Mykki Blanco. Hip Hop Gender Bender.
When one thinks of Rap and Hip-Hop music, queer and trans identities are not the first thing that comes to mind. That is where Mykki Blanco, the new face of queer Hip Hop, comes in. Whether you enjoy Mykki Blanco’s music or not, one cannot deny the significance of his bravery in creating music as a proudly queer individual. Mykki Blanco makes no secret of his identity. He flaunts his identity in way that truly challenges what it means to be a rapper, and a ”tough” rapper at that. The juxtaposition of his tough, tatted, and hood demeanor with his flamboyant, queer, and sexual persona, can leave viewers feeling boggled. In his video “Wavvy”, Blanco starts of with a skit reminiscent of many Hip-Hop videos. He’s on an NYC block trying to buy drugs from his dealer, when a cop suddenly sees him and he has to make a run for it. A quick reference to his queer identity is made when the drug dealer makes fun of his “jeans being so tight, his d*ck may fall off”, however the video continues on without much thought and Blanco starts off relatively masculine looking, with a snapback and skinny jeans. At 2 minutes and 10 seconds, all of sudden Blanco appears in full-face makeup, donning a long haired wig and dominatrix looking attire. For most first-time viewers this initial moment is unexpected and shocking. Blanco proudly parades his sexuality and gender expression to us with no shame. He flaunts it, throws it in your face, and forces you to question him. The video then continues on going back and forth with scenes of him looking traditionally masculine and scenes of him in drag. This juxtaposition of identities that Blanco displays forces one to question what it means to be a Black, queer, and a rapper in the Hip-Hop community. One moment, Blanco is shirtless, showing off his tattoos, and displaying this tough “don’t eff with me” demeanor, the next moment he is fully made-up swaying his hips in a feminine manner. In some of his videos he never makes the switch, staying traditionally masculine throughout the entire video, or staying in drag the entire video.Mykki Blanco’s physical appearance alone is extremely monumental in displaying alternative identities in Hip-Hop and breaking stereotypes. Blanco’s activism goes far beyond that however. In June of this year he publicly revealed that he is HIV positive and he has also been very vocal in the wake of Black Lives Matter. Although he remains relatively indie, Blanco is one of the first trans and multi-gendered rappers to actually gain a great amount of success and acceptance within the Hip-Hop community.