Niatia Jessica Kirkland (born October 4, 1989), better known by her stage name Lil Mama, is an American hip hop recording artist from Brooklyn, New York City, New York. A rapper, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, spokesperson, dancer and actress, Lil Mama was also a talent show judge for seven seasons on America's Best Dance Crew. She experienced Billboard placement with the release of her debut album, VYP (Voice of the Young People), which spawned the hit single "Lip Gloss". She was also cast for the role of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, in the VH1 biographical film CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, which aired in October 2013.
Life and career:
1989-2005: Early life:
Lil Mama was born Niatia Jessica Kirkland in Harlem, in 1989. She was raised in Brooklyn, New York where she attended Edward R. Murrow High School. Kirkland is the third child and eldest daughter of eight kids. Being the eldest daughter of eight, she acquired her nickname "lil mama". Kirkland faced personal and financial struggles at an early age. As one of eight brothers and sisters, she started to express herself artistically through poetry and dance. Her mother Tara, died on December 15, 2007 following a four-year battle with colon cancer.
2006-08: Career beginnings and VYP (Voice of the Young People):
In 2006, Kirkland signed a recording contract with Jive Records. In 2007, she was featured in Dr. Luke's remix of Avril Lavigne's song, "Girlfriend". Her first studio album VYP (Voice of the Young People) was released in late April 2008. The album spawned four singles: "Lip Gloss", "G-Slide (Tour Bus)", "Shawty Get Loose" and "What It Is (Strike a Pose)". The album sold 19,000 copies in the first week, debuting at number 25 on the Billboard 200. Lil Mama served as a judge on the competitive dance contest television series America's Best Dance Crew. She joined the judges's circle in 2008 at the age of nineteen.
Since the release of her first album, Lil Mama has been in the studio working on new music. She released the singles "Dough Boy" featuring Mishon, "On & On & On", and "NYNYLALA" featuring Snoop Dogg. She has since released two singles entitled "Scrawberry" and "Hustler Girl" featuring Clyde McKnight. In 2009 she announced the title of her proposed new album as Voice Of The Young People: I Am That, although this has not been released.
On October 7, 2012 RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding J Records along with Arista Records and Jive Records. With the shutdown, Lil Mama (and all other artists previously signed to these three labels) will release her future material on the RCA Records brand.Voice Of The Young People: I Am That will have guest appearances including Soulja Boy, Khalil, Angel Haze, LoLa Monroe, Teyana Taylor, Trina, Keke Palmer, Nas, Chris Brown among others.
At the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Lil Mama came onstage while Jay-Z and Alicia Keys performed "Empire State of Mind". While Jay-Z was ending his final verse, Lil Mama left her seat in the audience, got onto the stage, and started bobbing her head to the beat. Jay-Z was surprised but continued to perform. Right before this moment, Beyonce had even tried to hold her from going up. Jay-Z patted Lil Mama on the leg to fall back, jokingly telling her, "you T-Paining now," a reference to a similar incident two months earlier when T-Pain jumped onstage with Jay-Z at Summer Jam during his performance of "D.O.A.". At the end of the performance, Lil Mama came to foreground and posed alongside Jay-Z and Keys. She later clarified that she "would never ... try to disrespect Jay-Z or take a moment that someone has created it and try to relive it. I'm too original for that and I respect him too much for that."
In October 2009, she also appeared in cycle 13 of America's Next Top Model. with Benny Ninja.
Lil Mama starred as Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in the VH1 TLC biographical film CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, which aired on October 21, 2013, alongside Keke Palmer and Drew Sidora, who played Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas and Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, respectively.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license