When it comes to launching the careers of young artists, Jermaine Dupri's success rate is that of legend. Kriss Kross, Usher, and Bow Wow are just a few of the pre-adult acts who, under the tutelage of this year’s Global Spin Awards’ Breaking Barriers honoree, went on to be world-renowned superstars. Scooter Braun, manager to Kanye West and Justin Bieber, and the King of Crunk himself, Lil Jon also got it popping after working with the So So Def head honcho. So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that JD’s daughter Shaniah Mauldin has now her sights set high.
Forgoing the family business, the 19-year-old aspiring model and biochemistry student (who also appears on Growing Up Hip Hop) is eyeing her own path.
“It was definitely hard to know that I don’t have any type of passion towards joining the music industry or wanting to be involved in it in any type of way,” said Mauldin. “That’s the main reason I chose to do a fashion line, as well, because I feel like that’s my tie-in, in a way.” During a recent trip to New York City, Shaniah stopped by the REVOLT TV offices to discuss walking in New York Fashion Week for the first time, her legendary dad, and breaking barriers.
On connecting to fashion: Growing up in the hip-hop industry and with my father being who he is, fashion is just something that goes along with it. You go to shows and events, and have to look good.
On her K of Hearts clothing line: I decided to start with a children's line before going into an adult line because the line was initially started by my mother when I was young. So it was really just me taking it over, revamping it and making it my own. [And] taking over has definitely not been easy because her stuff was dope but, unfortunately, it didn't make it out to where it needed to be at the time. There's a lot of pressure, as well, because I don't want to let her down. Although we're partners, it's still moreso me being the lead and taking control of everything. I have to make sure that everything is on point, so that she doesn't have to say, 'You made my stuff look like a piece of trash.' It's definitely a lot of pressure, but I think I'm going in the right direction. It's going to be geared towards girls ages four to 14. I’m still in the beginning process of it. Hopefully a debut of that will be coming soon, so everybody can get to see it.
On pressure: I think the pressure comes from a bunch of different aspects. Not only my mom, but because [of] who my father is, the spotlight is always going to be there shining on me. If I put out something that looks bad, it’s going to fall back on him and fall back on my mom. People are going to be posting on social media, 'Why y’all let her do that?'
On New York Fashion Week: I walked in my first New York Fashion Week runway show for Bahmardi, and it was amazing. I’m still in shock. I really wanted somebody to pinch me because I didn’t think it was really happening, but it was a super amazing opportunity and I loved it.
On Growing Up Hip Hop : When I was approached with the opportunity to actually join the cast, it was one of those things where it was like, alright, I know the pros and cons of reality TV, but ultimately it’s a platform to showcase the things that I’m working on and bring light to anything that I’m doing.
On her father being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and receiving 2018’sGlobal Spin Awards’ Breaking Barriers honor: First of all, I want to say congratulations to my father for all of the awards, nominations and everything he’s gotten this year. It’s sad that now, all of the sudden, this recognition is coming about because I think that they should’ve happened a long time ago. But considering the type of music that’s being made—and [I'm] not dissing anybody's music, because it bumps—it’s just a different era. I think that now people are missing that old school music and real music, so to speak. And I think they are kind of realizing that he was the person that made a lot of those bops in the past. That’s kind of where all of this is coming from.
On her plans to break barriers: Aside from my clothing line and me being on the TV show, I am in college [at] the University of Miami. I’m a biochemistry major, I’m pre-med and I want to be a pediatrician. So with all of that, I plan on breaking plenty of barriers. I want to show young girls around the world not to just limit yourself on what you think you can do. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do anything. I’m living proof. I got a lot going on. I take hard classes, but I made all As and one B. You can do whatever you set your mind to as long as you are dedicated and motivated.