Exclusive Interview: Phor Chats on Music, ‘Cardio’ Single, and Mental Health within the Black Community

With the current COVID19 pandemic, our mental, physical, and emotional well-beings have been a roller coaster. From most loving the fact that they get to stay in and work from home most days but than other days the lack of physical interaction with their loved ones just flat out sucks. You can only do so many Zoom meetings, but they will never compare to being able to hug that other person.

It’s no surprise that we ned balance and we need to hear of stories and listen to interviews that are not all about the coronavirus. I recently interviewed Phor Brumfield, better known as simply Phor, from Black Ink Chicago. Throughout the interview we chatted on his latest single, “Cardio”, other business endeavors outside of tattooing, and why dealing with our mental health, especially within the Black community, is vital to our overall wellness.

Feel to either read below or listen above.

Phor: Hola!

Naomi K. Bonman: Hola! How are you?

Phor: I’m good, you know, in the house, quarantined.

Naomi K. Bonman: I hear that. Same over here (lol). Thank you for taking the time out of your day to speak with me.

Phor: No problem. No Big Deal.

Naomi K. Bonman: I know most probably are familiar with you, but for those who do not watch the show or TV and may just be newbies to our site, can you give them a brief background of who you are?

Phor: To those who don’t know who I am, my name is Phor. I’m from the Southside of Chicago, 87 to be exact. I do music, I do tattoos. I’m on a reality show and overall I’m just an artist.

Naomi K. Bonman: Speaking of music, you recently released your single, “Cardio”. What was the inspiration behind it?

Phor: Honestly, it started with em on the…well if you’re familiar with the Stairmaster at the gym, do you work out?

Naomi K. Bonman: Eh, somewhat, but not in the gym to be honest.

Phor: Okay, so it’s like a cardio machine where you lose a lot of weight and I was going through depression and I started working out in the gym a lot. I started to focus on losing weight and during the process it helped me more mentally than physically. I came up with the song on the Stairmaster. I was listening to the beat and it just stuck with me. I too the idea that I had to the studio and captured it. It pretty much just became apart of my lifestyle that I wanted to add into my music. It’s something that became really important in my life and now I do it every day.

The message of the song is to just stay active, you know what I mean; and to keep going. Even when you’re going through things, all you an do is keep going. Time heals all.

Naomi K. Bonman: That is true. I definitely agree, especially with everything that is going on now, we have to stay active. It’s key. Now that the single is released, are there plans for a full EP album?

Phor: Absolutely! I’m actually finishing up my album it’s called Self-Love and I’m planning on releasing drop in May.

Naomi K. Bonman: Oh, perfect! Right around the corner then! Last year, as most know, you dealt with depression and have overcome that. Within our community, mental health and mental illness is one of those things that we still do not talk about it. So what are some the signs that people should look for when they need to know that it is time to seek help and how can we have more open conversations about mental health within the Black community?

Phor: That’s actually a good question because that’s a question that I ask. I’ve done a lot of mental health panels and that’s what I’ve been trying to figure out. Like how can we create things like this without going to mental health panels and stuff like that. So I don’t really have the answer on that. What I’ve been doing is trying to become more of an advocate to it since a lot of people know what I’ve been through, so they just reach out to me for advice and I try to give them best the advice that I can.

Sometimes I don’t know the answer because even with myself, I don’t really consider myself getting over something. I just learn how to channel it. Sometimes you have to face your demons and that’s what I think I did. The first thing to recover is to admit. You have to speak up. That’s the first step.

Naomi K. Bonman: That’s true.

Phor: If you put into the Universe, something is going to come back.

Naomi K. Bonman: Right, exactly. With the whole COVID19 pandemic, a lot of reality stars have been doing interviews from their homes. So how has this journey been like for the Black Ink crew? Or are you guys on a hiatus right now?

Phor: It’s no different. Production had mailed us our own package for us to film from home, so we got the lights, the microphones and everything. We just been doing it from the house. It’s kind of cool because we’re just really chillin’ and there’s no real pressure like how when we’re on set when everyone is there together; we’re just kind of saying what we have to say and getting off. But it’s definitely putting a hold up on the entertaining part of the show because now we’re all quarantined and in the house, so all we can do right now is let people know that we’re still well and encourage other people to stay in their house during these times. It’s not the easiest but it’s what we have to deal with right now.

Naomi K. Bonman: I feel you. So besides the show and music, what else is in store for you in the future?

Phor: I’m actually looking into Real Estate and dog grooming spa.

Naomi K. Bonman: Oh, cool! So what inspired you to get into that?

Phor: I have a financial advisor, which is my cousin and he started making me see things different. The life I live is kind of a fast paced lifestyle. The kind of money I make is all fast, so sometimes you can just get comfortable with that lifestyle. So he has been showing me where and how to grow the money and to invest my money instead of just spending it on a lot of the stuff that I don’t need. I guess growing up and becoming smarter while learning something new and instead of working harder, working smarter.

Naomi K. Bonman: Right! So, what’s one unknown and fun fact that most probably do not know about Phor?

Phor: I used to skateboard. I was really into it. I thought I was the next Tony Hawk (laughs), skateboarding was my life (laughs).

Naomi K. Bonman: (laughs) What advice can you give to those who want to or are seeking in getting into reality TV or want to start their own show? Many want it but many are also not builded for it.

Phor: Me, Ryan, and Don, that was never really something that we were looking for; it just happened to fall in our lap. I was someone who never really cared for fame at all. I was more about my respect and my money, so that was cool. I never needed the extra attention. But I just adjusted and I would just tell everyone that this is king of easy now. Don’t worry about the network. We have YouTube, and with YouTube you can get the biggest views, the biggest following, and you can make the most money on it with being just you; verses a TV Show where they’re casting you and molding your worth when you can grow your own status online.

That’s actually something that I’m looking into trying to do now, just like doing something out of the norm that people already know me for and to give them something else, extra on top fo what they already see on TV.

That’s pretty much what I’ll tell people to encourage them. I do have a lot of chicks that hit me over the last year that say, “Put me on TV, Put me on TV, I’ll do this or I’ll do that”, and I have to let them know that it’s not like that.

Naomi K. Bonman: Right…

Phor: It’s not what you think it is. There are people willing to do whatever and it’s crazy because it’s like it’s just 15 minutes of fame, but just as fast it comes, it goes away just as fast.

Naomi K. Bonman: Very True! And is there anything else that you want to leave the readers with?

Phor: Go check out “Cardio“, it’s available on all platforms. Be looking for my album, Self Love, coming soon.

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Naomi K. Bonman is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University where she holds her Bachelors of Arts in Mass Media Arts with a concentration in Journalism. She also holds her Masters of Public Administration. She is the Founder and CEO of Awakened Media Enterprises, Inc. which owns Purposely Awakened. She has been in the media field since 2006 covering beats that range from social justice, community, entertainment, sports, fashion/beauty, and culture news.

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