Dopecausewesaid interviewed Zangba for a Q&A feature on their website. They discussed Zangba’s experience settling in Queens after leaving Liberia, why it’s important to convey a positive message in his music, and how his award-nominated screenplay “Three Black Boys” came about.
At what age did you leave Liberia to come to the United States? And from what you remember, what were your first thoughts when settling in the Queens section of Jamaica?
Zangba Thomson: I left Bong Mines when I was 9-years-old. The plane ride was very long. When me and my sister arrived at JFK Airport in Queens, it was in the middle of February. And let me tell you, coming from a tropical climate, I was astonished when I got introduced to winter in America. To tell you the truth, I felt like a popsicle in a freezer. After that chillin’ experience, I felt relieved when we got to our warm studio apartment. The next day, my cousin Donna bought me my first slice of pizza, and I’ve been eating that ever since.
It took me a little while to get used to the slang, dress code, and the Jamaica-Queens’ way of life. But I had an advantage. Liberians and African-Americans are one in the same. So, I adapted well. And it helped that we lived across the street from the Coliseum Mall. I picked up fashion, and an urban-street mentality, from my brothers (Mike, Rob, and Shawn) in apartment 3D. A few years after that, I entered the underbelly of Southside Jamaica, Queens, a place where I was introduced to memorable characters who helped to shaped who I am today.
To read the full interview, please visit Dopecausewesaid.com.