When a 31-year-old poet sat down to reflect about her singleness, she had no idea just how many women – and men, to be exact – she would impact.
With close to 500,000 hits already on YouTube and over thousands of likes on Facebook, the word is quickly spreading about lyricist and spoken word poet Janette McGhee, better known as “MissTerious Janette…ikz” to most, through her latest piece entitled “I Will Wait for You.”
Speaking honestly about her own anxieties in regards to finding the perfect or not-so-perfect one, McGhee, a faithful believer, powerfully illuminated her struggles at the latest P4CM (Passion for Christ Movement) Lyricist Lounge.
What started off as a simple journal entry has escalated into a viral phenomenon, resonating with many who hold the same questions as her; questions like “is it ever going to happen? Is it even possible? What do I need to look for?”
McGhee treads into a rather sensitive subject for many and vulnerably lays out her desires for a God-honoring husband, saying that she will wait for him, while at the same time recognizing that if God were to call her to a life of singleness, her heart would be content with Jesus, “the greatest love story ever told.”
So what is it about McGhee that makes her unique from all the rest of the women (and men) who are similarly proclaiming the same message? Is it her unique diction or creative word play? Her relatability or strong faith? Or perhaps her honesty?
Though no one answer can attribute to her increasing popularity, one thing is clear – her authenticity is definitely not hurting.
In an interview with The Christian Post, McGhee gave readers a glimpse into her background and spoke of the inspiration behind her poetry.
Coming from a household of talent – her mother, a singer, dancer and poet and her father a musician – the arts seemed to be inherently passed down to her through her genes, which was how her stage name came to be: Janette…ikz, a pun on genetics.
Her grandmother and mother, whom she calls “solid soldiers in Christ,” from an early age instilled in her biblical principles, memorizing the Beatitudes and making sure she knew the Gospel message.
“It felt like a lot at the time, but it was necessary,” McGhee told CP. “I grew up in that home with that kind of foundation, where people did have prayers and Bible study. There wasn’t a day when I woke up and my grandma wasn’t already up in the Word.”
“She’s stronger than a lot of theologians I know and she knows the Word of God. I think those seeds were planted and I’m just praying that now they’re taking root.”
Though the women in her family showed a strong support system, she revealed that at an early age she was molested and physically and emotionally abused by her alcoholic father.
“Because of what happened to me so early, I needed the Word to sustain me. I genuinely believe I was saved from that time (eight years old). I really think my development came around that period.”
“I started to mature in Him and it was life experiences that pushed me to the next level in him. [God] really showed me He was very real. Before that, it was kind of like the thing we just did – go to church, Bible study, come home.”
Keeping her father’s abuse a secret until he passed away when she was 16, McGhee realized later the importance of being transparent and not internalizing everything, pretending things were okay.
When she speaks openly now of her past through her poetry or her songs, her grandmother and mother, though extremely angered and upset over the past, tell her that the Lord would never allow her to go through anything without a purpose.
“It’s your story,” are her mother’s words. “This is what the Lord brought you through. I know that the Lord is leading you.”
Now, the doors have opened wide for McGhee, traveling out of state and internationally as well to proclaim the truth of the Gospel and share her stories.
Her latest hit “I Will Wait for You” was birthed out of the pressure she was feeling to be in a relationship.
“It started as a journal entry and I was just talking to the Lord about how I trust you with my life, and how you have never failed me, how you are my first love. I knew the importance of not giving myself away … from a purity aspect.”
Desiring to remain a virgin until she was married, McGhee also realized that her heart, not just her body, had to be pure as well. She commits to waiting for a man whose heart is “tatted” with the Word of God while also faithfully preparing herself to be a Proverbs 31 woman.
“I did not write this piece with the intention of inspiring. I just wanted to be honest with where I was at. People know the truth when they hear it, when it’s dressed up and when it’s for real.”
Though many around her, who had read the piece prior to the performance, had told her to add this or that to make it stronger, she told CP that God said to her, “This is what I gave you. You don’t have to prove yourself. You’re displaying me. And you’re promoting who I am to my people.”
“It’s very easy to get caught up in doing the things of God and losing the relationship,” she shared. “I want to stay solid in growing in Him and put God on display from every corner of the earth.”
Asking what her long-term goals were McGhee stated, “to always be an inspiration, in whatever capacity that might be for me. I have goals, but they’re always not set because I want to be able to move where God wants me to go.”
“I want to continue to develop that ear and be obedient when He tells me to do something, not when I feel like at it. I don’t want to lose God in this process.”
With a busier and fuller schedule now, McGhee never dreamed that so many women and men would relate to her “I Will Wait for You” poem.
“It literally has blown my mind, and just to me highlights who God is … And I pray that God will take me to the masses and the places where people don’t want to go as well because in every situation the work is still the same – that people may come to Christ.”
McGhee is currently working on releasing a single off of her album, set to release later this year, entitled “Misfit,” which she hopes will inspire people to see the beauty in who God created them to be, however different they may look.
“God was very intentional in making everybody look different and not the same. It’s just an encouragement to be who God created you to be.”
Scheduled to speak next at a spoken word event called “Slam Sunday,” McGhee will be in Stockton, Calif., this weekend.
As to her current relationship status, she is still waiting, despite the recent surge of date requests from those who have heard her poem and subsequently confessed, “I’m who you’re looking for.”