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Vermont rap — and the improbable journey of Burlington MC Omega Jade

Omega Jade has only been rapping in Vermont for the past five years. But quickly, she has taken on the spotlight with truth and humor.
Omega Jade
Omega Jade grew up in church choir in San Diego — far from destined to become one of the most unique voices in Vermont’s rap scene.

“Something was always telling me poetry is your purpose … I was just scared of it.”

Brave Little State is Vermont Public’s listener-driven journalism show. In each episode, we answer a question about Vermont that’s been asked — and voted on — by you, our audience. Today, Mae Nagusky answers a question from question-asker Jeremy Buente:

“Who are some current Vermont rappers? And what's it like to be a rapper in Vermont?”

To answer Jeremy’s question, Mae Nagusky learns about the rise of rap in Vermont, and dives deep into the life and music of one artist: Omega Jade.

This episode contains swearing and mentions of drug abuse and domestic violence. If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Domestic Violence hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or visit their website. Or, find substance abuse and mental health support here

P.S. Our show is made for the ear. We recommend pressing play on the audio posted here. Keep reading below for a full transcript of the episode. Transcripts are generated using a combination of robots and human transcribers. They may contain errors, so please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print. 


Introducing Omega Jade

Josh Crane: This is Brave Little State, I’m Josh Crane.

Mae Nagusky: And I’m Mae Nagusky.

Rajnii Eddins (freestyling): Let's give it up for the phenomena, extracurricular, comical, glorious never stopped the drama so, keep it kick it ribbit ribbit domino

Mae Nagusky: It’s a Friday evening in June inside a coffee shop in Burlington. I’m here for the “Black Artists Showcase.” And poet Rajnii Eddins is MC-ing the heck out of this event.

Rajnii Eddins (freestyling): Stop the blast await … killing them, anti-villain them  

Mae Nagusky: This is his intro for the person I came here to see.

Rajnii Eddins (freestyling): Drilling them, drilling them, drilling them, drilling them, drilling them. Give it up for sister Omega Jade!

Omega Jade: Oh my God, it really isn't that serious, but you should really intro me when I'm at a bigger venue. Yes. (laughter) Hi, I'm Omega Jade. 

Mae Nagusky: Omega. Jade.

Omega Jade: Let's start this off.

Mae Nagusky: Omega is a Burlington-based comedian and MC (MCs are basically rappers who work the crowd as well).

Omega Jade: Trigger warning: I cuss, so let's get this started… (fade down)

Mae Nagusky: Omega Jade lives and breathes Vermont rap. She makes her own music. She teaches spoken word and hip-hop at the Clemmons Family Farm in Charlotte. And she writes about Vermont rap music on her blog — the appropriately titled, “Omega Jade’s Cool Ass Blog.”

Omega’s been rapping for the past five years. She’s released an album and an EP under the Vermont-based hip-hop label, Equal Eyes Records. She’s also self-released an album, and a handful of singles, like “Real Recognizes Real,” which she performed stripped-down at the Black Artist Showcase I attended.

Omega Jade (rapping): I’d rather hear a harsh truth than a nice lie. Not capable of truth please walk on by. Too old for the bulls***. So what can I say, I’m that old school kid born in ‘78. Every lie you tell you gotta keep track of…

Mae Nagusky: Omega Jade is redefining what it means to be a successful artist. She’s in her 40s, has four kids. She’s lived in Vermont for decades, but grew up in San Diego, and she only started rapping in 2018. But in a short period of time, she’s become a raw voice in a small, tight-knit music scene. She brings something new. And important.

Omega Jade has released two albums, Wounded Healer and Yin & Yang — and one EP, Elevate: The Rise of Mama MC. She’s also released a handful of singles.
Omega Jade
Omega Jade has released two albums, Wounded Healer and Yin & Yang — and one EP, Elevate: The Rise of Mama MC. She’s also released a handful of singles.

Mae Nagusky: I asked one of Omega’s close collaborators to try and put her contribution into words.

Rico James: She's got a lot to talk about.

Mae Nagusky: Eric McEdward goes by Rico James. He’s been a producer in Vermont for the past 13 years.

Rico James: She has a small filter, and she's honest, and you know, that, that's what I want. And when I make art, and when I listen to art, when I see art, I don't want any phony kind of stuff. I want to, I want to feel that it's real. And she has that all the time.


Josh Crane: From Vermont Public, this is Brave Little State. Here on the show we answer questions about Vermont that have been asked, and voted on, by you, our audience. Today, a story that originates with the curiosity of Jeremy Buente of Evansville, Indiana.

Jeremy Buente: The last time I was up in New England, I was driving with my brother-in-law. And he had some Vermont rappers that he was listening to in the car. And I was like, I don't know anything about Vermont rappers at all. 

Josh Crane: So, he wrote to Brave Little State:

Jeremy Buente: Who are some current Vermont rappers? And what is it like to be a rapper in Vermont?

Josh Crane: To answer Jeremy’s question, Mae Nagusky learns about rap in Vermont and dives deep into the life and music of one artist: Omega Jade.

Omega Jade: I definitely believe in bringing truth to power. 

Josh Crane: Omega’s lived in Vermont for multiple decades now, but her evolution into a Vermont MC and rapper happened more recently. It started as a creative outlet and coping strategy.

Omega Jade: I was doing what my psychiatrist at Brattleboro Retreat told me to do: get on stage or you'll be back. I was just following the prescription.

Brave Little State is a proud member of the NPR Network. Welcome.

[commercial break]

Brave Little State question-asker Jeremy Buente smiles with Omega Jade — and his new Omega Jade album — at the Black Artists Showcase held at Kru Coffeehouse in June, 2023.
Mae Nagusky
Vermont Public
Brave Little State question-asker Jeremy Buente smiles with Omega Jade — and his newly acquired Omega Jade album — at the Black Artists Showcase held at Kru Coffeehouse in June, 2023.

The Vermont rap scene

Mae Nagusky: I guess just to start, maybe you could tell me who you are and what you do.

Ishmael Ahmed: (laughter) Who am I? You may call me Ishmael. To quote the Melville. 

Mae Nagusky: While I was attending the Black Artist Showcase, I caught up with spoken word artist Ishmael Ahmed. He grew up in Vermont, and he’s witnessed first-hand the state’s rap scene evolution since the ‘90s.

Ishmael Ahmed: The roots kind of run deep because even back in the '90s, there was the acid jazz, there was Belizbeha, there was Fattie B, there was A-Dog, and all that laid the groundwork for what we have now. 

Mae Nagusky: But the Vermont hip-hop scene has changed over the years.

Artists such as 99 Neighbors, Jarv and North Ave Jax are starting to reach the mainstream, going on tour outside of Vermont and reaching hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.

Rico James: Obviously, there's way more now. And there's a whole new class of young kids and a lot of different, like, variety right now, which is so cool. 

Mae Nagusky: Once again, music producer Rico James.

Rico James: And that's just going to fuel the next kids 10 years younger, that are like, ‘OK,’ and I feel like it's just getting bigger and bigger. It's definitely bigger than it ever has been, I think. 

Mae Nagusky: But, it's still relatively small. Because Vermont is small.

Love, Kelly: I think it's like a blessing and a curse how small it is. I remember me and Jax were shooting… (fade)

Mae Nagusky: This is Kelly Butts-Spirito. He goes by Love, Kelly. And he’s been making rap music videos in Vermont for the past four years, including one with Vermont rapper, North Ave Jax.

Love, Kelly: We were like, complaining about Vermont, we were like, ‘It’s so small, like, there's nothing going on, like, you know, we're trying to blow up like, what is it, what do we do?’ And he was like, ‘Yo,’ because he's like, been on world tours, like, he's a legend. So he was like, ‘Yo, honestly, there's a serious benefit to growing up in a place that's so small, because you can take over. And you can unite everyone on one thing.’  

Rico James: Vermont has a ton of small little venues. 

Mae Nagusky: Rico James.

Rico James: You know, even if there's 10 people there and they're all hot, they're all sweating, but they're in a circle like at the same wavelength. You see a cypher come together, you see people opening their minds and like, just sharing that is such a powerful thing that I hope everyone can find a version of that somewhere in something.

Music producer Eric McEdward, AKA Rico James, in studio with Brave Little State's Mae Nagusky.
Rico James
Music producer Eric McEdward, AKA Rico James, in studio with Brave Little State's Mae Nagusky.

Mae Nagusky: Rico said that there can be tension between Burlington rappers and rappers in other parts of the state.

Rico James: I feel like the southern Vermonters kind of hate on Burlington, because we probably get the bigger shows. And we're always trying to pull them to our shows. And we're not necessarily making trips down south all the time.

DJ Ron Stoppable: It's so many different, like, sectors, like groups of it. 

Mae Nagusky: Vermont’s DJ Ron Stoppable.

DJ Ron Stoppable: It'd be nice if it was all together, you know, but, you know, some people just do their own thing. Some collaborate with others, some don't. It needs to be more unified. 

Mae Nagusky: Kelly, the guy who makes rap videos, says the growth of the rap scene in Vermont is unprecedented. And hugely important.

Love, Kelly: We have these, like, artists that are big artists, hanging out at houses with artists that are like in high school here. And then being like, ‘Oh yeah, I've actually met that artist. I know, just what he's like.’ I think it changes the perspective of things feeling so impossible. I think when you're from a place like this, a lot of things feel impossible because you don't see success in the creative industry every day on a massive scale. Because, like, it's Vermont, you know. And so I think like, when you bring artists here who have had that, and who are like, you know, right next to superstars and stuff, you're like, I can do that. He's no different than me, you know. And I think that that's like a really important thing to realize when you're a young person.

Mae Nagusky: Rap has always been about expression and storytelling. And Kelly says that's part of why Vermont rap music is sometimes overlooked. Because some people think Vermont is this idyllic place where life is relatively easy.

Love, Kelly: Like any art, you know, it's like a reflection of your reality. I think people probably assume that because it's Vermont, it's like all, like, suburban and nice and like country, but it's not for a lot of people, you know, there's like real struggles in Burlington. There's a lot of hard things that people have experienced that they're sharing through their music. 

Rise of the ‘Mama MC’

Mae Nagusky: This holds true for Omega Jade. She’s been through a lot. And one of the ways she processes it all is to make music.  

Rico James: I think hip-hop and writing for her is very much like an expression of, of stuff she's gone through, stuff she's going through.

Mae Nagusky: Rico James.

Rico James: It's a therapy, this kind of stuff. And, you know, sometimes we'll make dark s***, but sometimes we'll make good stuff too, you know, but it's— yeah, it's all meaningful. And it's all from the heart.

Mae Nagusky: Omega’s lived in Vermont for 24 years, but her relationship with music started way back when she was a young kid in San Diego.

Omega Jade: We were in church for let's see, choir rehearsal, prayer meeting, Bible study, and then I was in the St. Stephen's gospel drill team. So we were in church, probably four or five days a week.

Mae Nagusky: When Omega was in elementary school, she went to a friend's house. And they turned on “Yo! MTV Raps”, MTV’s first hip-hop music show. And it blew her mind.

Omega Jade: I just was looking at them rocking the stage. And it was so different than what I was hearing. And I always liked to hear poetry in school. And I would always write it on my own. But then hearing it on “Yo! MTV Raps” to a beat. 

(music from “Yo! MTV Raps”)

Omega Jade: I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I need to do this,’ and so …

Mae Nagusky: She practically sprinted home with this new discovery.

Omega Jade: I was like, ‘Mom, I went to a friend's house, and I watched this thing called ‘Yo! MTV Raps.’ And it is awesome. And they put poetry to beats.’ And it was then that she was like, ‘Yeah, I wouldn't do that stuff. Don't do that hip-hop stuff it’s the devil.’ I was like. ‘OK. OK.’ So I abided for a little while.

Mae Nagusky: Omega abided by continuing to sing gospel songs with the church choir, and with her family. She says she would suggest adding in a rap verse from time to time, but they always shrugged it off. So, she didn’t pursue rap, at least at first.

Omega Jade: I thought my voice sounded funny. I would practice in front of people and just get unsure of myself and just stop. 


Mae Nagusky: When Omega was 21, she moved to Vermont with her partner at the time.

(Omega Jade’s “Create the Village:” Raised in a place where they don't support community so I bounced to find out a vibe that was true to me. Took me cross country to this place of VT. Away from everything I knew including family. Learned if you don't fit then make s*** on your own.)

Mae Nagusky: And even after arriving, she still struggled finding ways to express herself. And it was made harder by her mental health struggles.

Omega Jade: I didn't even know what a healthy coping strategy was. And so it was just a ticking time bomb.

Mae Nagusky: For years, she was diagnosed with bipolar, anxiety and depression disorder.

Omega Jade: I was getting on the wrong medication, constantly. 

Mae Nagusky: And then, after she turned 30, she was finally diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

Omega Jade: I had to realize that it stems from abandonment and trauma — you see rejection where there is none, everything is in black and white. There's a challenge with regulating yourself.

Mae Nagusky: It didn’t help that she was in an abusive relationship and went through a complicated divorce. Or that she didn’t have a stable job or home for a while, and experienced homelessness. Or that she got hit by a car and had to learn how to walk again, enduring multiple reconstructive surgeries.

Omega Jade: I don’t like when people ask me what is wrong with me because it wouldn't be the right question. It's more like ‘What isn't wrong with you?’ There's PTSD, BPD, OCD, LMNOP from doing LSD.

Mae Nagusky: Eventually, she sought out therapy and started to approach life a bit differently.

Omega Jade: I hit a rock bottom, and then the opportunity brings itself again. The psychiatrist actually said, ‘You need to do something on stage or you will be back.’ This was in 2015. And so it's like– something was always telling me ‘Poetry is your purpose. Being an artist, you know, with the power of words is your purpose.’ I was just scared of it. I was just scared of it.

But that's why I started doing this comedy.

(Omega Jade’s “G That I Am:” This ain’t no gangsta s***. Check it. I’m the Goddess MC mixed with comedy. So you cannot f*** with me. Annihilate you verbally. It’s now known universally. So you really are not hurting me. I’m sitting on the throne all alone with no king.)

Mae Nagusky: Comedy — not rap — was Omega’s first creative outlet. She used standup as a way to get over her stage fright. And eventually, in 2018, she created a show in Burlington called “Rhyme & Unreason,” where comedians tell jokes and rappers freestyle off of those jokes.

In 2018, Omega Jade created a show called "Rhyme & Unreason" where comedians tell jokes and rappers freestyle off of those jokes. This is the poster from the final one in 2021, which was held at Spruce Peak Arts in Stowe.
Omega Jade
In 2018, Omega Jade created a show called "Rhyme & Unreason" where comedians tell jokes and rappers freestyle off of those jokes. This is the poster from the final one in 2021, which was held at Spruce Peak Arts in Stowe.

Mae Nagusky: That seems to be a theme a little bit. Just gotta start laughing.

Omega Jade: Yes. Have to laugh to keep from crying. 

Mae Nagusky: Pretty soon after Omega’s first comedy show, her life changed again for the better. That’s when Rajnii — the MC who introduced her at the start of this episode — encouraged her to go up and perform in Burlington: but not to perform her standup comedy. He wanted her to rap, in public, in front of a bunch of other rappers.

Omega Jade: I got up there. I'm nervous as s***. I'm right next to Rajnii, almost holding his arm. And then they pass the mic to me. And I just blurted out as best I could. Keep in mind, I was the only woman MC during that time. I hurried up and got the h*** off stage (laughter) I really did — Wow, wow. I did it. It was great. I got, you know— everyone gave me daps, it was great, salutes.

Mae Nagusky: In attendance that night was Rico James, the music producer we heard from earlier. He was impressed by Omega, and saw potential for future collaboration.

Rico James: Totally, like, took over. And like, you know, neck vein popping out, like, passion from the jump. You could see it right away, like, ‘What the, what is she doing?’ So I think when you see that, when you're not expecting it, it's impactful, for sure. Especially when you're like, ‘I don't know who this is at all’ and that just, like, ‘You just crushed it up there. Like I want to know more. Where are you doing? What are you doing? Where are you from? What's going on? What’s your deal? We need to get that  passion onto some songs. Because you have s*** to say, obviously.’

Omega Jade: And we've been doing work with each other ever since then. 

Mae Nagusky: This free and full expression allowed her to finally speak her truth and mean it.

(Omega Jade’s “The Power of My Mantra:” I am the wounded healer wearing my heart on my sleeve. The revel in adversity, the Clarin that I won’t leave. The courageous mother brave enough to take on the state. The light work and heathen proving there’s more to me than hate. I am a talented artist who puts out a fine show. And believe it or not, I used to be considered a h**. But it ain’t about what I used to be. It’s about what I am now. I am the Goddess real enough to tell you what I’m about. I’m that Goddess MC working on my first LP. But please believe it will be the first of many. The conscious rapper opening the eyes of the masses…)

Omega Jade: It's like, life will tell you that that's exactly what you're supposed to do. But then you'll run from it. 

Mae Nagusky: The perception she had of herself split wide open, allowing her to start healing from her past.

Omega Jade: Because it was just my way to be OK. I need a stage. And so I did it more and more. And then finally someone offered me a show. 

Mae Nagusky: All of a sudden, rapping became less scary and more cathartic. She was reinventing herself through looking inward and rhyming outward.

Omega Jade: I didn't even see that being an end result. I just, I was doing what my psychiatrist at Brattleboro Retreat told me to do: ‘Get on stage or you'll be back.’ I was just following the prescription.

Mae Nagusky: Not every rapper writes about their personal traumas and tribulations. But Omega does.

Omega Jade: When it gets to be too much, I write. I will be guided to that in so many weird ways.

Mae Nagusky: And there are a few parts of her life she’s written about over and over again. That’s coming up, right after this.

[commercial break]

Never Too Late for Friendship


Mae Nagusky: The song you’re hearing is called “Never Too Late For Friendship.” It’s about her mom.

(Omega Jade’s “Never Too Late for Friendship:” She may have gave birth to me but never really raised me. That may have contributed to me becoming crazy. Her method of punishment bordered on abuse. Given to the system so my crazy let loose. Built up anger had me caught up in a rage so I had to heal by putting pen onto the page. I went from home to home feelin’ all alone, abandonment issues deep within my bones…)

Omega Jade: The fact was, she had mental health issues that she wasn't willing to see about. And it impacted how she treated us. And then it led into being more physical. And if it wasn't physical, she wasn't there.

Mae Nagusky: It all culminated when Omega was 10 years old, still a kid living in California. That’s when she voluntarily went into state custody.

Omega Jade: I just wanted this to stop. I didn’t think about the lasting effects. She begged for me to come back and said she would never do it again; at that point I was too scared. Most people would say that they did not like going into state custody. At first, I didn't mind, because I wasn't alone.

Mae Nagusky: After entering state custody at age 10, Omega’s mental health was at an all-time low. And the medication they put her on didn’t help.

Omega Jade: I was in there long enough for them to get I had a serious anger problem. And it was in the years of using medication to help them become docile, because that was easier. 

(Omega Jade’s “United States of Dope Men:” You know I have to come with that deep s***. Peep the message. U.S. of DM.)

Mae Nagusky: This song is called United States of Dope Men, inspired by her experience.

(“United States of Dope Men:” Check it. First I was a latchkey then I went to state custody. They couldn’t handle me so then they fed the drugs to me. Nothin’ really serious. Had my a** combed though until the age 11 when I had my first overdose. I was taking Thorazine before I was a teen. Is that wrecking my kidney, liver, or spleen? At 10 I was on Mellaril but I couldn’t identify the emotions that I’d feel. D*** it’s really real. At 13 it was Lithium. Wildin’ my mind, I was motha’ f***ing killing them. The sickest part about this, I had no choice. I was only a kid so I had no voice. In the hands of DCF with no options left, I became sedated all because the state had me fully medicated…)

Omega Jade: I was on medication from, oh wow. 10, 11 years old up until my mid-30s. That messes you up physiologically. You're only supposed to have that temporarily until you find the healthy coping strategy to live day to day. Otherwise, they're just creating drug addicts.

(“United States of Dope Men:” It’s only out of habit that they made a future addict. My feelings are I never really learned how to cope and busy depending on United States of Dope Men. You think that’s bad, check the crack epidemic…)

Omega Jade: I definitely believe in bringing truth to power. There is an empowering feeling with being real with yourself, even if it doesn't give you the best look. I'm almost 45 years old. I've been through a lot of life. Have I learned from it? I do my best to, and that's what I bring to my art. You're not going to hear me trying to say random stuff to get clout. I'm not a gun clapper. I'm not a twerker, the times I've tried it looked like my back was dry heaving, I'm not doing it. (laughter) I just, I want to bring a real message, and give people something to think about. 

War Cry


Mae Nagusky: Another topic Omega likes to rap about is what it’s like to be a woman in this industry. This is a track called “War Cry.”

(Omega Jade’s “War Cry:” The queens have come together with a war cry. Done being quiet, it’s rebel or die. You see this s*** in the news so don’t ask why. I’m ‘bout to stop rewarding men for their lies. They call it history because they never believe her because in a man's world the female's words are cursed.)

Mae Nagusky: Maybe you’ve heard of rap legends Sha-Rock, Rapsody, MC Lyte and Jean Grae. Or maybe you haven’t. So many women MC’s throughout history lack the credit they deserve, even though they’ve helped hip-hop become what it is now.

Omega Jade: It feels like you got to do 10 times more just to be noticed for one thing. If you're a woman who is a rapper, it's hard because if you're feminine they find something to say, if you're not feminine, they find something to say. You dress up, they find something to say, you don't dress up, they find something to say. You twerk, they find something to say, you don't twerk, they find something to say. You have straight eyes, they got something to say, you don't have straight eyes, they got something to say. Anything a woman does in any kind of profession — specifically MC — it's second guessed, it's scrutinized. 

(“War Cry:” …really is insulting. Uniting of the women with the intent of revolting against the patriarchy, cries, synchronized with the rhythm of our heartbeat. I’m more than the women whom you’ll hear roar. I’m the Goddess of the light, armed with the words of war…)

Omega Jade: Being a woman is hard. Being a woman who is Black is double hard. Being a woman who is Black and bisexual… s***!


At the park

(Omega Jade and her children playing at a park, laughter)

Mae Nagusky: A few weeks ago, I met up with Omega at a park near her house in Burlington.

(Omega Jade and her children)

Mae Nagusky: We were accompanied by her 11-year-old son, Tyler …

Tyler: My name’s Scutt Bucket.

Mae Nagusky: And her 8-year-old twins. There’s Annastasia aka Lil’ Diva. And Annamaria aka Lil’ Mama.

Annamaria: Because I be telling people off and I’ll tell you off, too!

Mae Nagusky: And they let me push them on this merry-go-round thing.

(talking, shouting)

Omega Jade hangs with her daughter Annastasia (middle) and her son, Tyler (right) at Pomeroy Park in Burlington in June, 2023.
Mae Nagusky
Vermont Public
Omega Jade hangs with her daughter Annastasia (middle) and her son, Tyler (right) at Pomeroy Park in Burlington in June, 2023.

(Omega Jade’s “MommiEbonics:” I love my kids but they’re get on my nerves. Some of their shenanigans are so absurd. So I get on this track just to say these words. Shout out to all the mommies of this world. Early in the morning twin one is the alarm clock. So full of love but loud enough to make your heart stop. It’s the trio in me, savage mama MC. Coming with the gift of gab they took on honestly. But enough about their smart mouth, we know where they got that. In their rebellious nature, I proudly support that. As long as they bring knowledge like my oldest whose in college. And prophets say she has a way with words like her mama…)

Mae Nagusky: Omega hasn’t always had custody of her kids; she was worried about perpetuating her own trauma, and spreading that to them. But that changed in 2019 when her younger kids’ father died in a car accident.

(Omega Jade’s “Path Of..:” Yes it’s for mental health but I call it self care. Can’t be there for them if my mind ain’t there. Proud of myself, I’ve come such a long way, passing on my blessings to my children each day…)

Omega Jade: I got my kids back and I don't have as much time. So, yes, I am a rapper. I am a Black woman who is a rapper. I'm a mother first.

Mae Nagusky: For Omega, part of being a mom means thinking a lot about her own mom and the way that she was raised.

(“Never Too Late for Friendship:” Abandonment issues deep within my bones. To be a better mother, I must forgive you first. On a spiritual level, that’s the only way it works. I write these versions to break generational curses…)

Omega Jade: I finally was able to take a walk, walk a mile in her shoes, I guess, so to speak. And I get it, it's hard. And it's– you have to find those support systems and those resources so it doesn't feel so lonely.

(“Never Too Late for Friendship:” Just wish I was at the point where I didn’t blame you, though. At an intellectual standpoint I know you weren’t in your right mind but I paid the price heavy when I lost mine more times. Do you ever think of how this affects me with my kids? Trying to heal now before having my first grandkid. Help me to heal the generations of hurt. Before my own kids flippin go berserk…)

Omega Jade: I cried when I wrote some of that song. Just because I still held on to a lot of that. I don't mean to, but I do compare myself at times — my mothering to hers. And one biggest thing I have is no matter how hard it is, my kids deserve the truth. Simply because I know how it feels to not have that most of your life.

Annamaria: Mom, look.

Omega Jade: Ooh, yes, you braiding it. Go ahead. Yes, yes. And so I always want them to feel like their dreams matter. 

Annamaria (whispering): Our dreams do matter.

Omega Jade: They have a right to feel empowered. Those times when they come and give me hugs and, and we cuddle and watch movies and have snacks– It makes all the tough times worth it, I guess. 

Omega Jade: We are going to get going soon. OK.

Annamaria: Love you, mom. 

Omega Jade: I love you too. 

(Omega Jade’s “The Power of My Mantra”)



Thanks for listening, and to Jeremy Buente for the great question. This episode was reported by Mae Nagusky, who also did the mix and sound design. Editing and production by Josh Crane. Additional support from Myra Flynn and Sophie Stephens. Angela Evancie is our executive producer. Music today from Rico James, and the one and only Omega Jade.

Special thanks to Mary Engisch, Joia Putnoi, Hannah Braun, Amelia Catanzaro, Matthew Fisher, Janvier Nsengiyumva, Nadia Frazier, Amina Rhoads and Luke Gauthier of Equal Eyes Records.

As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it:

Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public and a proud member of the NPR Network.

Mae Nagusky was an Intern with Brave Little State from 2022 to 2023.
Josh Crane is part of Vermont Public's Engagement Journalism team. He's the senior producer and managing editor for Brave Little State, a podcast based on questions about Vermont that have been asked and voted on by the audience, and runs Vermont Public's Sonic ID project.
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