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Posted under: Music Culture

Princess Nokia On Being Sexually Fluid And Making Music For Girls With The 'Delusional Confidence Of Barbra Streisand'

Nokia, who has made headlines for her rebellious persona, opens up in an interview with Blavity.

Princess Nokia's rarity doesn't solely lie in that she was able to create a smash hit about being an unabashed tomboy who can still take your man. The New York City rapper and activist, whose real name is Destiny Nicole Frasqueri, is a spiritual maven who likes to represent for the queer kids and other underdogs in her free time.

Nokia has made headlines for her rebellious persona, most notably when she threw a cup of hot soup at a racist yelling at a group of children on a New York City subway and punched a white boy for shouting "show me your tits" during one of her concert performances. That's "what you do when a white boy disrespects you."

So what better dynamic persona who happens to serve looks to tap for a dope project with Foot Locker than the 26-year-old stunner? Nokia, along with YFN Lucci star in sneaker company ASICS' new five-part anime series Welcome to the Dojo. Blavity sat down with Nokia to discuss her blinding confidence and why she's been a soldier long before the new video campaign. 

Blavity: Do you use fashion as activism?
Princess Nokia: I do. I think that when I was a kid, I always used forms of eccentric ways of dressing to be resistant to the opposition of judgment around me. And I was always really comfortable with being androgynous. I loved androgyny, and I was a self-identified queer child growing up. So by the age of 12, 13, I loved Annie Lennox, and Boy George, and David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, and I loved to wear ties very much. And I liked to wear ugly boxy trenchcoats. I didn't realize that I was dressing like a stud. I loved Annie Hall. I loved Miss Diane Keaton in Annie Hall. Those were just a lot of things that I've really liked, and I realized that that was not typical for where I come from. I was never intimidated. I was doing it for me and being a cocky kid and making people roll their eyes because they're going to roll their eyes anyway. 

You're a low-key philosopher. How did you become so confident?
I grew up with a person, and I say this very lightly, who wasn't nurturing to me at all. Statistically, I'm supposed to be very different; I'm not supposed to have this type of confidence. I'm supposed to be very broken from the abuse that I've endured. But I did not believe that. I did not believe those things that person told me; I just thought I was a fun kid. I thought I was a great kid, and I think my dad gave me that confidence. He was always a sweet guy; he always encouraged my funky way of dressing; he encouraged the bisexuality; he encouraged the skating. He told me, "There's nothing wrong with you. You're perfect the way God made you; you're special; you're unique." And I think that I had an example of a man who is a feminist and a supporter of the arts tell me it's OK. And I was like, "if my dad says it's okay, I'm okay."

Do you still identify as bisexual today?
I think I identify more sexually fluid because I think bisexuality may perhaps be limiting in terms of the logistics of how we use things now. I don't put a particular label on it. 

What is your goal with your music?

To constantly challenge me to be a better artist while simultaneously speaking my truth and my narrative. I can only talk about things I know. I don't know about no gangs s**t. I'm a bit of a nerd. So I write about things that I know, and I want it to be for awkward girls all around the world who have the delusional confidence of Barbra Streisand.

How are you a samurai?
I'm a woman of honor. That's what a samurai is. They are honorable soldiers, and I have been raised with those types of old-world values of honor, and trust, and value and nobility. So I carry myself with a lot of honor the way a samurai would, and I would kill myself the way a samurai would if I could no longer give myself to battle. It's a metaphor that you know when your time is up. It's a gracefulness; it's a poise. That's what a samurai is. 

Watch the trailer for Welcome to Dojo below: 

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Zahara is the Deputy Editor for Blavity.