When Bill Cosby stood trial for sexual assault earlier this year, Nicolle Rochelle the Paris, France based multi-faceted jazz singer who has drawn comparisons as the modern-day Josephine Baker wouldn’t sit idly by and let the public forget about the other victims Cosby had irreparably harmed. In conjuction with Femen (international women’s movement) Rochelle protested topless writing the names of Cosby’s accussers and the phrase “Women’s Lives Matter” across her body. While the incident garnered international attention ignorant people could easily dismiss the accomplished artist as another Instagram Thot, but nothing could be further from the truth. The talented artist is creating compelling work such as her Hip-hop fushion concert experience: Modern GEAIsha which according to Rochelle “is hip-hop music with a message which stands for Get Knowledge, Gain perspective, and Give Give Back. My album is both humanist and feminist in the pure sense” Check out the Q and A with this talented vocalist:
Ryan Glover: I know you were a child actress and appeared on a number of shows one of them being the Cosby Show( appearing in four episodes between 1990-1992) and I know previously Lisa Bonet had stated that Bill Cosby had “sinister energy” was that something you thought at the time?
Nicolle Rochelle: I had read that she said that and I did not feel that same vibe from him, but I wouldn’t say I knew him well enough to even perceive that per se, but the interactions I had with him I felt he was the kind of person everyone felt he was; the dad on TV who was funny and fun-loving and he actually gave me advice for my career to keep dancing and keep going. I thought he was the person everyone thought he was, this cool dad guy, which is part of the reason everyone felt betrayed at the end of the day!!
Ryan Glover: It has been talk of Bill Cosby being a rapist in the industry for years in the entertainment industry according to a number of statements made in interviews by celebrities. How long was it before you knew he was a predator?
Nicolle Rochelle: I don’t remember the first time I heard about the allegations but when I did the research later, it struck me more when it was about thirty women, but the fact of the matter, a lot of people don’t know this; these women we’re trying to come forward for years. It was no doubt in my mind because mathematically speaking that amount of women do not lie.
Ryan Glover: You have a song called “Hey, Hey, Hey” its a pretty vicious track and one line particularly stood out was you suggesting that Ennis Cosby was killed because of karma, is that something you believe?
Nicolle Rochelle: I believe in energy but no one can know why things happen in life. I just put it out there because he’s a sinister person but who knows why that happened. I think it’s good to think about your energy and what your putting out there. I just think its crazy what he did and would never admit what he did and constantly try and belittle the victims. A couple of the victims were even threatened by him, he said he would “erase them they wouldn’t exist”. Even in his own life when his own daughter reports being assaulted by Mike Tyson he supposedly went an spoke with Mike Tyson and told him “get therapy” as opposed to encouraging his daughter to come forward and prosecute him, another negative situation in his life. I think it begs to review and think about the type of energy he was putting out.
Ryan Glover: Were you happy with the reaction of your topless protest?
Nicolle Rochelle: It was organized with an activist group, not just by myself. You know the main point was solidarty with the victims and the bodies of the victims being disempowered, those victims felt the pain I was attempting to put out there in speaking for them visually. I spoke with some of the victims and they felt that and that was one of the main points of the protest and I’m happy with that. However, as far as America because in Europe its different with body perception it was very hard for people to think about the symbolic reason behind the protest and why I was topless. I had to be a “stripper” or “prostitute” and was really insulted, even suggestions that I was against black men, my country, or my race. Everything was negative toward me even as I was trying to identify and empower victims which was kind of crazy to me. It was no real solid reflection about why I was topless.
Ryan Glover: I watched your GEAisha live show online and was very impressed. You do an incredible live show can you tell me more about that?
Nicolle Rochelle: Thank you. What I really like about it is my partner (Phillip Schroter) from Austria who is a great musician that does beatboxing, he’s a singer, he’s a pianist, and also a loop station specialist which is pretty cool because he can create all the sounds by himself. He can create the trumpet with his mouth, bass, all the rhythms and we both like House music, hip-hop, and jazz. So we combine all that live with his vocals but we also want to involve other musicians as guests, as dancers, a show thats malleable, its gonna change. Eventually I want to invite a local artist to come jam with us on stage. So thats kind of the goal, the sharing of information, the kind of information I spoke about with the Cosby issue and I speak about within my music which is exploring everything around you and always questioning one more time, why is this the way it is right now? Why do you think the way you do? Who you are? Where are you coming from?
Ryan Glover: What’s next in your career?
Nicolle Rochelle: Going further with this music and the live show I spoke about. I wanna definitely connect with people, I would love to do a school tour, I’ve been speaking with some people to arrange that kind of thing; some companies about reaching people through hip-hop. Just getting out there and getting out there and getting the concert circuit going but connecting that with speaking to the people after or before the concert in a workshop type space to talk about these ideas I’m writing about within the album.