CLAW & CO. RED COVERALLS AND HAT; AMERICAN APPAREL BANDEAU TOP; EBJ GALLERY GUCCI LINK CHOKER; NAME CHAIN, NOSE RING, AND EARRINGS, ARTIST’S OWN.
The Princess Diaries
A sporty winter wardrobe modeled by hip-hop powerhouse Princess Nokia
Photographed by Danielle St. Laurent // Interview by Eleonor Botoman
Styled by Marysol Ortiz // Makeup by Min Min Ma @ Honey artists // HAIR by Hikari Tezuka @ Honey artists
Rapper Princess Nokia (aka Destiny Frasqueri) is an unstoppable force on the New York City hip-hop scene. The 24-year-old’s latest mix-tape, 1992, is a nine-track explosion inspired by her childhood in Harlem and her Afro-Puerto Rican and Native American heritage. And when she’s not spitting sick rhymes, she’s running a radio show and leading workshops as part of the Smart Girl Club, an urban feminist arts collective she founded with her pal Milah Libin. A true DIY artist, Frasqueri releases all of her music directly onto her Soundcloud page, and directs all of her music videos. Whether she’s rapping about video games or casting spells with her fellow brujas, Frasqueri’s lyrics empower listeners as she flows through her verses with enviable tomboy cool. I sat down with the multitalented artist just days before she embarked on her European tour to talk about her safe spaces, witchcraft, and navigating New York City as a woman of color.
With Smart Girl Club, you create safe spaces for girls of color. Where do you find your own safe space?
My safe space is my art. When I hit the stage, I have a lot of fun being in the wholesome environment I’m creating. I’m constantly evolving. I’ve had to deal with a lot of depression and laziness and being a scumbag within myself. So being able to make an album is my safe space. So much spirituality goes into my projects, I know I’m being the best version of myself.
You were born in the ’90s in New York City. How have you navigated challenges like gentrification?
As a brown person, you understand how systematic oppression is put onto you from the moment you’re born. We understand that higher-up officials don’t believe that we deserve to live like they do. Growing up in an impoverished world made me a go-getter. Opportunities and resources are limited. As a young woman, I’ve had to be imaginative to be financially stable. The struggle has not stopped. I still live in it.
Your song “Brujas” is very spiritual. What inspired it?
I wanted to put some accuracy into the identity of an Afro-Caribbean witch. When people look at us, they either know how gifted we are and show us respect, or they think we’re fucking crazy. I love the fact that people are sometimes scared of me. I love that people misunderstand magic and think I’m this crazy African witch lady. Do you think I would really hex you? Anyone who is truly strong uses their powers for good. It’s a badass song.
You call yourself a “tomboy,” but you also have moments ?of femininity.
I identify with the Native American word for “two-spirited.” I’ve worked to understand the equilibrium of male and female spirits within myself. I welcome that male energy. I love it. I’m this modern mulatto kid. I take the genetic customs that come to me from my ancestors and I relate to them in a normalized way.
As a feminist rapper, how do you relate to the growing numbers of girls who are finding empowerment through your music?
It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever experienced. I want to be like Kathleen Hanna. I want to influence my generation to not give a fuck about the male gaze and to care about making themselves happy. I want women to understand that “feminist” is not a bad word. I want them to be aware of the need for equality, empowerment, and self-love. I want it to be a topic without eye rolling and I want it to be a topic amongst the black and brown community without confusion. I want to bring radical feminism into the bedrooms of young girls so they can know what feminism is. Bless God.
SUPREME STRIPED TOP; EBJ GALLERY GUCCI LINK CHOKER; NAME CHAIN, NOSE RING, AND EARRINGS, ARTIST’S OWN.
SSUR CAMOUFLAGE TOP; SUPREME UNDERWEAR; ?VINTAGE LEVI’S JEANS, NIKE SNEAKERS.
CLAW & CO. JACKET AND CAMOUFLAGE PANTS; SUPREME UNDERWEAR; NIKE SNEAKERS; EARRINGS, ARTIST’S OWN.
EBJ GALLERY NUGGET CHOKER; NAME CHAIN, NOSE RING, AND EARRINGS, ARTIST’S OWN.
AMERICAN APPAREL CROPPED TOP; SUPREME UNDERWEAR AND ATHLETIC PANTS; NIKE SNEAKERS; EBJ GALLERY GUCCI LINK CHOKER; NAME CHAIN, ARTIST’S OWN.
AMERICAN APPAREL TOP; VINTAGE LEVI’S JEANS; NIKE SNEAKERS; EBJ GALLERY NUGGET CHOKER; NAME CHAIN, NOSE RING, SOCKS, AND EARRINGS, ARTIST’S OWN.
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