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: