Atlanta-based rapper Bella Blaq talked with Collide about musical influences, having confidence and what the music industry can do to better support Black artists.


How have you built up your confidence over time? As I was listening to “Hands on Me,” I could tell in your flow and your lyrics that the confidence you have overshadows the frustrating experiences you’ve had in the music industry.

By blocking out the negativity, not even blocking out competition, but blocking out the fact there are other people doing what I’m doing. Just focusing on me.

I remember looking at other artists and realizing “I don’t sound like them” or “I don’t look like them,” and the best way is to not pay them any attention (in the most respectful way), and just focus on me.

Can you tell Collide about the artists that have inspired you? How has that shifted over time as you’ve grown as an artist?

On the way up I was really inspired by Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, and Fat Joe. They helped me in their own ways—Missy Elliot with creativity, and being okay with being different. Missy is dark-skinned and so am I. It just really helps to see someone like myself shine.

Lauryn Hill taught me it was okay to be vulnerable with my music and the importance of telling my story, educating my fans and listeners; not being afraid of telling people what you’re going through. I catch myself going through personal things and not wanting to tell people my business, but then I think about Lauryn and she really made me feel like my music could be my diary.

I’ve added other artists to the collection over the years; Kendrick Lamar, J Cole—those types of artists are really dope to me.

There are a lot of people out there that don’t recognize (or instead turn away from) the intersection of racism and sexism that Black women face. What would you say to those people?

I think that if it happened to them or someone they were close to, it would have a bigger impact on them. Racism and sexism happens a lot. I would encourage people to check themselves first.

A lot of the time, it’s still hate that triggers racism and sexism, and black people aren’t the only people that experience hate either. A lot of women of all races go through sexism. I feel like we should all be respected, period.

Regardless of our sex, our race, it’s not okay to just turn the other way. I know we can’t rescue everyone and it’s difficult to put ourselves in someone else’s situation, so we should start with respecting ourselves. It starts with the person in the mirror and that trickles on down the people around you.

What do you think the music industry can do to better support Black artists, especially Black women?

Each artist—black or white—we’re all responsible for ourselves. If an artist wants to promote certain things they can. I think that is on the artist themselves.

I do think that there are artists who are putting out content that is doing things for the culture and sometimes those artists are at the forefront of the industry. I’m cool with staying in my own lane though, doing my thing. It really is up to the artist to control the energy and image that they are putting out.

What are you most looking forward to in 2021?

I’m looking forward to bursting the doors open in the industry and seeing my name and team’s names everywhere.

Honestly, I’m looking forward to taking over and I mean that in the most respectful way. I want everything in life; I went through so much. I’m looking forward to being the best version of myself personally and through my music.

What can Collide readers expect to see from you next?

They can definitely expect a single dropping really soon. I don’t want to disclose the title just yet, but it’s going to be amazing—the hottest record yet. It’ll be dope to give you guys another piece of me, so you can learn more about me.




Photos courtesy of Bella Blaq.