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9 Jan

TS Madison Talks Being Sampled Beyoncé’s Song ‘Cozy’ –

TS Madison is the queen of hearts. The unfiltered, hilarious thoughts she shares online have gained her a legion of fans and thrust her into virality time and time again. The widely shared moments range from an early Vine of Madison yelling “Latest weave, 22 inches” to a more moderen one where she finds out that Selena was, in reality, not Puerto Rican.

The social media and tv personality has funneled the eye into money-making ventures. Over the past three years, she’s pierced the mainstream with a 2-episode guest slot on RuPaul’s Drag Race and a task within the award-winning 2020 film Zola. She also made history as the primary trans woman to executive produce and host a reality series, The TS Madison Experience

Now, with Beyoncé’s Renaissance, she’s made history yet again. Madison and Honey Dijon (a producer on “Cozy,” the song Madison’s audio appears on) are the primary Black trans women to land a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

“I would like every trans person on the market who’s reading or hearing my story; I would like them to know that it’s not where you begin but where you finish,” Madison tells ESSENCE.

Renaissance, in some ways, is an extension of the work Beyoncé has been doing for the past decade. The worldwide star has excavated, celebrated, and engaged with Black cultural traditions. Her latest work is about Blackness and the plurality of what it means to be Black. It celebrates our creative output while highlighting the oft-erased originators. So, for an album about self-determination, protected spaces, and the regenerative power of the dance floor, pulling from the LGBTQ+ community, and specifically Black trans women, seems a given. “Cozy” does this most explicitly with the inclusion of Madison and Dijon.

“I’m dark brown, dark skin, light skin, beige, fluorescent beige. Bitch, I’m Black!..I’m probably certainly one of the Blackest motherf–ckers walking around here on this motherf–king place. I’m probably certainly one of the Blackest motherf–kers on this county; Black like that!” -TS Madison on “Cozy”

The sampled audio comes from a 2020 video Madison uploaded to YouTube titled “B**ch, I’m Black.” Within the 12-minute clip, she speaks straight to the camera. “B–ch, I’m so Black; I like fried bologna sandwiches after I’m hungry,” she says at one point. What begins as a declaration and descriptions of her Black bonafides devolves into disappointment. “The issue that I got with me being all Black and dark as that; I’m trans right after that…I’m uninterested in being Black and unimportant,” she says.

“She’s a god, she’s a hero, she survived all she been through,” Beyoncé sings within the pre-chorus of “Cozy.” “Confident and she or he lethal, might I suggest you don’t fuck with my sis. Cause she’s comfortable.” The lyrics seem paying homage to the story of Madison, a former adult performer who, through charisma and tenacity, has not only persevered but is prospering. For years, Madison has often referred to herself as “comfortable” regardless of the adversity she’s endured. 

Here, we confer with TS Madison about being included on the album, being cozy in who she is, and attending to the bag.

ESSENCE: First things first: Let’s talk concerning the sample. Beyoncé sampled your voice from a video you made called “B**ch I’m Black.” Are you able to confer with me about why you made the video in the primary place? I realize it was across the time of George Floyd and Iyanna Dior. 

TS Madison: That video was me arguing with America. We as Black trans people know that it’s our responsibility to get up and fight against the injustice against George Floyd. But Iyanna Dior is a trans woman who was beaten in the identical city, in the identical week almost, and everybody was blaming her for being trans and all of those Black people were beating her in the shop. 

I used to be sitting at home, and I had watched all of these items occur to George Floyd and Iyanna Dior, and I at all times say that I even have a connection to the Spirit. The Spirit told me: ‘Stand up Madison, get in drag, go in your studio basement, and just make a video talking to people about how you are feeling.’ I used to be similar to ‘Now? I don’t feel like getting in drag at once.’ But my entire profession has been based off what the Spirit tells me, so I did it. 

I used to be just so sick of individuals not understanding that I’m Black. I don’t need to hear anything about this LGBTQIA stuff on this moment of Blackness. It’s not separate; I’m that and Black at the identical time. So I went downstairs and made the video. Whatever got here to mind, I said it. I just expressed. It got a whole lot of traction and folks were responding to it. Funky Dineva called me and said it was powerful. I used to be like girl, I just needed to say this shit for my heart because I’m so uninterested in us being beat as Black people after which getting drug as trans or gay people. We don’t have anyone to support us they usually actually are rallying for us to be killed but when are we not Black? When are we not Black?!

TS Madison Talks Being Sampled On ‘Renaissance:’ ‘You Never Know How Things Line Up’
Courtesy of TS Madison

How did that video find yourself being sampled on the album?

Possibly six months after the video was out, I received an email from a record label. I don’t remember it saying Parkwood. But it surely just said “Madison, it is a powerful piece that you just did on YouTube and we’re inquisitive about sampling fragments of your voice for a record.” I used to be like ‘Okay, well how much you bought?’ So we figured it out so I still owned the rights. 

A couple of months later, I bumped into someone who was working on Renaissance, but I didn’t know what the project was on the time. So we’re sitting all the way down to eat in LA and he says, ‘Bitch, your voice sounds amazing on this track that’s coming up.’ And I used to be like “What are you talking about?” He said the “B**ch I’m Black.” So I asked which album and he told me he couldn’t say, but they played it in Croatia and the individuals who heard my voice, everybody went insane. So I just laughed and moved on, but by technique of elimination — this was a global artist who is thought for standing of their Blackness — I assumed it may be Beyoncé. 

When Beyoncé took all of her profile pictures down, I used to be filming a project in LA on the time. So you already know everybody was talking about that. After which right after that, I flew to Costa Rica for work there and I began getting all of those emails [saying], “We want clearance,” “We want approval on song two.” They kept pressing about this July 19 deadline. So I finally sat down and browse the emails and Leggra, my manager, went and got the numbers from them and it was like a number after which zero, zero, zero, zero, zero. Then, not only were there all these zeros but it surely said percent of streaming and a percent of pure sales. I used to be like, “OH, THIS BEYONCÉ!” 

I finally checked out the underside of the e-mail and it said Parkwood. I came upon later that it was Honey Dijon who brought it to Beyoncé. 

It’s so crazy because I remember when “Break My Soul” got here out, which was like a month before and I said, ‘You already know I like Big Freedia and she or he at all times gets to work with Beyonce and her voice is so powerful. My voice is powerful too and I’d love if in the future I can work along with her.’ You simply never understand how things line up. 

What did you’re thinking that of “Cozy” overall as a song?

If you hearken to those lyrics, you already know she really sat and watched the entire video. A lot of the lyrics, a lot of the things she is talking about…if you happen to know anything about my life and my story you already know it runs parallel. My interpretation of it, it speaks specifically of Black trans women. It’s a song about self-determination. There’s a bit where she’s describing the inclusive Pride flag. There’s a clip of me in an interview on Hollywood Unlocked from years ago where the similarities in what we’re saying is frightening. 

Even outside of “Cozy,” while you take a look at “Church Girl” there’s parallels to you. I feel you regularly speak about this duality between being spiritual and secular.

A number of the ladies are raised within the church and we’re so confined by what the church has taught us about homosexuality and gender. You already know “a person should just be a person and a lady should just be a lady they usually should only be together.” Should you’re from the South, you already know they might be very Kim Burrell concerning the situation. It’s people like that which cause people like us to must have a secret relationship with ourselves and a conflicted relationship with God when God loves all of us. 

What Beyoncé did with this album was say let me use my voice, which is larger than all of the voices within the room. Let me speak to an audience that’s going to listen globally. Let me add these people’s stories, testimonies and think pieces to this. She said let or not it’s known that we’re all Black in totality. That’s what I absorbed from it. 

Article continues after video.

So what about outside of this? I do know you usually have so many irons in the fireplace. 

Oh yes honey! I learned early that if you happen to LGBTQ+ and/or Black you may’t have all your eggs in a single basket. It’s essential to have a little bit chicken laying eggs throughout. In order that’s what I do. I’m not too big for the massive things and I take the small things too. My goddess RuPaul once told me, “b–ch, don’t you ever be too big for the small things because those small things will get you thru when you’ve gotten nothing else. And people small things will catapult you to something big.” Now I don’t let no one recover from on me but I work. I take my jobs. 

As progressive a time that we come to, there’s more to go. That’s essential to know. You’ll be able to still get fired for being who you might be at work but they’ll hide it under other pretenses. So I do know I don’t have the work privileges as a Black man or as a gay Black man. So I even have to work. As much as you see us in Hollywood, we’re still just attempting to get trans people jobs. 

But showing up in your fullness as you might be — which can be form of what this album is about as well — can be very essential to you. 

Listen, either you gonna suck it otherwise you not because I got it. It’s not going to alter. That is the best way of the place: the food got salt in it. Should you don’t want no salty food, don’t eat it. Like I don’t give a rattling, you’re going to get what you’re going to get. 

Sometimes people wish to dance around things but at the top of the day I’m going to still be who I’m. If you cope with me you’re coping with me in a raw form or in my fullness, you’ll get me in high glam otherwise you’ll get me out of it because we aren’t at all times in a wig and a lash sitting in the home. You’re going to get me the way you get me.

“So just know that in my quietest moments, while you don’t see anything happening, baby I’m working.”

So what concerning the show? I do know The TS Madison Experience from WeTV made history as the primary reality series starring and executive produced by a trans woman.

I like WeTV for giving me the chance and starting with the launching pad they’ve given me. You will note The TS Madison Experience again. It might be under one other name, I don’t know. We’ve been forwards and backwards a couple of second season. But here’s me being honest: I even have so many other things within the works which might be on the precipice of popping that I’d love for a second season to occur but when it doesn’t..possibly not because I even have a much bigger story to inform than that.

I even have a much bigger bag to get than that. I don’t need to appear to be I’m not humble or grateful, because I’m very grateful for WeTV but they were a launching pad for me. I’m in bed with a whole lot of individuals who mean a whole lot of powerful things on the planet. So just know that in my quietest moments, while you don’t see anything happening, baby I’m working.

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