Jully Black – home-grown talent
Published on www.donnakakonge.com August 2005
By Donna Kay Kakonge
The first time I met Jully Black was while she was working with the Princess of Wales show “Da Kink in my Hair.” I was walking out of a swanky store in the Eaton Centre in Toronto and she was walking in. With a huge smile on her face, she greeted me and said “hello.”
“Why not say hi,” she says. “You cut us all, we bleed red. Why are we surprised? It’s great that we connected on a human level.”
It’s this type of down-to-earth nature that Black has. I interviewed her the day after she performed live at the Toronto Street Festival and rocked the crowd. The first thing I asked her was about her segments on CTV’s “Etalk Daily.”
“I love doing those segments for Etalk Daily. They let me be me and I love them. It’s fun”
She was at the Juno Awards and her feet were hurting her, her heels were burning her and they had a room called the Pantene she was sitting in and she wasn’t supposed to be there – but she was resting. Someone from Etalk Daily came over to her and said “Aren’t you Jully Black? What are you doing sitting by yourself? Why don’t you come over and join us?”
She went into the room where the Etalk crew was and she was causing trouble, bothering Ben Mulroney and Tanya Kim.
“I was telling Tanya that my dress is better than her dress. Meanwhile, her dress is 20 grand and my dress is like 500 bucks.”
It was just a whole bunch of fun, says Black. Etalk Daily ended up running Black’s footage more than anyone else who had won. Then, they invited her to do weekly diaries for the entertainment show where nothing was scripted.
She was able to bring her Mom on the show, too.
“My Mom is the love of my life,” says Black. She raised all nine of us all by herself. She migrated from Jamaica in 1972. She had me in Jamaica and I was a twin. I had a brother, but he didn’t live. She didn’t even know that she was having twins until she delivered us. She’s just been my pillar of strength, my inspiration. As much as I can I bring her out. She’s older, she’s 69, and she had me in her 40s.”
Black also notes that the fact that her mother is alive and well to see her live out her dream is worth more than a platinum album to her.
“My career is still in its infancy. I’m so proud of the accomplishments. I was signed to a label in America that folded and Universal Music Canada still kept me and that’s practically unheard of because usually when the Americans go away, so does everyone else.”
Black lost her sister in 1990 and left children behind.
“I’ve definitely been through a lot in my young years – I’m only in my 20s. But, that’s definitely helped me become the woman I am – just not taking anything for granted.”
Black talks about how a lot of the art magazines have helped her rise to success like NOW, Eye and community papers like PRIDE.
For the future, Black has “television, television and television” on her agenda.
“I definitely want to record many, many albums. I’d definitely like to have my own company and sign many artists. But, I’d ultimately love to have a television show that caters to all walks of life that is definitely a music show. It would kind of be like Oprah meets Ellen and bridge the gap. Where the youth can come home from school and watch the show with their parents and it’s still cool.”
Black says she just wants to follow her spirit.
“I’m everybody. This album is entitled ‘This is me.’ I’d like everybody to give it a chance and see this album like another Olympic Gold medal. I use this analogy because it unifies us. I’d love to be added to the bunch of Canadian icons that are recognized for their talent and still not compromise.”