KMW: I thought that it should, especially if it was about me I thought that it should [laughs] . No, I’m just joking. Well first of all let’s clear the air. Let’s get this out of the way: I totally adore Andre Benjamin as a person. As a person he is a great and sensitive and quietly-spirited individual. Now let’s get that out of the way. And now since I know him a little bit, I mean since I know him personally, I know that that is altogether true. I only wanted the best because it comes through his music, it comes through whatever he does. He is genuinely a great guy and for all genuinely great guys or gals or anybody who are good people I want them to do well and I want them to excel and I want them to have the best. So since it was Andre and since I knew him, I was thrilled that he got the Grammy because he certainly deserved it.
OKP: Completely. What was your first impression of him when you first met him? Did he ever come home for Thanksgiving dinner or anything?
KMW: Yeah. He is a quiet guy, like I said. I would say he is a quiet-spirited guy, real sweet guy, but of course as all moms…well, are you a parent?
OKP: I am not yet a parent, no…
KMW: Okay, so here we go. Nobody was ever going to be good enough for Erykah or Kory; nobody. There hasn’t been a person MADE who I thought was going to be good enough for them. So of course I was very, very apprehensive about him. I didn’t know the guy at first but after I got to know him, he was good–and his mother was great. He came from great parents; His mom and dad are great people, especially his mother who I grew to adore. So that fruit didn’t fall far from the tree. He was manner-able and that meant a lot, very respectful. He has been raised right and that impressed me a lot when I first met him.
OKP: That’s exactly how you imagine Andre Benjamin would be. When you first heard the song…what did you think when you first heard it, this song dedicated to you–apologizing to you?
KMW: I didn’t know what to think. I had to listen to it over and over because first I had to figure out if I was being insulted–I had to figure out what vein it was in! I didn’t know, because–with a lot of music during that time–I didn’t know where it was coming from, because that wasn’t my genre of music. After I listened to it and listened to it I said, Oh, this might not be too bad. This might be harmless; this might be apologetic, this may be okay. So when I felt that it wasn’t being an insult or disrespectful, then I kind of settled into it.
OKP: I was younger when this came out but I think we all felt instantly that it was genuine. It was beautiful that it was a tribute. Is it safe to say that is your favorite OutKast song or do you have a different song that is your favorite?
KMW: Let’s see, a favorite OutKast song. No, “Ms. Jackson” is probably my favorite [everybody laughs…for a long time ] It’s probably my favorite. No, all of them are good. As far back as “Slammin Cadillac doors”–[“Elevators (Me & You)”-ed.] I enjoy that one. And I have enjoyed some of the later stuff, the newer things but yeah, “Ms Jackson” is probably my favorite. Because I listen to that more than I did the rest of them!
OKP: Well, it was also on the radio quite a bit.
KMW: Oh yeah, quite a bit. They played that a lot.
OKP: How do you describe your style as a grandmother? Do you prefer to spoil them or do you keep them in line when they come to visit?
KMW: My style? Well, first of all my name is “Queeny”–that’s my grandmother name.
OKP: I love it.
KMW: Yeah, my grandmother name is “Queeny.” Because I refuse to be Nana and Ganny and Ma-ma and Ne-ne and all that. I didn’t want to be that. I wanted to be someone regal, to them. So in my approach to everything I do I try to do it very regally. In a queenly manner, with high standards. Sometimes we get lost with silliness, but for the most part I want them to look at me as royalty–as I look at them, as my little prince and princesses. That’s the way I treat them, because that’s the way I want them to behave like royalty. And with royalty, everything petty is beneath you and that’s the way I want them to behave.
OKP: I have met them and they are royalty. They sure are.
KMW: Thank you.
OKP: Yes, it is very interesting because my best friend…I’m going to digress for a short minute, but I had a best friend since I was 2 and she has a child, who is my nephew. So my parents are like parents to her as well and grandparents to this little child. She let her parents and my parents choose their grandparent names just like you chose Queeny and she asked my father, Oh what do you want to be to my child? And he said: Sir. “Have them call me Sir.”
KMW: That’s right. I can dig it. I can dig it.
OKP: So it’s a safe bet that Erykah got her creativity from you but who gifted her her bewitching hazel green eyes?
KMW: That would have to be her very, very handsome, fine-ass daddy. It would have to be that guy. It would have to be William Wright, Jr.–my husband.
OKP: Finally, we know where they came from!
KMW: Oh yeah, it would have to be, that’s it. However, throughout my family, I believe them to have the green eyes and the hazel eyes also. They missed me. And luckily I found a guy with beautiful eyes. He made up for my part.
OKP: Queeny, thank you so much for speaking to us. This was a wonderful interview. I really appreciate you taking the time…
KMW: Don’t worry about it. Listen, I appreciate the privilege. This is really a privilege that you guys would want to interview me. This is something else. I want them to let me know when this is up–so I can send every hater I know two copies.
Ms. Kolleen Maria Wright AKA Queeny AKA The Real “Ms. Jackson”