Okema Moore has conquered many of the things she set out to do in life. Beginning in entertainment on the famous children’s show, Sesame Street, Okema knew at an early age that she wanted to sing and act. Over the years she has opened for classic artists including Joe and SWV, sang backgrounds for Musiq Soul Child, and has been mentored by the likes of vocal coach to the stars Ankh Rah and Grammy winning writer/producer Carvin Haggins. Okema has also competed and won Apollo’s Amateur Night, performed at BB Kings, and cohosted the global webcast for New Year’s Eve in Times Square 2012, which was viewed by more than 24 Million people worldwide.
Born in Brooklyn, New York to a Guyanese father and Barbadian Mother, Okema is a first generation American who is very proud of her South American and Caribbean heritage. An entrepreneur at heart, Okema is also the owner and CEO of “MOORE Than Enuff Media” which serves as home base for her solo endeavors and business clientele, providing services such as content creation across platforms, brand development, writing/editing services, public speaking, media services and mentoring. Okema is also very passionate about philanthropy and community service.
GGR caught up with this multitalented businesswoman for a look into her life in front of, and behind the lens.
You have an interest background. Tell us a little about your family history.
My father is Guyanese-born and bred and for many years I thought I was too (lol), but I was born in Brooklyn. As a child I spent my early childhood between Guyana (South Ruimveldt, Georgetown), Brooklyn and traveling the Caribbean with my father. My mom’s family is Bajan and Southern and all of my paternal family is Guyanese dating back many generations. I consider myself a Guyanese-Bajan to honor both of my parents’ background, but I most closely identify with Guyana, as I spent so much time there growing up vs Barbados. However, I’ve visited Barbados a few times with my father.
Throw your dreams into space!
You’re definitely a “triple threat” singer/actress/producer. What made you pursue a career in entertainment?
It started as a child. I was often with my grandmother when I was younger and to keep me out of her hair and preoccupied on weekends, my mother enrolled me in acting, dance, music…anything to keep me busy. In 1985, I landed a role on a season of Sesame Street and from there I went on to join an all-girl group in Brooklyn called Cuties In Affect (C.I.A.). We toured with Black Expo opening for artists such as SWV, Joe and Intro. We also performed with the likes of Biggie and Tupac (on the same stage together in 1993 at Jack the Rapper).
We were later signed to a record deal (my first and last) and our deal was with Tamar Braxton’s husband, Vincent Herbert and Aaliyah’s Uncle (and Gladys Knight’s ex husband) Barry Hankerson. There were issues with the label and we got shelved. I went on to graduate high school and college then moved to the Philly Delaware area. There I learned a lot about singing and performance, as a solo artist as well as a background singer. I worked with Musiq Soul Child and did backgrounds on his second album. However I learned a lot of what to and not to do through many of those experiences. I’ve been blessed to learn, train, grow and build a very respected brand across several disciplines in entertainment and media. Now I have added writer, producer and director to the list.
What keeps you motivated? Initially my motivation was to be recognized and to do anything that was not inclusive of a cubicle or a standard nine to five. Nothing wrong with nine to five as I often fall back on office jobs when work is slow. But personally, it’s only tolerable for a while if the work or at least the environment is not creatively based. Now, my motivation is much less self-serving. I create to represent voices, perspectives and stories that deserve the shine.
“I have less interest in being famous, as I do in