BLACK and Filipina American hip-hop darling Saweetie is reclaiming her power after years of “dimming” her light.
In her latest Cosmopolitan cover interview, the “Icy Girl” rapper shared that she finally became comfortable in her own skin last year after her ascent to viral stardom in the summer of 2017.
“Last year was the year that I finally became comfortable in my own skin. I kind of figured out what my purpose was,” Saweetie told Cosmo. “I think it’s important to show little Black and brown girls that they can be successful in whatever they want to do. If I can do it, you can do it too.”
This development came after the infamous HOT97 interview in February 2018 where one of the radio hosts insulted Saweetie, calling her freestyle “basic” and implying she “had little to offer but her beauty,” as Cosmo writer Rawiya Kameir noted.
“It was a really dark point in my life. I went from being so loved so quickly because of ‘Icy Grl’ to, on my first promo run, well, you saw the interview. The script flipped really quick, like night and day. I was like, Wait…I had PTSD from that,” Saweetie admitted.
However, the rapper said she was “grateful” for the setbacks she experienced, as they helped her grow into the artist she is now.
“I’m really grateful for my start. Because the mistakes, the struggle, the grind — it allows me to appreciate the rewards that come now because I know what it feels like to sleep in motels, to drive and do promo, to be stressed out,” said Saweetie.
She shared that she perfected her stage presence by learning how to control her breath and pull off complex choreo and rap without missing a beat. She also took vocal lessons.
“Some of us have it naturally. And some of us don’t—like me,” Saweetie told Cosmo. “And that’s okay because I know that as long as I work hard, I’ll become one of the best.”
Saweetie, whose real name is Diamonté Quiava Valentin Harper, was born to an African American father and Filipina-Chinese mother.
In 2017, she went viral after posting a video on Instagram. The freestyle video later became “Icy Grl,” prompting a label bidding war that ended with Saweetie signing a deal with Warner Records.
Since her fame, she has released chart-topping hits including 2020’s “Tap In” and “Back to the Streets” as well as “Best Friend” with Doja Cat this year.
She also launched a nonprofit, The Icy Baby Foundation, with her grandmother to support single mothers, low-income communities, education efforts, and people living with autism.
“Money beats court cases, money buys medicine, money fixes potholes, money puts food on the counter, and money keeps the heat and electricity going,” said Saweetie.
“So if I can spread the wealth, that’s what I want to do,” she added.
Saweetie’s first studio album, “Pretty Bitch Music,” is set to debut this spring.
“It’s my way of taking back all those years where I feel I had to dim my light,” she told Cosmo.