There’s a reason that name may sound familiar. Jay Q The Legend is an artist on the rise, with his most recent release ‘Amazing Girl’ topping charts all over the world.
But behind the success is a story of hardship and challenge that JayQ has had to overcome to get to where he is now.
Physically and emotionally abused by his step-father, JayQ had to overcome a world of trauma and channel his pain into music.
“Songs were a place for me to escape. Hiding in my room and getting lost in a verse was my safe place. I would write and write songs, hoping not to be found. I lived with just my mother and stepfather during these years of beatings.
The rest of my family, my father and grandparents were in the British Virgin Islands far away from St. Croix. The trauma that physical abuse leaves on a child is unforgivable. When a man is violent to his family, he passes down a legacy of insecurity and anger. How does one enter manhood and climb out of this?”
As soon as he was able, JayQ managed to escape the cycle of violence and pain, but after the murder of his father JayQ was left understandably devastated.
“My world started spinning. I tried college but couldn’t focus. I was flunking out. It was too much, home was still not safe, and college was not far enough away from my mother’s voice on the phone sharing her pain.
However, always inside me was that will, the will to survive and be successful… to overcome my history. It took so much energy and fight, but I was determined to beat the odds. “
Since then, JayQ has turned the tide of misfortune and hardship, defying odds and staying focused by joining the military, completing a degree and an MBA.
Despite already facing more than enough trauma for one individual to bare, JayQ went into life as an adult confronted by a different kind of abuse.
“I was subject to another kind of abuse, institutionalised racism as a professional in the American South. It was awful to be held to a different standard than the privileged, less qualified and competent than me.
Black men had to be better than everyone to be seen. That is another story, not a pretty picture of living in America. The United States of America is currently struggling to uncover the truth and impact of racism and move forward with enlightenment and compassion.”
JayQ has channeled his pain into music. Creating feel-good tracks that are uplifting and joyful.
His story, whilst heartbreaking, is also incredibly inspiring – a true show of perseverance and determination that tugs at our heart strings.
Proud to no longer be afraid of using his voice, JayQ shares an inspiring piece of advice.
“My advice is to empower yourself by discovering who you are. Build that part of yourself. Recognise and use your gift.“
After everything he’s been through, he’s certainly deserving of his name.