How I Interview Women About Their Art

Whenever I have a chance to interview women about their artistic process, I build my questions around resetting expectations. Often, women in art get the fluffy questions.

  • Who inspired you?
  • As a woman…
  • Who would you like to thank?

Instead, I start at the beginning — letting my subject tell her story. This allows her to lead me through her journey as an artist. It breaks away from the assumptions and brings her voice to the forefront.


Monique “Mobethatlady” Miller on how she pours passion into poetry and why she just listened to P!nk’s “Perfect”

Originally published at Talk That Talk

When I started talking to Monique “Mobethatlady” MIller, her stage name immediately set the tone for the questions. As she explains it, “‘Mobethatlady’ is a lady who speaks with eloquence and integrity. She is passionate about what she speaks on and adamant that others get set free when she speaks with power.” As a persona, this lady is, indeed, powerful. As a person, Monique is equally striking. You feel like you must stand on your tip-toes to talk to her, even though she’s petite.

Lady (n.): 1. a woman (used as a polite or old-fashioned form of reference). 2. a woman of superior social position, especially one of noble birth.

At The Listening, we frequently host Open Mic events that allow members of the community to share their thoughts. In this conversation, Monique expands on her spoken word performance by explaining how she pours passion into poetry.

Danielle: Tell me a little about yourself.

Monique: I am 24 years old, pursuing to become an eye surgeon. I love to write and be in my zone during my free time. Cutting some music on and relaxing. I love jazz music.

Oh and when I get this sense of feeling that comes upon me, I pick up the pen and start writing. I also love to walk near the ocean or anything that has a consistent flow (pond,lake, river). It’s a way to clear my mind and get new insight on life. Meditation is a daily thing for me, so I strive to keep a calm spirit at all times.

D: Where are you from?

M: I’m from a small town called Gretna, Va.

D: When did you get into writing?

M: I discovered my gift of writing at the age of 17 years old. The process of me entering into my writing was a time in my life where I was going through some trials with home. The things I seen, heard — was an experience that I could not just keep in for myself so I had to speak out on it.

My speaking out was a form of writing. If you think about it, some would use substances such as drugs or alcohol for an outlet but, writing was my outlet because it was complete truth. My passion, and pain all came out on that sheet of paper as I began to pour out.

There was no sugar coating writing going on, but I would say something that was straight forwardly blunt. I feel that to be a true writer/poet then you must be raw, because it’s a reality to the things that you’ve have experienced. Speaking on what happened to you, how it made you feel and just simply letting it out helped reveal Truth and released something that other substances cannot do. So, why not be transparent and help someone get set free from your story?

D: What themes would we find in your pieces?

M: In my pieces, you will find stories of a young girl. In particular the piece , “I remember” where it talks about how her dad was living in the home with her but yet he was absent to her in the ways of the lack of being a dad.

She watched her dad and how he acted, the way he talked, and the way he lived.

His words cut you leaving scars that haunted you as she developed into a young teen and now into her adult years. Those scars left her with the idea of what and how men are really made of.

In this piece I describe not only about how my dad was absent but I used words of imagery that helped the audience really understand how it was living in an environment as such. Like this part in specific, “Your mouth was like a pistol that shot me in my heart that made me numb to what real love was.”

His words shot me like a bullet engraved right into my heart that left a permanent remembrance of pain.

D: Who is an artist or writer that you’d be flattered to be compared to?

M: That’s a very tough decision to say because I’m not necessarily inspired or compared by just one person. I kind of picked up writing on my own as I stated in the previous question. I discovered passion for writing at a time where I was not so much “inspired” by an artist but I was desiring to pour out my pain which became a form of writing.

Sorry, but I like to say I am only flattered by the gift that was revealed to me by God. He is the ultimate artist in the fore front.

However, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Jackie Hill Perry, and Janette Ikz are some great artist I listen to from time to time to get some ideas on critiquing my work. So if I would compare I’d say I’m a mixture of Maya Angelou, Jackie Hill Perry, and Janette Ikz all in one.

D: Our next open mic event centers on the theme “Perfect.” What’s your first reaction to that word?

M: First thing that came to mind with the word perfect, was a popular scripture 2 Corinthians  12:7-10. “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” I take that as literally, I am not perfect but in God’s eyes I found to be perfect because I have taken part of him, and that with his strength, and his power reigning upon me, I am found perfect.

D: The theme “Perfect” is a reference to Pink’s song. What do you think of that tune?

M: I don’t listen to PINK often. But I looked it up and listened to it and I actually heard the song before. Never realized that some of words were encouraging in parts, especially the “mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood… Mistaken, always second guessing, underestimated, look I’m still around.”

Has a good catch in saying that don’t let what others think of you or what you’ve been through ever display you as nothing. So, just because mistakes and falls have take place, that should not define you because someone out there can see you as perfect to them.

D: If you could make everyone pay attention to one story (movie, book, song, news event, etc.) what would it be?

M: I’d say the entire album Crescendo and the Art of Joy by Jackie Hill Perry! She’s dope in poetry and in rap put together, telling true life stories that others can relate to as well teaching the gospel in each song.

D: How are you using poetry outside of The Listening stage?

M: Using for ministry, ministering all over! Whether if it’s a church event for young ladies, young people in particular who can relate is where I’m using my poetry. I like to share my faith and to encourage others with spoken words of truth and how to get set free from circumstances that people face.


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Published by Danielle

I'm a writer and artist in Lynchburg, Virginia.

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