10 Questions:


Russell Dean Stone

Ryan Molnar

Olya Dyer


Oakland-based Ah Mer Ah Su aka Star Amerasu is living proof of the healing power of music. Her debut EP Rebecca is part bold declaration, part vulnerable confessional that marks Amerasu as a vital new voice not only in music but in the transgender community. Rebecca tells the story of Amerasu’s Alice-like dive down the rabbit hole of self-medicating as she attempts to process the death of a transgender friend to suicide. From its opening lines, “I pop my Klonopin in the morning / I pop my pills to keep me going / I think that I might have a problem / but I still ain’t hit rock bottom,” Amerasu takes her grief to the dance floor in search of solace.


1/ Your EP Rebecca processes your anguish at the death of a friend and documents your drug use to help cope with that, along with your already present anxiety. Was writing the EP a cathartic part of the grieving process? What would you say to other people self-medicating to deal with mental health issues?

When I started writing Rebecca I was going through a bunch of things in my life and my anxiety was really high. I was dealing with grief and I was dealing with loss and it was really cathartic for me to make the music as well as to be in the space that I was in and to not judge myself. I would say to other people that self-medicating is okay. The thing that I practice is this thing called harm reduction, which is doing things in a way where you are safe and you know your limits and you’re okay with using but you’re using in a way that makes it so that you know how you can keep yourself safe. What’s important is surviving. The biggest thing that I’ve been talking about with my therapist is partying away the pain. We can dance away our sorrows and I definitely do think it is a form of therapy. Moving your body to the beat, it’s something that’s so amazing and I love to do it.


2/ Are you an advocate for oversharing?

This current climate of social media and sharing everything is interesting. A lot of us have these carefully curated Instagrams and Facebooks and our posts are super curated. As an artist I share parts of myself through my music but there are parts of myself that I keep to myself. I know that there are people who benefit from me being open about the things that I’m going through and that they help them feel less alone. There are things that I don’t share with everyone but there are things that I definitely feel like I have to share because it’s too important to not give to the world.


“My humanity is a radical idea and a protest. Simply existing in a world that is built to destroy me is an act of defiance.”


3/ Do you feel vulnerable putting yourself out there as a publicly creative human being?

Something that I try to practice is radical vulnerability. It’s important for me as a transgender woman of color to share my experience with others and to be vulnerable. My humanity is a radical idea and a protest. Simply existing in a world that is built to destroy me is an act of defiance. I think about that all the time. The world is an unfair place. Girls like me are often killed or we’re hidden away or put into boxes and we’re told to stay out of sight and out of mind. Trans women of color are being killed across the globe and it’s really important that other people’s perceptions and attitudes of us don’t affect who we really are and that we can be ourselves. I’m a person, you are are a person, my blood bleeds red the same as yours, but my life is on the line much more often than yours is.


4/ What were you trying to get across with your track ‘Meg Ryan’?

When I wrote the song ‘Meg Ryan’ I was thinking of this fantasy world that I could live in and all the opportunities that I could have had if I were a white woman, even a white trans woman, they have so many more options and opportunities than black trans women. It’s meant to be tongue in cheek because I would never actually want to give up my melanin, my power, and my black magic to be a white woman. I would love to have the access that white womanhood gets, this access to wealth, this access to support, this access to all of the things that can make your life easier and that is something that white women have that a lot of other women do not.


5/ What’s life like in America right now and more specifically in Oakland? 

Living in Oakland in 2017 is interesting, we had this huge tragedy happen in December of 2016 which sort of started out this whole year with a huge grieving process because the Oakland Underground Music Scene lost 40 different people all at once
Living in Trump’s America is a hard hard thing but living in Trump’s America and also dealing with the loss of our friend was super hard for me. The beginning of this year was this really huge test of my resilience.


6/ Should girls run the world?

Trans girls should run the world. We are the girls who have been through all of this shit and we have all of this insight that a lot of people don’t have. Women are amazing and we deserve to be in charge of everything. Transwomen offer more support to each other in these ways that are emotional and we give each other Sisterhood which is something I think that is so important and uplifting and that is the world that I want to live in. Our sisterhood is what keeps me going.

“So many times we as a group are erased or we are put away and we fight back and we spring forward and keep going and we live our lives and I think that is amazing and that is fucking magical.”


7/ I read that you practice magic. What have you recently harnessed this energy for?

Magic is energy, energy is Magic. There’s intense energy everywhere and a lot of people don’t realize that they have so much power. You know energy can’t be created or destroyed and so it’s always here and it always will be here and it’s always malleable and it’s moving and it’s changing. My specific magic is this connection to my ancestry, this connection to the global condition of trans Womanhood and I think it’s magic that we can be so resilient, specifically black Trans women are so resilient. So many times we as a group are erased or we are put away and we fight back and we spring forward and keep going and we live our lives and I think that is amazing and that is fucking magical.


8/ What’s your take on the cultural presence of trans people right now? In the last year or two with Transparent, Laverne Cox in OITNB and Caitlin Jenner etc. it’s been a hot topic but has it had any impact on you as an artist or human being?

There’s a transgender elite. There are the mainstream trans people and then we have these sort of more indie trans women like myself, who are working and are doing all of these things but we aren’t getting the recognition that other folks are getting. Honestly Caitlyn Jenner can fuck off. We have enough visibility or enough presence. We deserve more. Transness is so other that it’s getting a trendy moment because it feels so otherworldly but I think if we lived in a world where trans people were a main part of everything then it wouldn’t feel like we needed to have representation, we would just be represented. There needs to be this larger trans woman presence in music, that’s essential.


9/ Do you worry that other things about you overshadow your artistry? That the conversation is that you’re a trans woman, rather than that you’re a musician?

The people that pay attention to me most are the LGBTQI community and that is why the headline is often ‘Trans artist is doing x y and z’. There is a sensationalisation of transness. I would love for the conversation to just be about my music and about me and about my process but I think for me personally my transit is inherent in everything that I do but it’s not necessarily the main through line which my music can be received. My music speaks to people who have struggled with their mental health, grief and surviving.


10/ Why Rebecca?

In the Bible Rebecca’s sin is that she chose one of her children over her other children to get her husband’s birthright. So my idea about that is that there are people who deserve the limelight and the attention but because their bodies are black and trans and queer they are not given all the opportunities that other people are. Around the same time that I was recording Rebecca, Beyoncé’s Lemonade came out. The line “Becky with the good hair” stood out to me. I thought it would be funny and telling to make my EP, which is about all of these things, combating white supremacy and call it the long form of Becky.



Rebecca can be streamed here:


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