I would like to introduce you all to an aspiring artist and close friend. This young lady has been my friend since Spring semester 2013 (yes our friendship-anniversary has passed!) A funny thing about our relationship is that we should have been friends years ago! We both grew up in the same area, went to the same camps, and almost went to the same middle, and same high school. Yet, we never meet until sophomore year at the University of Maryland, College Park and nothing was the same ( insert Drake album cover here ). I believe she is the type of friend that everyone needs in their friend group for she is honest, unique, and loyal, but not in an ordinary way. Her determination is intimidating and you just hope that some of it rubs off on you. I have many acquaintances and “friends”, but some days Alexis “Lex” Jenkins is like a sister. And even though unfortunate events happen in both our lives, I wouldn’t trade her in for anything. ( I’m kind of a softy!)
Age: 20 ( turns 21 on 4/29/14)
Whats your stage name and why?
My stage name is Havana Seoul in homage to my heritage. Havana and Seoul are capitals of the countries my parents are from respectively. My dad’s family immigrated from Cuba in the 1960s after Castro came to power. My mother is a product of the Korean War, and she was adopted from Korea when she was three years old. Her father was American military, and her mom was Korean. And if you take the “e” out of Seoul then it’s also in homage to my black roots since both of my parent’s are also half black.
In one of your songs you said you are not a rapper but a poet or something along those lines, why do you feel it is necessary to make the distinction?
That distinction is important because I want the creative freedom to move between genres without consequence. I don’t want to be considered a rapper who’s experimenting. I feel like Kid Cudi
kind of came out as a rapper at first then people got pissed off because he started genre bending. It was dope, but because he threw himself in a box first it kind of took people a while to accept it.
What projects are you currently working on?
Currently I’m just starting to think about what I want to do next. I want to do a lot of collaborations and maybe another EP. A couple of people have hit me up for collaboration EPs and I’m open to that too. The project I released last month was titled “This Is Not A Cigar Club”
and it’s on Datpiff. I really appreciate the love I got from it.
Enjoy this video clip featuring her single off her EP: This is NOT A Cigar Club “Nagasaki Nukes”
What is your writing process like?
My writing process varies, but I got into rap by way of poetry so I used to write a lot without a beat. I still think that’s when I’m best lyrically and visually. I enjoy the freedom in poetry to create my own rhythms etc. The more and more I write though I find myself really focused on the introduction of songs. Those first few bars are super important to me. Then next would be the chorus.
A Little Perspective on Lex:
Who do you think you are?
Wow, that’s such a loaded question. I don’t know is the most honest answer. I think I’m a lot of things…I’ve never been one to confine myself to just one title. I think I’m still trying to find that answer. I’m an artist. A feminist. A good friend. A lover. A curly hair black person who watches documentaries and pens poems on my iPhone. I’m an attempted suicide survivor, you know tormented like all artists are. I don’t know my definition could change at any time, but my essence is always the same. I just am.
What’s your thing?
My thing, well as previously stated is a lot of things. I consider myself as a multi-disciplined artist. I work with music, photography, videography, and studio arts on occasion. My thing is whatever moves me. I do photography and videography for freelance. I put a mural in my apartment last semester because I got bored. I don’t have a set trajectory, I just sort of experiment and try to get better at everything I do. I never want to limit myself.
What is the message you want to convey?
The message I want to convey is don’t ever apologize for being yourself. I found out a lot of people on this campus didn’t care for me because I speak my mind. For a second I cared, and that second was short. There’s freedom in going through life as yourself and yes there are consequences for your actions, but as long as I do what I can always handle the consequences. I just want to convey the idea that it’s ok to experiment and go into the world and be inquisitive.
It is easy to be different, it is difficult to be better.
In high school I was on the trajectory to play collegiate volleyball at the Air Force Academy. As you know I ended up at Maryland lol.
How did come across your medium?
My medium just kind of found me. I remember writing poetry as early as third grade. By eighth grade I was being told I should write raps, and music because of the cadence and way I did spoken word. As for photography my father was a photo enthusiast. We use to travel the world when I was a child and he gave me a camera at maybe five or six. I just always took pictures all the time. In high school I started taking it seriously realizing I kind of had an eye for it. As far as videography well I started that because I wasn’t satisfied with the production I saw in the DMV. It was all overpriced and looked the same. I became a videographer out of necessity. I already had a camera and photography programs. I just thought it couldn’t be that hard.
Talk about your style both in how you dress and how you create. My style is like me eclectic. But on any given day I’m probably in some sports/street wear. That is really my favorite thing to wear. I love sweatpants and leggings, and a nice pair of harem pants. My style is all about comfort and exclusivity. I love wearing things other people don’t have. I thrift often…I’ve been doing that for like 5 years. I work at Nordstrom, I have access to some dope stuff there too. I don’t really care about labels, I just like well made, well tailored clothes. I finessed an Alexander Wang shirt, I also wear hats that cost $2 from the thrift store.
As far as how I create well I think I like gritty things. I like using unconventional methods. Some of my photo toning is super drastic, I try not to use conventional angles. My videography is gritty and trippy. At the same time everything is always different. I’m always trying something new so the trippy way I edited videos six months ago is slightly something I’m moving away from.
What’s your perspective of society today? or rather something that “grinds your gears’ about it
What grinds my gears about society is the amount of ignorance within it. People love talking about things they know nothing about. We live in a society that cripples people then criticizes them for being crippled. It doesn’t really make sense to me how people can be so insensitive and stupid.
Who/what inspires you?/do you have a muse?
I don’t have a muse. I try not to have a muse at least, my muses are usually people who have hurt me. But what I’m inspired by is little things that happen during my day. It may be a conversation or a song I hear. It may just be an observation.
Favorite Disney movie? or figure of the past
Mulan for sure. She was a bad ass and I feel like the only super self-sufficient female Disney character.
My IG: blvckseoul
Now that you have gotten some insight on Alexis please feel free to contact her via twitter or instagram.
This has been a learning experience for me as a friend, artist, and blogger and I cherish the moments when I can learn from those I care for.