Inspiring Thursday: Princess Nokia

Destiny Nicole Frasqueri, better known with her stage name Princess Nokia, is a prolific singer and activist from New York born in 1992.

When interviewed, she likes to speak about where she grew up, that is between East Harlem and Lower East Side, in a queer and culturally diverse environment, and how she embraces her mixed descent. She is Native American, white and Puerto Rican and she draws from many different influences to create her music. Then it’s not confusing – rather fascinating – to notice how critics defined her music as a combination of apparent opposite genres: punk, hip hop, emo, rap, R’n’B. Despite the large number of fans, Princess Nokia fights for staying in the realm of alternative music, and that means for her refusing the logic of the mainstream industry. One of her first singles to be noticed (at that time under another pseudonym, Wavy Space) is titled “YAYA” and is sung partly in English and partly in Taino language. She shies away from any commercial move, giving always priority to staying her true self: a proof is her recent choice to publish two albums at the same time: “Everything is Beautiful” and “Everything Sucks”. The opposition of the titles reflects the different genres and personalities she inhabits in the two records.

Her unconventional choices are noticeable also in her music videos, where she has complete control over her aesthetics. The aim is portraying a community – the one she is part of – based on sisterhood, queerness and acceptance, without polishing it. Princess Nokia has many times claimed that she wants to be a an intellectual, besides a musician. For this reason, her work is not limited to making music, and she experiments other platforms to spread politically charged content. One of her most ambitious projects consists of her podcast called “Smart Girls Club”, that quickly evolved in a complex political project involving workshop and talks at universities about intersectional and urban feminism.

Her shows are all about empowering the female public, that is invited by Princess Nokia to be placed in the front:

“Men standing in the back – it’s what’s right. All the shows that you go to, men would just be in the front in droves, moshing and they have such a brotherhood – which is beautiful and very commendable and I respect it very much. But it’s like a thousand men with their sausages out and it’s a real testosterone fest. Girls are, like, quivering in the corners, holding on to their purses, and they deserve to hold so much more space than that. A Princess Nokia show is this place where girls can do that and take the space in the way that men and the brotherhood do.”

We are truly inspired by this artist and we cannot wait to to see, read and listen more from her!

Written by WAVE intern: Fabiola Adamo



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