certain things in your mind that said, “I can only go this far.” I have to create something for myself that said the opposite of that, which are these affirmations that I say for myself and I’ve created many of them. I am going to write a book to help girls affirm themselves because I know sometimes it can be hard and sometimes there’s no one saying anything to affirm them. That’s how I did it. I had to affirm myself and I also had strong women around me that affirmed me. But it definitely took me doing it for myself first.

Speaking of the support you receive from your female peers on this issue, will they also offer insight for this book?

JoiStarr: Absolutely. What it will be is a quote that I believe in, and a situation that I was in, that made me feel either inferior or like I could not break past a barrier or made me shrink instead of rise up. All those experiences will be in it, especially my niece Krista. Being a chocolate girl in 2018 and dealing with social media and what people view as beauty and pretty hair is pretty much the opposite of her. She’s going into high school and the world is still new for her. So I’m grateful to have that platform, even if it’s just 20 people who get it so that they can tell 20 more people and 20 more people until they all get that it’s dependant on what you feel about you.

And no doubt you’ll also tackle in the book the challenges dark skin women face when it comes to dating.

JoiStarr: I’ll tell you this…. imagine you’re just a girl wanting to know what it feels like to date and you have this group of girls and you’re the chubby friend. You’re always the one that’s overlooked. You’re the darkest out of everyone in the group. Everyone else is skinny, light-skin and all the guys like them. You finally get an opportunity to date someone and he tells you, “You’re cute to be a dark-skinned girl.” That was my experience. So to overcome that to get to the point where I am now, where it’s like, you can’t tell me absolutely nothing about my skin. That’s a journey and it’s a process. Especially when I’m coming into a world that tells you that what you look like is a problem.

So when can we expect your book to drop?

JoiStarr: My goal is to release it when it’s time. So if it’s time to release it this year then, great! I don’t know if there are things that I may need to experience that may need to go into the book. So it’s been a work in progress because it’s been something I have been experiencing throughout my lifetime. So I definitely am feeling like it’s time to button it but there may be some things that I want to be a part of the building up of our black women and starting with our girls.

How would JoiStarr describe her sound? What’s the message in your music that you hope listeners take away?

JoiStarr: I would say JoiStarr is like discovering Wakanda. I am an artist that that’s in plain sight. I’m just a down-home, humble God-fearing girl that loves music and fashion. I toured with Kanye West. I’ve experienced a lot of life. I’ve traveled the world but I’ve also learned that throughout all the successes and loses and money-making, the only thing that has remained constant is the love that I know God has for me and the fact that no one else in this entire world can be me better than I can be me myself.

In a recent episode of “We’re the Campbells,” you open up about recovering from an abusive relationship. Our readers are interested in knowing how and bounced back from heartbreak. 

JoiStarr: I’m still bouncing back from heartbreak. I don’t think you necessarily bounce back from heartbreak. You just keep bouncing. I learned how to have buoyancy through heartbreak and because of that, it’s caused me to love even harder and deeper and purer and with intention. I definitely know that (heartbreak) helped me learn to love. So I guess I can say that I’ve overcome it by loving harder.

Watch Joi discuss her heartbreak in the clip below:

In what ways has Warryn Campbell been influential to your creative process?

JoiStarr: Warryn IS my creative process. He taught me my creative process. Warryn taught me how to be self-sufficient. So I don’t need anyone in the studio with me but an engineer. If I go into the studio, I can go by myself with an engineer and come out with a full song and put it on radio tomorrow. Warryn taught me that.

Artists today feel pressure to continuously put out music because so much music is coming out and the general population lacks the attention span these days. Do you feel that pressure to keep up with this trend?

JoiStarr: If you feel pressure on a level where you feel like it’s overwhelming you to put out all this music and to please all these people, you’re probably in the wrong field. Passion for something is not taken away by what is needed. So if my time and space and everything that’s in me to get this done, because I have a passion to sing, I’m going to do it. It’s not pressure. It’s just what needs to get done. The pressure that I think people put on themselves is self-afflicted pressure to deal with what they think they see people doing; instead of finding within themselves their purpose and then just do what their calling is.

Speaking of your calling, many artists have been called to build their brand in areas other than music, such as dabbling in the fashion, producing films and acting. What avenues do you see yourself venturing off into?

JoiStarr: Last summer I actually shot my first feature film with Danny Glover. It’s called “Strive,” and it’s actually being edited right now. Warryn is working on the music for that. I play a character named Khalani. She is a super-poppin’ high school student. She’s 17, born and raised in Harlem and she is doing everything she can to take care of her household. She’s basically running it. She has a single mother and she’s taking care of her and her little sister and her twin brother. It’s a dope story and I’m excited for people to know more about it.

“We’re The Campbells” airs Tuesday’s on TV One.

Additionally, JoiStarr recently teamed up with Maroon 5 band member PJ Morton on a cover of Lauryn Hill’s “Nothing Even Matters”… check it out via the clip below.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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