Our "So Gone" Challenge Champion Is More Than Her Voice

Meet the lyricist who won Monica Brown's heart after performing her version of the "So Gone" challenge.
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Mikyla Marimon
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Meet the lyricist who won Monica Brown's heart after performing her version of the "So Gone" challenge.
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Nahla Ward may be petite, but her voice and the message she spreads are, in the most positive way, monstrous. The Connecticut native is a Temple University senior with a major in Spanish and Criminal Justice. Ward is also a new sister of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated starting in the Spring of 2016. Outside of academics and any extra curriculum activities, Nahla strives to share her God given talent- rapping and singing original pieces while also making covers of songs with her own little twist.

She has used social media as the gun to shoot her creativity into the world, and has been quite successful at it. Nahla is a lyricist who utilizes her word to uplift and encourage who ever is willing to listen. She began singing in pre-school, and as she grew she participated in her Church choir and took advantage of open mic nights. Presently, she often soulfully sings and raps about what it is to be a proud African American woman in hopes of inspiring others to be proud of where they come from. Listening to her perform a mixture of Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu came to mind. While her voice carried you to another world her lyrics kept your conscience in the one we live in.

A couple months ago Chance The Rapper rapped over the instrumentals to Monica Brown and Missy Elliot’s “So gone” in a video dedicated to his girlfriend which he posted on twitter. After that video went viral people around the world made it into a challenge, posting themselves on social media freestyling over the instrumentals. On August 19 Nahla Ward proceeded to post her version of the challenge on Instagram and blew up on the internet in a matter of a couple days. Today that video has almost 105,000 views on Instagram, 5,000 views on YouTube, and 580 retweets/840 likes when the Shade Room posted the video up on their twitter page. 

Many people used this challenge for fun, Nahla used it as a way to encourage young African American woman to embrace themselves as they are. From her opening line, “Back when I was a little kid thought my skin was too dark, they hated melanin”, she shares her vulnerability as a human being with her audience, making her stand out from the rest of those who participated in the challenge. Referring to her audience as “young queens” she continues to explain how women prevail from circumstances and that women who continue to work hard are all beautiful. There were many versions that were entertaining and well versed, but Nahla’s version snuck up on people and spoke to their soul. Living in the white washed society that we live in, her version was epic to many. Insecurities is a topic in which many people try to avoid, but Nahla poetically expressed one that many women on color might share in common.

After her video going viral, she was chosen, along side a male from California, to compete in the “So gone challenge” on the talk show The Real where Monica Brown came out as the guest judge. In this episode, which aired on September 12, Nahla got to preform and won the $500 prize. Monica Brown’s reason for choosing her as a winner was that Nahla spoke on the fact that people are always trying to change themselves to look like someone else when they should be proud that “we are all uniquely designed by God”.

This opportunity opened many doors for Nahla as a performer. She got to open up for Nick Cannon’s Wild’N Out tour at Temple University for their homecoming, was the keynote performer at the Naruralista Hair Show in Silver Spring, Maryland, and performed at The Timeless Gala in Waterbury, Connecticut. Her next big performance is on October 19, 2016 at Apollo Amateur Night in New York City. Nahlas’s thoughts- “I pray that my God-given gifts can be used to help someone. By sharing my story through my life experiences, the education I have learned and the wisdom I have required. I want to not only teach but also use my music to heal”. You can follow her on Instagram at @nahlabee and subscribe to her YouTube channel.