I first discovered Destiny Frasqueri, better known as Princess Nokia, in a seminar about intersectional feminism in the media. At the time, I didn’t know the part she would play in the undertaking of how I would process my own anger. Based on her reputation, people could probably easily assume that she’s the most unfeminine woman they’ve seen, but I beg to differ. She is the essence of what I strive to become; being unapologetically myself. She seems so confident in who she is, she knows what she wants and takes it. That’s why I’m so fond of her.
During the seminar, one of my peers presented her piece on Princess Nokia’s hit song, Tomboy, and described how it made her feel. She honed in on the raunchy lyrics, “With my little titties and my phat belly, I could take your man if you finna let me”, to show how unconventional she is, in terms of the usual societal views of women. After that class ended I forgot about her until I saw an ad on the Youtube video that I was watching. The ad was for “Billie” razors with their Project Body Hair campaign. This was the first advertisement for a razor that I had seen actual body hair in, not just already shaven women. It just makes no sense to show off the abilities of a razor on legs with no visible hair on them.
They used the song, “Tomboy”, and this was the first time I had ever heard it, aside from having the lyrics described to me. The bass of the beat was booming and the lyrics were so raunchy that it intrigued me and made me think about myself. She appeals to a certain feminist quality, the idea that women can and should do whatever they please. The beat that she uses is one that incites rage in me, makes me want to jump up and down, head bob, and join a mosh pit. The song is the embodiment of what society doesn’t want women to be, yet her rage inspired change when an up-and-coming company decided to go with such a progressive advertisement.
Princess Nokia is known to be a strong supporter of intersectional feminism, being that she grew up in East Harlem and experienced the struggles of minority women. She did one interview where she explained how she has to go out into the world and get what she wants because it’s not going to be handed to her, which may be the case if she was a man. I follow her on Instagram, where she posts pictures of her various cosplays along with videos of her visiting her grandmother in the projects, showering her with gifts, and twerking in the background while her grandmother reclines in the chair laughing at her.
She has over 674,000 Instagram followers, much lower than most female rappers, which seems to make her more relatable and intimate with her fans. Her posts don’t seem to be for show, they’re just her being herself as though she was a regular person. I think that because she isn’t so well known, she is able to create whatever makes her happy. She knows that she has a specific fanbase that will enjoy her music, and she’s not for everyone. Lots of people would find her too explicit, too loud, too “ghetto”, or too “woke”.
She’s gotten into a couple of altercations with people, which she shared details about on Twitter. She was at a charity concert in February of 2017, when she says a member of the audience was shouting obscenities at her, urging her to show him her breasts. She slapped and threw a drink at him and then told the crowd, “that’s what you do when a White boy disrespects you”. I’m sure this incident outraged many people but I’m sure that’s because it was unexpected, especially of a woman. Society never thinks about a woman actually fighting back against a harasser, surely they would never endanger their own safety in that manner. She has the qualities of Lena Dunham; many people hate her and what she stands for, but it seems like she’ll always be loved by someone, no matter what she does.
In mid-January 2019, Ariana Grande came out with her hit song, “7 Rings” and Princess Nokia promptly posted a video of her reacting to it, saying that it sounded very familiar to one of her songs. People quickly criticized her, saying that they didn’t even know about her before that moment, and how she was “clout chasing”. This was another instance, albeit not a very big one, of her expressing her anger and people being offended by it. In response to the criticism she apologized, something that is very unlike her. In a way it was like she was defeated, society was clapping back at her anger, not enjoying it.
Princess Nokia’s music is something I love to jam out to when I’m feeling down or just need some empowerment. Her raunchy lyrics, coupled with how forceful she is with them, somehow make me feel beautiful and strong. She processes her anger in a way much different from mine but is often met with the same reaction, “Why are you angry? You shouldn’t be angry!”. Her words bring inspiration and change, showing the world that women can be what they want and still be loved and listened to.