Born and raised in the heart of St. Louis, Missouri, Naeemah McCowan began her pursuit of becoming a dancer aged 15. She began her technical training at Carr Lane Middle School and continued her training at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School where she received the dancer of the year award. Soon after high school, Naeemah was presented with the opportunity to tour with recording artist Amerie and work with her role model, choreographer Jamaica Craft. Pressing forward, she toured with Sesame Street Live playing the lead roles of Elmo, Zoe, and Abby. A few years later, Naeemah moved to Atlanta, GA and landed jobs with; Chris Brown, Missy Elliott, Ciara, Ludacris, Swiss Beatz, and many more. She quickly delved into film and appeared in the high impact dance movie Beat Street 2012 starring alongside Tommy Ford and Terry Vaughn, the Disney Movie Let It Shine and the Hollywood favorite, Pitch Perfect. Naeemah also assisted Jamaica Craft on the Lifetime TLC biopic movie.
IMC: What is your motivation and inspiration to stay consistent?
NM: Never thinking that I can be in the place that I am right now and that I have accomplished what I have accomplished. I am never really satisfied with myself in a sense, I am always happy but I am never self-satisfied, so I always set out for new goals for me to accomplish. That keeps me motivated, to see how far I can really go. I am motivated by my family and the people that support me. When I feel like I can’t do it, they believe in me more than I believed in myself. What keeps me motivated and inspired is the fact that I set out dreams and the fact that I am accomplishing them, it’s like what more can I accomplish. The fact that I have so many people that look up to me they motivate me. They keep me going because I am somebody’s mentor, I am somebody’s dream to accomplish, to help them and let them know they can take their dreams to the next level. People that believe in me keep me motivated.
IMC: Were people supportive when you first started dancing?
NM: I started dancing when I was about 15 years old. It started off as a regular after school activity. My grandma was really holy so she was not into me doing any of this and my family didn’t really understand that I was about to embark on a dream. Once they saw my dream start coming true, seeing me on the big stage, and going on tour with these artists, I received so much support. But at the beginning it was tough. It was not like a big thing to anyone. It blossomed into something so beautiful, now I get enormous support. My mom always supports me.
IMC: Does your hometown have a lot to do with your creativity as a dancer?
NM: Yes, tremendously. I was trained night and day, day and night, . It is a small community but we all stick together and support each other. My mentor, Anthony “Redd” Williams is also from my hometown. He put me under his wing.
IMC: Do you like being on stage and performing with the artists or appearing in movies more?
NM: In the now sense I rather be on stage, just because it takes so many hours on set. You can become very impatient. But I do love the movies.
IMC: What is the one tip you can offer a female wanting to carve a career as a dancer?
NM: Stay true to who you are. Any job that you do make sure it makes you feel good. Do not do something that will diminish your reputation. Also, find your own sense of style. Because individuality will set you apart from anyone you sit next to. Always be your own person and stick to your own morals. Do not let anyone make you commit to something just because they want you to.
IMC: What is next for you?
NM: I have a lot coming up. I have a group called Matte Blaq. It is a rap/singing duo group that I created. Music has always been my dream. As a kid I used to write down goals and being a rapper or singer has been one of the biggest dreams of mine. I am also in acting classes. I am focused on taking additional acting classes and teaching dance workshops to give back to my community.