Margurite Bushiri, known as Maggie or the Purple Queen is a Congolese-American rapper, singer/songwriter and Actress. While in High School Maggie found herself interested in dance and acting. After she graduated she made the decision to move to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career just a few weeks after turning 18. Now in her 20s, Maggie has been pursuing her education in television/film production and after she graduates, she plans to resume and focus on building her music career. She also shares with us although her passions are important she sought education with film production because she enjoys storytelling and that is a passion she wants to invest in as that is where she eventually sees herself in the future. Some of her proudest victories/achievements were releasing her EP and Swing your body because it is what introduced her to the world as a musician, and being able to work with the 2017 Emmys Awards and work as an intern with ABC where she worked for producers of How To Get Away With Murder. “I never thought I would ever work in the Emmy’s award and being in the awards and working as an intern with ABC and meeting Viola Davis and other actress. I never thought I would ever find myself in that environment. It was a very inspiring time. Being among the people and environment i want to be in, I already know what I will be in.”
Although she is in a different place now, Maggie shares with us her rough start in Hollywood. It started at home, where she found her aspirations misunderstood because of cultural barriers and the hollywood reputation. She had just graduated high school and barely 18 when she made the decision to move to Los Angeles without knowledge of anyone there or even a housing plan. Because of the opposition she had faced, she decided that she had to do it then or she would never have a chance. So she decided to leave her comfort and everything she knew, to pursue her aspirations. She shares that although she has never regretted leaving home, she does admit that she could have left in a strategically better way because she found herself later on in situations that she had to navigate without support from anyone. Thankfully, she was a girl with a dream, without a quitting a agenda.
Navigating the “Hollywood Reputation”
When asked about the hollywood reputation she shared that, where there is good, there is bad, and Hollywood is no exception. The negative Hollywood reputation exists because bad opportunities exist but you have to decide what reputation you want tagged to your name. Here she shares some of her struggles she experienced that when she arrived in Hollywood:
“I see everything God created to be good. If you see evil in something then it is time to bring light into it instead of running away from it. I am not going to lie and defend anything, and the truth is, yes, there is darkness in entertainment industry, especially with movies and acting, but it depends on the kind of person you are and how fast you want things to happen. And it depends on what you want to achieve. If you go into it because you want to have a lot of money but not a passion then you will get lost very quickly because there are opportunities that will give you what you are looking for. I was asked to audition for the Tupac movie but only on condition to show full nudity and I had to think about my reputation and dignity and I was like “nudity?” cause it was both front and back. I had to sit on it for awhile and I was like it was a lot of money and it was going to be on screen and a supporting role. I really wanted to take it but at the end of the day I turned it down. But it was tempting. You see the cash. So it really is up to the person and the respect that you have for yourself. I don’t regret not taking this opportunity but I talk about it to bring to light that there is a chance you will go in the wrong direction if that was not in your mindset because of opportunities you will be presented with. You have to watch yourself and know who you are. Identify yourself and self love. It will be challenging if you are not self-aware.
Maggie goes on to share that being self-aware saves you from involving yourself in business that builds no character for you. She shares that opportunities that make you question your standing ground always come when you are at your lowest, and self-awareness is a protective wall that serves you when nothing else is working correctly.
“At one of my lowest points I got a phone call from a big porn industry in Hollywood. And it is so weird that these calls came to me when I was down and struggling. At this time I was already on Instagram and I had pictures, and this guy called and said we saw your pictures and everything and believe you have the look. I thought it was an acting gig and I was okay, and so I asked and without even hesitation the guy said this is for porn. He said it straight out like it was not a big deal. And he told me that they could definitely make a star out of me. Told me you look young fresh and got that babyface, what do you say, do you want to come over and have a meeting and go over the contract? I was so shocked because at the time I had never even dated or even a first kiss. But just the way he was talking and the way he presented himself, he came off as very caring and a soft voice, he said all these supporting things just to get me to say yes. He was telling me all the things I needed to hear. But at the end I told him I don’t think I am interested in that and he was like are you sure cause you have my number if you change your mind. I hung up the phone, and right off I just got on my knees and started praying and told God whatever is happening this is not me. It was tempting because when you’re at your lowest and there’s money in front of you you really are at crossroads. So those are just some things that I had to pass on because they were not me nor represented what I wanted to be.”
Navigating the Music Industry
Maggie shares with us that being a female artist in the music industry is hard. Especially when you have certain standards and are not easily distracted by trends. She shares that for someone like her and her music sometimes it is hard to break into the industry because you refuse to downgrade yourself to what they want you to look and sound like. There’s many things you have to consider from the words you choose to use and the clothes you wear because at the end of the day, you still have family, you still belong to a culture that also calls for a certain standard of dress-code. There’s always a battle as Congolese, on how she should be or act, but she choose to be herself because that is when she puts her best efforts into her passions. She shares with us her outlook on the industry as a female artist in Hollywood:
Honestly, with my music aspirations, I sometimes struggle because you see other artists you started with being successful and of course there’s always a big reason because when you go to producers they start telling you that you need to change your lyrics and be more sexual and have a certain appearance to be able to market you. As a female you always have to work ten times harder. And some of these women are very sexualized in this industry but I like to make music that is fun and enjoyable. But then again if we are being honest, I have taken notice that people prefer the cussing out and degrading songs. I look at successful rappers and I do admire them but they’re all very sexualized, and their respect is always questioned and so I always ask myself do I want to go into that direction? But when I truly think about I remind myself that I don’t know what they did to get where they are so I am not doing it and that has caused me to musically struggle. But I am standing my ground and choose to make music that people can relate to, you know fun and love, just enjoyable songs. And I will dress and manage myself however I want. And I tried the “bad” look you know I changed how I dressed and all sorts of things but then I noticed that I was getting attention and then it hit me that they liked me just because of the way I am dressed. Not because of my talent but you like me because you can use just my image, sex me up just to sell stuff. When I noticed that I knew it was not right and someone needs to change that. And concerning how I dress now, it is the fact that I am growing so there are certain ways you can dress and people can be like okay she’s a grown up not a child anymore but there’s a whole another part where you can become oversexualized to the point where you’re not a person but you’re just a brand selling products and I’ve noticed that about the music industry. It is really sad but it happens, so you got to stick with you and at the end of the day I know who I am and the morals I stand by. If it is wrong for me than it is wrong for me”.
Overall, Maggie does not believe in giving up just because something has a reputation. If you want something, sometimes you have to walk through mud to get it but it doesn’t mean that you sit in the mudd and muddy yourself up. You can just walk right through, leave the mud there, and be on your destination.
“I am a woman that will push through no matter what if I have a dream and a passion about something. I don’t let obstacles come in between. I was blessed with a drive without fear. People get surprised when I tell them how old I was when I moved to California. When I look at it, I was not scared. I was not scared because I had a passion and I allowed it to push me. There is bad and good but I push till I see the other end. I will try and try and try and try again if it doesn’t work then I will say it doesn’t work but I’ll never sit down and never try.”
Message to young congolese girls and women:
I have a lot to say but my thing is to have courage in yourself. I feel as Congolese women we don’t have that encouragement and support from a young age and it breaks us down. Have the courage to be able to encourage yourself for your dreams and vision. Encourage and invest in yourself. I started when I was young by paying for my own acting classes. I remember I had to do down payment because I never had enough to pay in full but I was going to school, working at Mcdonald's and on the weekend go to acting classes. I was able to do this because I was able to encourage myself when no one was encouraging me. I feel like a lot for kids, if you are old enough to do it yourself then do it yourself. In America there’s a lot of opportunities where if you are 16, you don’t have to completely depend on your parents for money. If your parents say you can’t do it because of money, if you have a chance to work, work honestly for it, bring it to your parents and then ask if you can sign up since money is no longer an issue. I did it, and that’s where I began. You will see other kids who have support financially and emotionally but just have the courage to encourage yourself. When you depend on others, your dreams won’t be tended to. You have to do it.
Maggie has an inspirational story that we hope she will soon share with the world. She shares that being proud of being Congolese is something she has struggled with in the past as many others because you see how the women are mistreated here and in DR Congo, the rape and abuse, are sometimes too much to scream that you’re proud. But at the end she is proud of her roots, and she shares that she loves the Congolese music culture because it is never hidden and is freely introduced to children, and that is where her music for love came from so she has been trying lately to reconnect with that part of herself and embrace who she fully is. She currently has projects with fellow artists on the African continent.