Photo creds: China Williams
China Williams is a multimedia journalist representing the Inland Empire region of California that's an hour east of the city of angels. The Cal State San Bernandino alumna is the host of The China Show and co-host of the Inland Empire Radio show (I.E. Radio). She began her show in 2018 to provide artists with a platform where they could display their art while most importantly, showcasing their vibrant personalities. Her main objective is to make her guests feel welcomed and heard. She seeks out those with unique stories, giving her audience depth and fresh perspectives. The China Show featured guests far and wide such as Benny The Butcher, The Game, Alchemist, Suga Free, Blueface, Noa James, and many more recognizable faces on her YouTube channel. We here at TheMSQShop were fortunate to learn about her story to creating her own show and lessons she has learned along the way.
Jay: In your interview with PALM, you discussed your introduction to music journalism with the beginning involving the I.E. Radio show. Could you dive into how it formed your love for underground hip-hop journalism?
China: Yes! It was an honor. Shoutout to Nappy 2000. He hosted I.E. Radio and brought me on with Sean John Jack as a cohost. One thing about the scene here, the IE is an hour away from LA and a lot of people think it’s a whole other country. There are constant debates about the talent from both regions and I wanted to spotlight the IE because it has so much talent. We started throwing events with Brick To Ya Face called Cloud 9. We would showcase artists every month for a year and a half and wanted those creatives to be seen and heard.
Jay: What was the best no you have ever received and why?
China: The best no for me was when I was predicted to get this job at PBS right after I got out of college. I was supposed to be doing entertainment coverage of different city events. At the time, I didn’t know that I wanted to focus on covering music. I thought I was going to do news reporting. Life happens and I never got the position. But if I would’ve got it, I would’ve never taken my show seriously as I did and never started the platform.
Jay: You have a college background from Cal State San Bernardino in broadcast journalism. In your life, you were balancing a passion for nursing and being a weathergirl in the news. How different do you think your life would be if you were in nursing or being in the news?
China: It would have been a very boring life. I say that because I’m such an entrepreneur and I never knew that until I started my own business. I don’t like being on anyone else’s time schedule and don’t like the nine to five type of life where I can’t create things I want to or create things for other people and not myself. It would’ve been normal, which for some people there’s nothing wrong with that. Yet the personality I have where I’m like an alien, that’s not my life path.
Jay: What were some of the trials and tribulations in your journey as a multi-media journalist?
China: I have two examples: finding the right team and knowing my worth for my artistry to where I determine how much I should be getting paid for my artistry.
Photo creds: China Williams
Jay: Talk to me about OutDaHouse Productions. It’s located in Santa Ana, California and you work with them by covering weekly hip hop events. Most recently, they had a show on the 30th with Vel The Wonder and Chuuwee. How did that partnership begin and what are some lessons you’ve learned from that partnership?
China: Thanks to COVID, there were no shows going on. When the world started opening again, I knew OutDaHouse would be the first platform to throw consistent hip-hop shows with great artists. I hit up Droops to do a collaboration. It’s kind of like my regular China Show highlighting their events and I was able to interview a lot of legendary artists. I haven’t missed a show yet.
Jay: You have graced many large platforms like the BET Awards, The Happiness of Pursuit Festival, Once Upon A Time In LA festival and more. What other major events or platforms do you see yourself working with next?
China: I can’t say exactly what’s next but I can say this. It’s for this company where I’ll have access to covering any event I want to down to the red carpet, concerts, and festivals. If it’s anything big in California, expect to see the China Show there.
Jay: Can you name some albums that can describe your personality?
China: It’s a group called LOVE and their album Forever Changes. Many people don’t know this about me, but I like psychedelic rock and seventies music. I even like newer-aged indie rock music like The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys.
I’m a huge reggae fanatic thanks to my family. It’s my comfort music. For hip-hop, I love all ranges down to Nas, nineties hip-hop like Mos Def and Wu-Tang. I love a lot of stuff Griselda is putting out right now. Alchemist as a producer I really fucked with. Boldy James, Rome Streetz, Westside Gunn. All types of music. I’ll even listen to some classical music to wind down sometimes.
Jay: Can you describe your experiences of covering the Griselda crew and some favorite memories from those experiences?
China: It all began when my guy Chad who works with Conway somehow got him on my IG live show with me. This was shortly after La Maquina dropped at that time, so for him to come on my platform was absolutely dope. I met Benny The Butcher and got interviews with them. I try to go to their shows and the whole collective has been really dope.
I guess my favorite moment with them would always be when I run into Conway. Every time I run into Conway, he's always like "I should be The China Show ambassador" because I'm always trying to interview people. I appreciate all the love.
Jay: Who are some indie artists that you would want to shout out?
China: Noa James. He’s someone who has been a catalyst in my career. He and his girl Lesa has been so supportive with everything I’ve been doing with interviewing and the hosting scene. The second person is Cam Gnarly. He’s someone I have known in this space for a long time and always gives positive vibes and love. Nappy 2000 for being one of the best supporters ever and having me start on I.E. Radio. Sean John Jack is another person I have to give props to. I’ll say all the indie artists that came on my China Show IG Live series and sat down with me. Shout out all the indie artists in the I.E.
China Williams can be found on all social media @chinatokyojaapn
Written by: Jay Guevara @justinhisprime on all social media.