By Alexis Wray
Imagine you’re 12 years old, and your mom is a part of a Grammy-nominated rap group. They just wrapped rehearsals after a long day and you’re feeling bold and adventurous, so you jump on stage for your five minutes of fame. Little did you know, you would soon be sharing a spotlight with her.
O.N.E The Duo, a Black mother and daughter country and Americana music group formed last year after Prana Supreme Diggs, the daughter of Wu-Tang Clan’s producer RZA, and Tekitha Washington the Wu-Tang’s female vocalist, convinced her mother that they should make music together.
“Even before I could talk, music was the earliest form of communication between my mom and I. Music is the backdrop to many of our memories and has allowed us to see the world together,” Prana told Reckon.
Their name, O.N.E The Duo reflects what each of them brings to their sound and how their personalities influence the music: O is observant, N is noetic, and E is effervescent.
Tekitha has always found opportunities to include music within Prana’s life. Watching Prana learn lullabies, melodies and harmonizing are some of Tekitha’s favorite memories.
“When she was two or three years old, I made up a song I would sing to her at any given moment. Before long, she would sing along with me and it became one of the first songs that she learned how to harmonize,” Tekitha said.
There once was a girl named Prana, her Mommy was the Queen. She dreamt of the things she wanted and she got everything. All the love. All the joy. Everything and more. There once was a girl named Prana, the princess was adored.
Now the group has laid roots in Nashville, TN, finding their inspiration in the Southern twang of pedal steel guitars, banjos and fiddles. While they incorporate rock n’ roll and still find value in the genres like hip hop and R&B that Tekitha built her career on, the mother-daughter duo sought to create their own style with sounds that felt authentic to their personalities.
O.N.E The Duo also acknowledges that stepping into the country music scene has its challenges, but their purpose is to spread love and compassion.
“Gracefully navigating narrow-mindedness can be quite challenging. When people feel fearful or threatened, a general response will be defensiveness. And in some cases outright hatred for something they don’t want or care to understand,” Tekitha tells Reckon.
For far too long, country music has been labeled as a white genre. Music scholars and critics have begun a renewed focus on the early influences of Black Southerners on the emergence of country music in the South. Today artists, like Brittney Spencer and Joy Oladokun are examples of the diversity that exists within the country music genre.
Prana expresses that O.N.E The Duo tries not to be reduced to the ‘novelty’ of being Black women doing country music and that they see Black country music artists like Charley Pride and Linda Martell as a few legends who have paved the way.
“Also to state simply, representation matters. There are many talented Black artists of all ages who love country music. They have valuable stories to tell that can unify a divided people from all walks of life,” said Tekitha.
Music has often been a way to bring people together or inspire them. As Prana has watched her mother’s music career throughout the year’s inspiration and a strong sense of self are only a few of the many things Prana has taken from her mother’s journey.
“My mom has shown me how vulnerability, especially within music, can heal people because it helps them feel less alone in their experiences. There is strength in vulnerability.”
This article was first posted in Reckon