Written by: D’Shonda Brown
The #ShopBlack Interview Series is a new installation that shines light upon budding and booming Black-owned businesses ran by millennials and Gen-Z’ers who are heavily influenced by hip-hop culture. Introducing King Vashti, the founder of King Vashti, LLC and lead curator of the Hip Hop Agenda, a planner centered around the budding history of hip-hop while keeping your content calendar and day-to-day duties in check. Read below the in-depth interview between D’Shonda Brown and Vashti as they discuss multiculturalism, and the hip-hop influence.
Hi, King Vashti! Thank you for taking the time out for this interview! For those of us who don’t know, who is King Vashti?
Thank you! Vashti is a mixed girl from Orange County, California who is passionate about art, storytelling, marketing and hip hop. I am the owner of King Vashti LLC and the creator of Hip Hop Agenda.
We’re going to jump right into this – you’re of Mexican, Black and Filipino descent. How has music across all three of these cultures influenced your years of experience in music and entertainment? And how did you build an appreciation for hip-hop?
Music has been a big part of my life as far back as I can remember. I should say, listening to music. When I was younger, my dad gifted me a little karaoke machine; I was the kid who would wait by my radio. I’d have my blank tape in the deck with my finger steady over the record button waiting for the jock to intro whatever my favorite song was at the time.
Wow, you know what? I would say living in L.A., riding in traffic, and listening to different radio stations influenced my years of experience in music and entertainment more than anything. In L.A. there are a lot of different cultures and I’m a proud mixture of them all. I’d say being glued to the radio as a kid, and having access to a bunch of stations is what influenced me the most. I was also the kid would write out the lyrics to all my favorite songs. I would play, pause, write down as much of the lyrics I remembered; rewind, play, pause — doing it the hard way. Shout out to Genius for making it so much easier. When I really started to tap into the lyrics and understand what was being said, I think that’s when my appreciation for hip hop began. Its art. Its perspective. I’ve always liked that.
How do you feel your multiculturalism has assisted your metacognition when working with others and have you ever been in a situation where you feel like you struggle with identity?
I’ve never thought about that. Well, I’ve always been a really deep girl. — thoughtful, very much self aware, goal-oriented, and even strategic. I think when you’re coming from different backgrounds, it comes naturally to accept others, even if they’re different — at least for me. I was raised to accept different cultures, which makes it easier to find that common ground when working with others. Being multicultural also means you’re different and when you love yourself and everything that makes you different, it’s easy to accept and love others for their differences. I’m Filipina, hella Black but also Latina AF! I’m a Black, Mexican, and Filipino girl with a Muslim name.
Off top, I can’t think of a time where I’ve struggled with identity. I’ve always been super interested to learn more about myself and different cultures. It always seems like it’s other people that struggle with my identity, more when it comes to my ethnicity. Maybe in the past, I felt the need to explain or educate someone on my background but, I know I don’t owe anyone an explanation.
A few months ago, I bought your Hip-Hop Agenda planner and it has changed my life. Content creation, date nights, drinks with my friends, even doing my laundry, yet it’s so informative and necessary to the Black community. What made you want to create this Hip-Hop Agenda?
First of all, sis, thank you for supporting me! It means the world. Every time someone tells me how much they love their agenda, I want to cry. It really warms my heart and makes me feel like I’m on the right path. It’s a good feeling. I wanted to create a tool that I needed for myself. The Hip Hop Agenda is a combination of my passion for hip hop and marketing, and also wanting to help others. — so that’s what I set out to do with the agenda.
What do you think is the importance – and influence – of hip-hop and Black culture in entrepreneurial endeavors? What about the grind of rappers and singers inspired you to continue to tell their stories through a planner?
I think hip hop is Black culture, and a huge influence on the world. I think businesses look to Black culture or hip hop culture to communicate their vision, or build credibility. The wealthiest hip hop artists are also great businessmen and entrepreneurs. I had to figure out how. They say it takes seven streams of income to become a millionaire. Never giving up, staying focused, learning to sacrifice and work hard, I think inspired me the most. I was already saving hip hop history as different events in my phone calendar, just for myself. I wanted to learn as much as could about hip hop. So, creating the Hip Hop Agenda was just one of the ways I figured I could make a profit from and share my passions while helping others.
Aside from collecting your coin from the Agenda, you have an Acquainted Book Club. What kind of books do you highlight and what stories do they tell?
Acquainted Book Club! We’re a small group but I love that we came together from all over connected via social media. I feel like a common interest is that we all want to grow both personally and professionally. — So far we’ve read a few self help and self transformation books. Also, books on hip hop, artist autobiographies and whatever else sounded like a good read. It’s super casual. Right now, we’re reading a small little book for June. “Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad” by Austin Kleon.
What’s next for King Vashti? We know there’s more!
Creating more content, working on more projects under King Vashti LLC. Releasing the 2020 Hip Hop Agenda and a few more fun things.
Vashti can be found on Instagram, @KingVashti and, you can also shop her Hip Hop Agenda now available for purchase online and on Instagram @KingVashtiHQ, @KingVashtiLLC or www.kingvashti.com.