Jhamilah Levy first started her platform, Chocolate Baddie, back in 2015 to represent all shades of melanin. From there, her brand has only been excelling through using various outlets such as her own radio show, broadcasting, and hosting events. We talked with the Chocolate Baddie herself to understand her journey more and also to introduce her newest venture, New Wave.
Tell Us About How You First Started The Chocolate Baddie
"Really the term came about back in 2015 when I was in college. Guys used to come up to us like "y'all cute for dark skin girls" ... and you know, at the time, just becoming one with your melanin wasn't 'in'. That's not a compliment to me and it was happening SO much. There wasn't a day that went by where someone wasn't like "y'all some cute dark skin girls". So, we started telling people like 'y'all not finna keep approaching us like that' and one day, this one guy we told that to was like "you know what ya'll right, I ain't ever gonna say that ever again.. y'all some chocolate baddies"... and I really ran with that. To dig deeper into it though, we really wanted to spread the love with all shades of melanin. For me, I try to stop using the word 'black' because thats a slave word to me. None of us are the color black. So, I use chocolate to say we are all brown cause chocolate is brown and we are all a different shade of brown from light to dark. You might have dark chocolate or you might have vanilla chocolate but, ain't none of us literally the color black. I use the term to empower women, especially darker complexion women to say there's no such thing as being 'cute for a dark skin girl' you know, thats not a compliment and just really opening up people eyes and mind. When I started my radio show, I made it my business that I supported, encouraged, and uplifted other women of color."
How Did You Get Into Media?
"I always loved music growing up. I didn't watch TV, I didn't even have a TV in my room growing up, I just had a radio. I always loved music, I always loved listening to different songs and artists and I got my momma to thank for that because she is a music head. My mom used to give us hip hop history lessons and as a kid, and I used to be intrigued like, I just imagined what the world was like in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, where Hip Hop first started. So listening to the radio with Frankie Robinson and Rocsi, hearing them, I always used to be like 'I wanna do that' and I thought to myself 'I love music, I like to talk and interview people,' and so that's just something that always intrigued me. So the older I got, the more I watched different people like Lala and Wendy Williams and I just started becoming one with myself and what I wanted to do with my life. I always aspired to get into media. So, I went to college and studied Broadcasting/Communications and just put myself out there."
Whats Your Favorite Style of Music
Definitely Hip Hop and R and B.
How Did You Started on New Wave
"When I first started doing radio back in 2017, I had so many ideas. I was doing radio/promo commercials with Power 92.3, I was hosting events, and my senior year before graduation, I went into curating something unique and my own. New Wave originally, was supposed to be a mixtape with all upcoming artist and alongside the mixtape I wanted to do a magazine. I am a millennial, so I grew up in the era of reading Word Up! Magazines and watching 106 and Park. Thats why Hip Hop is my favorite genre, because I feel like I grew up with Hip Hop in its prime. I wanted to bring back something nostalgic and unique so I felt like a magazine and mixtape would be the perfect duo. I was working on it with a couple people. They ended up stealing my idea and doing it by themselves. So for some years I was just sitting on this idea because I felt like 'damn, they stole my idea, now I gotta think of something else' but as I watched my competitors I noticed they wasn't doing it how it should have been done. I ended up getting out my head and said 'you know what, I'm finna just put it together' so I started putting things together and things started falling into place.
Tell Us More About The Upcoming Concert
"So, New Wave 2.0 is a magazine series that will be highlighting upcoming/rising artists around the world and black owned businesses. The concert, on December 13th 2022, will compliment the magazine. So last year, I dropped a cover list, kinda like the XXL Freshmen List and it features 12 artist that I felt like put in a lot of work for the year. So this upcoming concert is going to highlight 6 artists that were on the cover plus, I will be doing a live cypher. I am inspired by XXL with this idea because I am a fan of them and thought like we need something more like this for the underground scene. The concert will have plenty of performances, cyphers, multiple vendors, 360 camera, and food so its gonna be a good time."
Where Do You See You and Your Brand in the Next 5 Years?
"I love/hate this question so much.. It's crazy cause when I was 19 someone asked me where do I see myself in the next 5 years. I thought to myself like I couldn't even see the next 5 years, I don't even know what I'm gonna be doing next year I'm just trying graduate school at that time. Now, I am just realizing the importance of that question cause I'm at a place where I'm planning for my life in advance, you know, so I can work towards those goals. In the next 5 years I definitely see New Wave being that go-to platform for upcoming and rising artists. So now, you don't always have to look for the same sources. I feel like our sources are very limited when it comes to the underground scene. Just me trying to think outside the box, New Wave is going to be a whole.. wave, a whole movement of creatives building and creating content together. Personally for myself in the next 5 years.. I'm definitely going to be a millionaire and I plan to launch my talkshow for The Chocolate Baddies Show. I'm rebranding my radio show so the Chocolate Baddie Show as you know it will not be the same 2023, I got a lot of big plans."
Why Upcoming Artists?
"I don't feel like they have the most beneficial platforms to help them get out there to the masses. I feel like its a lot of repetitive platforms thats not catering rising artists. Honestly, I listen to a lot more upcoming artist than mainstream now. I checked my Replay on Apple Music and wasn't even surprised. I had to 2 upcoming artists and the other 3 are people I listen to all the time... Nicki Minaj, Future, and Lil Baby. I just feel like its a lot of good underground music that needs to be heard and seen and I just want to do my due diligence to help them with that extra push or promo. You never know who watching."
"Expect more events, magazines, content, more drip, and yeah... Just expect to see a whole lot of drip. A lot of black excellence."
Thank you so much Jhamilah for taking the time to speak with us. Subscribe to Chocolate Baddies YouTube here Be sure to follow on IG to stay updated with her moves @thechocolatebaddies and @newwaveus. To purchase tickets to upcoming concert click link