August Alsina has been through a lot. From living with both a father and stepfather who were addicted to cocaine, a strained relationship with his mother, the death of his brother, health issues, an addiction of his own and this past Christmas the death of his sister, who died of cancer. Since then, Alsina has taken on the role and responsibility of raising his sister’s three nieces–whose father was killed before. In an interview with Thembi from The Shade Room, August Alsina spoke about grieving, pain and suffering, raising his nieces, his relationship with Jada Pinkett Smith and the King of R&B.
Why he said he was running away from music
I think that when you are an artist, that’s kind of all people see you as and you lose sight of the human that’s within this body and this soul. And there’s many emotions that come with it. We’re always like ‘If I just had money, if I just had this, I would be okay.’ And we don’t really realize it can be so traumatizing to go from absolutely nothing and then having a little something. And the weight of trying to figure out how to balance all of this new, added pressure into your life. And as far as happiness goes, I was having to make a decision. What’s important to me internally? Is it fame? Is it money? Is it family? And my happiness is more important to me than anything else in the world. I could be in a hut somewhere on a beach and I would be happy.
How are you? Mentally, physically, how are you?
After a long pause and through tears: I’m going through my process. I’m going through my journey and I’m not looking for any sympathy because I know that God has me, even when I feel that God doesn’t. But even when I’m talking to God in a rage and I can’t hear God responding to me, I’m in a space that I know that there are only certain things that you can learn about God through suffering. And while I’m suffering and while I’m watching my nieces suffer, who are my kids now, to hear them tell me, ‘I want my mother and I want my father’ and them seeing me as a person who can always fix something for them and this is a situation that I can’t. I can’t fix. But I just continue to walk by faith and not by what I see. Because people are dying and dropping like flies around me all the time. But God has still given me life and the life that I have, I want to pour that life into my nieces and pour that life into other people through simply loving them.
Pressures of being a guardian to his nieces
They call me Damy- it’s dad and mommy mixed together. And just the weight of that title alone—because I don’t have kids of my own. It makes me want to be what I know I need to be for them because I grew up with my father dead and having a strained relationship with my mother. To go through life without having a person you can run to, without having a certain type of foundation, so I’m saying all of that to say I am how I am. And I am how I am until I get to more of what I’m supposed to be.
His relationship with his mother
At this point in life, your mother is your mother. My mother gave me life, for that I’m always thankful and for that I’ll always love her. And that’s all I really all I can do is love her through whatever emotion I may feel. Whatever emotion she may feel. My mother pushed me through her body. That was my home for a long time. I lived inside of her. So there will always be a certain amount of love and respect that I have for my mother.
Addiction and whether recent struggles cause him to want to revert back to drug use
Of course it makes you want to numb and not feel the pain of what’s going on. But the beautiful thing about pain is that you’re goring through it and the only way out is the way through. You have to go through it. Because no matter what, the pain that you’re running from will always be there until you confront it. And there’s this thing about fear that we have. And it’s either fear everything and run or face everything and rise. It’s easy to not confront it. It’s easy. But the hard part is to face it. So of course, there are those thoughts. I can just pop a pill and I can just be out of this sh*t and I can be numb to it. But how can I be numb when you got three little girls who aren’t numb and they feel everything and they’re looking to you.
Whether he’ll adopt his nieces.
It’s really not about ownership for me, it’s about impact, the type of impact I have on their life. But I would adopt them in a second. No questions asked about it. Those are my kids, period. I’m what they have.
Does he want kids of his own
The joy that my nieces give me, I wouldn’t mind. But I think at this point in my life, my babies-they’re still kids. And that’s my focus. And maybe once they get older, I could possibly have a kid and know that [they’re] going to look out for my kid. I’m not in disagreement with having a child, it’s just about the circumstance being what it should be in order to bring more life into this world.
His relationship with Jada Pinkett Smith
Chuckles. Jada is a friend that everyone should have. She is one of the main reasons of my restoration in people and in humans and in women. She has played such a huge role in my life, in my recovery, in my willingness to do and be more and better of a man and a human for other people on this earth. And also, not just other people be better and more kind to myself. She is somebody that I believe should or could and would be the greatest part of someone’s life in friendship.
The rumors that they’re romantically linked or that the Smith’s adopted August.
I way too grown for that. But that’s fine. She’s definitely added to who I am. She’s one of my biggest fans and one of my biggest supporters. The whole family, they hold me down. They all hold me down. And I’m grateful to have come across people like those people. Just because of who they are internally. My good friend says, you can either get around kings and be a king or you can get around kings and become a servant.
How was he able to break his family pattern
I think when you are desperate and you suffer and you get so tired of suffering that you would do just about anything to get out of that space. I’m a person who feels everything, even stuff that’s not mine. I feel the pain of earth and the universe. In your gut and in your heart, you are just about willing to do anything to get that off of you, to get that energy out of you. Or to somehow be planted and grounded. I’m so thankful to God to get my feet planted and not be withering.
Who is the King of R&B?
Oh God. Here’s the deal, right? I don’t entertain foolishness and nothingness. And I say that with respect to everyone because God said that God has made us in it’s image. So we’re obviously all kings in some type of form, way or capacity. But I don’t indulge in that type of stuff because for me, it’s not about being a king. I don’t want to rule. I don’t want to be over anyone. For me, it’s about impact. I don’t need to rule anyone as a king because through impact, I can show you, you too are a king. You too are a Queen. So I don’t really indulge in that type of…because it’s a ego-ic space that doesn’t create room for growth. We all supposed to feel like, ‘Yeah n*gga I’m the m*therf*cking sh*t! You know that I do this sh*t.’ I don’t need to troll you online to tell you I’m the king of R&B because guess what, I’m so much more than R&B.
You can watch the full interview in the video below.