LeToya Luckett: More Than Enough
written by: iman n. milner
Any 80′s baby will tell you that no generation knows more about one hit wonders, overnight stars and microwaved talent than we do. We see them come and go. From boy bands to girl bands, reality TV contestants to YouTube stars—we’ve seen it all.
Ever so often there’s an artist that we commit to, rally behind and cheer on no matter what happens. There is something special about them. They offer a normalcy and a breath of fresh air in the redundancy of pop culture—and we feign for that. No artist embodies that quite like LeToya Luckett. In 2006, when her single “Torn” shot up the charts and brought her back on our radar, collectively we celebrated; she deserved her moment to shine. In her Destiny’s Child days it was clear that she had a spark, a natural light about her—there was something in her girl next-door charm that made her intriguing. Many DC fans were saddened by her departure from the group and supported her as she attempted to put back together the pieces of her career. Her redemption was sweet for all of us—but no one felt in more than she.
“It’s been a long journey. I’ve learned a lot, I literally grew into a woman in this industry but I wouldn’t change any of my journey…not a single thing”, says LeToya in her surprisingly still present Texas drawl, “I’m a lot more relaxed, I know how to fully let go and let God sit in the driver seat”. Her maturity shines through in her absolute positivity about the things she’s experienced. When most artists would take the time to openly rebuke their adversaries, LeToya has remained mum about everything surrounding her earlier days in the industry and has instead allowed her beautiful spirit to take the lead. But she’ll be the first to tell you that it wasn’t always an easy road for her. Having had a rough childhood in which she “saw a lot”, LeToya developed a tough skin that didn’t allow her to be the woman she has fought to become. “I was a rock, I never cried. I never wanted people to see how they’d affected me, I didn’t think that was ok to do”, she explains, “I was strong for everyone, I tried to control everything around me so that I wouldn’t be disappointed and it overwhelmed me. As an adult now I’ve become much more ok with showing that I am human, I can cry, you can hurt me—but I’m still strong and it won’t break me”. And her willingness to be transparent shows throughout her music. Heartfelt and honest, LeToya’s biggest hits have come out of the ups and downs she’s experienced at the hands of love. She admits to being very chained to a man with whom she could not make a relationship work for the greater part of her solo career. And as with everything else in her past, she’s found a way to use it to her advantage. “You can’t control someone’s actions and you can’t expect perfection from anyone, you’re going to have to learn how to live and love whoever they are—if you really want to be happy in a relationship”. Her ability to focus solely on what the future holds has opened the doors of opportunity as she has channeled her positive energy into an avenue for other ventures.
Most recently she created a web series, Life, Love and Music, that is an inside look into the hard work it takes to simply remain relevant and creative in today’s oversaturated entertainment market. The first episode sheds light on LeToya in her truest form: a goofy girl from down south who likes to laugh, have fun and make a number one single or two in her downtime. Since the success of her first solo album, she’s taken full advantage of the time she has had to simply exist. Having worked professionally since the young age of 12, LeToya is finally realizing the true meaning of forming her own reality. “The little things matter to me more than ever. The time I have with my family, sending cards to my friends just because, just putting a smile on someone’s face. You get so used to just moving and shaking—you don’t even know what it’s like to just live”, she says pleasantly, “I’m living, I’m breathing, I’m being me and I’m happy that people get to see that”. Though she welcomes the access her fans have to her through her reality show she, like many artists, reminisce on the days when mystery surrounded the celebrities we all loved. Social networking, the introduction of the camera phone and our generation’s obsession with receiving information quickly has made the days when the Michael Jackson’s of the world could create magic and pandemonium by simply showing up to do normal things seem so far away. We no longer feel the same excitement and if LeToya had her way, things would surely change. “We’ve all had to adjust as artists, our accessibility has taken so much away from our artistry, I’d love for us to recapture the exclusivity that there once was”, she explains, “going to a concert was an experience then. Now, it ends up on YouTube so it barely matters if you miss it. Remember when you’d get your tickets to a concert and save them? Get the booklet at the show and take it to school? Now someone records it on their camera phone and uploads it the same night! It robs us all of the full experience”.
But there is one way that LeToya plans on using to recapture the nostalgia of the pre-social network days. How so? By making music that effectively causes people to reevaluate everything from having the courage to chase dreams to the way we treat one another. Her focus is promoting self-love. The recent loss of pop Queen, Whitney Houston, has further helped LeToya to discover her purpose. “Have you ever really listened to the words in ‘Greatest Love of All’? “, she asks, “that’s what it’s all about. When you discover that true love for yourself inside, things change…you have so much power to make things change”. And she should know. With all the odds stacked against her here she sits, smiling, loving, living and unbroken. In this moment she appears, as Princess Diana once said, to be a queen most importantly in the hearts and minds of the people unconcerned with the royal jewels and crowns that do nothing but give the appearance of grandeur.
LeToya is LeToya and as she’s shown relentlessly, she is enough.
Photos by: Stella Simona and Caleb Wilson
Assistant Photog: Maraya Quarry
Stylist: Seth Brundle
MUA: Aj Crimson
MUA Assistant: Brittney Garrison
Hair Stylist: Jazmayne Chatman
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