Letter from my future self

Here is my latest piece on Rose Water Mag….. writings from the future

Rose Water Magazine

I am a femmeboi of great routine, my daily practices include meditation and breathing, altar building, morning affirmations, an active practice with the moon, and other more personal and intuitive practices. As part of my self-care ritual, I write letters from my future self. These letters are written during points of uncertainty, stress and transition. This practice allows me to be reflective in a way that creates distance from current stresses through the projection of time. As someone whose history of trauma and depression often lead to feelings of suicide or self-harm, this act of writing from the future (the vision of looking back) is what gives me hope and allows me to stay tethered to the present. Even though this is purely a speculative act, it has given me a means to process anxieties and work towards manifesting the future I’ve created.

This is a strategy and tool that are…

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Summer Sol

this is a disclaimer…Folk who kno me, kno I’m always runnin’ late, always a lil behind, get hit with the most brilliant creative energy or idea a few hours before a deadline….I am always a lil out of time.

My intention had been to use the energy of the solstice to infuse my mix with all the feels I have about summer, however, this has been like most weeks, busy. Monday, Rhythm Science held down workshops at the Louisville Urban League, teaching youth to deejay, followed by our regular Monday workshops at our offices in Smoketown. Wednesday, I had the honor of deejaying an event celebrating the 200th episode of some of my favorite media producers. And in all the spaces in between I’ve been raging and grieving, rippin’ & runnin’, steady hustlin’ like we always do. But today, I was able to dedicate the necessary space/time to sit with the sounds, vibes and flows that are indistinguishably linked to summer for me.

Summer in the south gives me so many feels. Its vibrant, youthful and innocent. Its growin gardens, sprinklers & drinkin’ from water hoses. Summer dresses, popsicles & mangonadas.  Fans to keep cool and watchin’ basketball tournaments in the park. Its chillin’ and grillin’, joy and laughter thats a lil too loud. Its the heat that radiates from the street, the oppression that makes it hard to sleep, & feet that stay breakin’ the concrete. Long days and late nights, sometimes in unfamiliar places. LLCEC and lak’ech lessons. Its trauma, holdin’ space & each other. Its the stickiness & sweat reminding you the politics of the twerk are decolonial body work, its humidity contours your spine as you dutty & wine. Its pineapple blunts, the end of house parties, and RiRi’s sex with me…..on repeat

The new moon in Cancer influenced the end of the mix, I’m workin’ on cultivating a healthy I-don’t-give-a-fuck vibe, its a refusal of all the bs I experience on the daily. I no longer have patience or energy for fuckbois, and by this, I don’t mean energy for specific ppl (although sometimes this is true). For me the fuckboi/fuccboii represents all the vileness of our social conditions, the white settler cishet capitalist patriarchy…..toxic masculinity that uses violence, manipulation and coercion to vamp off femme energy……summer got me sayin, ‘the rent is too damn high, and you best pay what you owe”

in reflecting back on my mix, I should have ridden the transition between the spottieottiedopaliscious remix and thunder thighs a bit longer…..

in love & rage,

Scz

 

 

 

a few tracks that didn’t make the mix, but def have that summertime vibe:

 

New Moon::: Who Dis::: Sonic Communique

 

As part of my new moon ritual I put together this mix. The elements I build off of for this sonic curation focuse on the very raw and real emotions that Venus squarin’ w/ Pluto on 5.25.17 brought up for me, & how these energies interacted with the new moon in Gemini.

This week has given me the space to think about how I deal with pain & emotions, and how to channel them into productivity and creative expressions instead of allowin’ them to stifle my ability to communicate. As a Libra/Leo Rising this week has asked me to reflect on my relationships & partnership, understanding the limits, boundaries and contexts for each of these partnerships and is pushing me to have the courage & commitment to ask for what I need. Because of some transitions coming into my life in the near future, I am focusin’ on building up the emotional/mental & physical stamina I’m going to need in order to achieve some of the goals I’m setting up for myself for the next 6 months of so.

This mix mostly of R & B, Neo/Soul, jazzy beats & Hip Hop runs through three major themes, new moon feels, sticky sweet summer vibes and for you. Mixes I produce for online release, serve as a very specific type of sonic intimacy for me, they are me as a selector/mixer/curator speaking directly to the listener, and depending on our relationship either personal or our common relationship with the music are existing in spaces unseen and unmapped, if only in the shared imaginary. I  wonder when ppl engage with my mixes what they are thinking about, doing, going thru….. I hope for the most part, it involves creative process, a blunt, dancing and fucking tbh…..

Reflecting on the production of this mix, has also forced me to focus on really listenin’, as a deejay, this might seem second nature, but honestly my gig schedule/work schedule/ and the labor I put into so many projects for community, has greatly decreased my capacity in the last few months to search out & listen to music until the rhythm becomes imprinted in my brain and transitions become second nature. So some of the spaces where songs are woven together are a lil less tight than I want, but I was committed to sharing a mix this week. Thank you for taking the time to listen…..

 

-Scz

Do Not Text your Ex! A Venus Retrograde Playlist

Some of my newest cultural production work, featured on Rose Water mag….excited to be collabing ❤ ❤ ❤

Rose Water Magazine

Venus Retrograde is an astronomical/astrological occurrence that happens every 18 months and lasts for 40 days, this retrograde started on March 4th and will end April 15th. During these forty days, Venus looks to be travelin’ in reverse, and her energies effect us differently….For this mix, I thought about the relationship between sonic loops & the loop Venus creates during this 18 month cycle. I titled the mix Do Not Text Your Ex, to signify the way patterns often present themselves through Venus. Retrograde is a time where many of our past lessons about the relationships we have and keep resurface. They come back to ask us to do the deep work of examining how we view our own worth and self love as it relates to how we let others treat us. Do Not Text Your Ex is not just about past lovers or the amorous relationships we keep…

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2016….ten albums you might wanna check out

top-albums

I wanna give y’all my picks for 10 albums you might not have heard this years, but should definitely check out… while I appreciate and fux wit a lot of the mainstream/hella commercial albums that came out this year; A Tribe Called Quest’s We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service, Kendrick’s untitled unmastered, Solanges’ Seat a the Table (I know I’m not the only one that had Cranes in the Sky on repeat for a week…mostly this version , RiRi’s Anti, Bey’s Lemonade, Chance’s Coloring Books, BJ the Chicago Kid In my Mind, Anderson .Paak’s Malibu and all the other sonic dopeness that came out…….This is not a post about those albums……..truss they should/will be written about by countless media platforms….but I wanted to focus on something a lil different.

Albums that deserve mention but didn’t make the list….Moor Mother Fetish Bones, Jamila Woods Heavn, Mykki Blanco Mykki, Run the Jewels 3, Dope Saint Jude Reimagine Ep, Asaiah Ziv Free your Soul side A, & Mr. Carmack Rekindling Here are ten albums that have left a distinct impression on me.

10) Bocafloja- Cumbé

When you follow a cultural producer, its exciting to see the ways their werk evolves and continues to grow. Cumbé is the first full album released by Boca in almost 4 years, while 2012’s Patologías del Invisible Incómodo dealt with lyrically diagnosing the pathology of white supremacy, colonialism & capitalism….Cumbé is about healin’. Its the voicing of Black and Brown dignity through survival, reclamation, and dance. Tracks that definitively stand out for me are Espiral ft. Gabriel Duran of Awkward Theory and Sankofa ft. Sekou…..below is the first video from the project  

9) Cakes da Killa- Hedonism

Cakes is one of my favorite emcees, his delivery is biting & he does not play. As a qpoc deejay who throws hella house parties, his music naturally fits with most of the dance genres that I play, and reminds us just how deep the connections between Hip Hop and dance go. Hedonism is fierce, funny and flows hard, because it has to. To quote queer elder, an emcee extraordinaire Audre Lorde, “it is better to speak/remembering/we were never meant to survive”….Cakes knows this, and practices self emancipation at every step by refusin’ to allow the yt cishet world to fuck with his flow, his ability to disrupt hegemony through his existence is freein’ for us all… With tracks like, Up out My Face (ft. Peaches) , Talkin Greezy, and New Phone (Who Dis).… Cakes gives us anthems for all the everyday shit we deal with, with just a touch of pettiness that we all need to maintain our sanity. His video release for New Phone (Who Dis)…..gave so much memeable material for anyone whose ever been heartbroken, and feelin ruthless.

 

8) Noname- Telefone

Noname’s first album Telefone, in someways follows the sonics and vibes of her Chicago contemporaries BJ the Chicago Kid and Chance the Rapper, but with a femme centered aesthetic that brings an undeniable richness to the project. Her ability to switch up her cadence between neo-soul, juke, and spoken word flows, makes me fall in love a lil bit. She spits lyrical complexity in honest and at times heartbreakin’ ways, peep Casket Pretty if you don’t believe me. Tracks that I’ve been vibin’ heavy with are Diddy Bop, Freedom Interlude, Forever and Reality Check. The first verse on Forever opens with signifying sonic elders and seamlessly flows into talk of Andre as imaginary lover and then to the social conditions of poverty….. “Miss Nina Simone, Jimmy Jones/Missy Elliot musically were my relatives/Never forget my Andre/Papi mi casa es su casa/Baby I made an entrée/Maybe I make your moms plate/Maybe we not gon’ sleep tonight/In the night you and I laugh about how you Gemini/Already fry the chicken/But leftovers was my inner thigh/Nah I’m lying, I’m just playing/You can read this book with me/I’m trying to re-imagine abracadabra for poverty”

7) Kembá (FKA YC the Cynic)- Negus

Kembá FKA YC the Cynic, is a powerful lyricist from NY…..In Caesar’s Rise he opens with, “Please don’t call me conscious/Don’t call it political/Please don’t deem this lyrical/These are negro spirituals” highlighting that Hip Hop is at root a Black Atlantic sound, which cannot be contained by narrow boxes, backpacking, and respectability politics that the label “conscious” often conveys, and the audio sample of Nina Simone creates the affect of sonic sankofa, honoring what came before and holding up her desire to help young folk value their Blackness, which Kembá clearly does.  On this album he does what he does best….spits fire and truth with precision…. he engages listeners with a braggadocious candor that gives you glimpse of into the vulnerability of a young Black man coming up in the Bronx….Tracks that stand out, Hallelujah (prod. DJ Illanoiz), The New Black Theory, Caesar’s Rise and Greed….

6) Kaytranada- 99.9%

Kaytranada’s production on 99.9% is so damn smooth, and flows between genres seamlessly….he is comfortable switchin it up between house/disco, r&b, Hip Hop, ambient vibes, and transgress across and in-between what we define as each of those genres. He is a sonic force, whose been producing & co/trancreatin with artists/vocalists/lyricists for a minute, so it was exciting to see who he brought in to work on a project of his own creation and direction. 99.9% will make you want to move, dance is inevitable. The features on this album are life givin’…. Vic Mensa, Anderson .Paak, GoldLink, Little Dragon, Craig David, and SYD to name a few… Tracks that you should peep, Glowed up, Leave me Alone, Got It Good and Together.

5) Saul Williams- MartyrLoserKing

I’ve seen a lot of reviews refer to Williams’ as an alternative Hip Hop/spoken word artist, that definition feels too narrow and limiting for his body of werk. Williams’ werk as a cultural producer is a complex web of interconnected projects that all seem to be moving towards the goal of liberation….his use of multimedia to communicate archives of knowledge is on full display in MartyrLoserKing. Williams in a interview with Democracy Now discussed the concept behind the the werk as a processes of defining and transgressing, the narrative is rooted in Burundi and centers on a hacker named MartyrLoserKing,  the work is a thinly veiled fiction which he hopes provides energy and counter narrative for those involved  in movement. The opening track Groundwork, offers sonic testimony to remind/inform listener/audience that Indigenous cosmologies begin with the ground, rootwerk is necessary to heal and subvert. Williams’ album continues to provide deep commentary on the current social condition we find ourselves in, and how our positions within these spaces of hegemony/counter hegemony, center/margins, domination/subordination play out in a global system of power where ytness, colonailism, and Amerikkkan neoliberal imperialism maintain violence bodies in space. I can’t really suggest tracks off this album, it at least deserves one listen, uninterrupted from first to last track.

4) Little Simz – Stillness in Wonderland

Little Simz’s Stillness in Wonderland is a project that highlights how a young artist matures and continues to develop a sound that is distinctly her own while navigating the entertainment industry at a high level. This album features the production of Rascal, SHE, Wondagurl & Astronote…and Simz spits flow that adapts to each of their styles… she collabs/features other vocalists and emcees on Stillness in Wonderland that compliment her delivery and push her in new directions….the features of Chronixx, Tilla, Syd, and SiR are fire…..This year Simz has been growing her body of werk to include film and print media in the form of comic/graphic novel.  Tracks that are definitely worth listenin to Shotgun ft. Syd, Poison Ivy ft. Tilla , Low Tides,  and One in Rotation ft Sir.

 

3) Princess Nokia- 1992

Princess Nokia’s 1992 is the merging of Indigenous, Black, Femme cosmologies which transgress hegemonic notions of what Hip Hop was, is and could be. her body of werk in 2016 has been extensive, she has released 3 videos from the album of which she has been creative director, produced a mini documentary with Fader, maintained an extensive tour schedule and been werking on Smart Brown Girl Club, an urban feminist collective which run media, werkshops, art, and community outreach events. Her flow as an emcee is raw and organic….she delivers lines with aggression, humor, confidence, and the knowledge that power exists in our individual stories. On this album she claims this year as her own, and highlight how her Afro-Indigenous spirituality is a grounding, and central energy in her life and progression as an artist and cultural producer. In Brujas, her second verse lays out the ancestral wisdom and the diasproix sacred, which flows thru her….I’m that Black a-Rican bruja straight out from the Yoruba/And my people come from Africa diaspora, Cuba/And you mix that Arawak, that original people/I’m that Black Native American, I vanquish all evil/I’m that Black a-Rican bruja straight out from the Yoruba/And my ancestors Nigerian, my grandmas was brujas/And I come from an island and it’s called Puerto Rico/And it’s one of the smallest but it got the most people. Tracks that need to be listened to on repeat, Brujas, Tomboy, Kitana, Green Line, and Mine…..actually, just the whole nine track project.

2) Oddisee – The Odd Tape

Oddisee’s skills in lyricism are matched by what he brings as a producer, while The Odd Tape is instrumental production, I don’t say that to diminish the complexity and drive of the tracks….he conveys affect, mood and story in the absence of words. This album has been a constant space that I’ve come back to since its release in May, when I need to focus and get my life rite, whether when I’m writing, werking out, processin emotional shit…..you know, whatever, this album holds space for all of that. It was recently part of my soundtrack while travelin’, his werk is the perfect companion for inner city travelin’, on the buses and subways that characterized my movements, it created soundscapes to fit the vibe and mood of movin around a city that wasn’t mine. I love the soulful and jazzy elements that come thru on the tracks….I don’t have much else to say except he is one of my favorite lyricists and producers, and I am patiently awaitin the release of 2017’s The Iceberg. Favorite tracks: Alarmed, Born Before Yesterday, On the Table and No Sugar No Cream.

1) A Tribe Called Red- we are the halluci nation

If there was one album I could urge people to listen to from 2016, it would be A Tribe Called Red’s we are the halluci nation. ATCR are using deejaying, electronic music production and new sonic technologies to deploy Indigenous cultural healing & resistance. This project seeks to expands the Indigenous notion of nationhood as a way to address the completely flawed structure and systemic violence of coloniality. This album is layered with complex sounds, We are the halluci nation, speaks Indigenous…It is the rhythms of the ceremony and dance… the verbal transmission in the form of samples, emcees, throat signing, song and speech, werk to communicate ancestral knowledge, narratives of survival and resistance to yt supremacy, land degradation and violence, and a proposed futurism of how to create a shift in collective consciousness. It features collaborations with Northern Voices, Saul Williams, Tanya Tagaq, Chippewa Travellers, Yasiin Bey, Lido Pimienta, John Trudell and others who speak to this expanding sense of nation and belonging which are intrinsically  tied to connection to the earth and a reclamation of self. Much like Saul Williams’ MartyrLoserKing, We are the halluci nation deserves to be given a listen in its entirety, but then come back and listen to the tracks, The Virus, Sila, JHD, How I feel, and For you- The Light, pt 2

Funk, Soul, Boogieman & Zombies

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Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love has been on a near constant repeat since it came out last week…..(with the exception of takin a break to mix, listenin to the new J. Cole & a homie’s weary blues….) I was drawn in by the single Redbone, whose swagger, bassline and refrain of “stay woke” worked on complex levels….the album continues the course of Glover’s recent cultural production werk, in the television show, Atlanta, which displays full and complicated expressions of Blackness which are not only the central focus of the show, but the intended gaze, the werk he is producin’ feels like it has very little to do with being palatable for white consumption.

The theme of awakening/wokeness/and other permutations of the wake, remind me of  Christina Sharpe’s latest werk…. In the Wake: On Blackness and Being. In her writing she uses the various meanings of wake; the path behind a ship, keeping watch with the dead, coming to consciousness to interrogate the ways in which Black life and being are represented and constructed in the aftermath of TransAtlantic chattel slavery. She formulates the wake and “wake werk” as sites of cultural production, resistance, consciousness, and possibility for living in diaspora which seeks to affirm the dignity and centrality of Blackness to life. Gambino’s music and other cultural productions, live, breathe & resonated in the wake.

Sonically, Awaken, My Love, builds on the legacy of Black Atlantic sounds, the funk on this album is thick…the bass is weighty, its the heaviness of conditions… and the albums got that iconic future soul sound which channels the vibes of its predecessors like Sly, The Parliament Funkadelic, Bootsy Collins, Prince….its undeniably southern in its delivery….Glover mentioned in a recent interview, that as a cultural producer, he is searching for moments…of this werk, he says “even on some of the songs, we play with pitches and sounds that I think affect people in ways they don’t realize is happening until the fifth listen.” ….he goes on to discuss how this album and creative process were about stripping down much of the reliance on technology to achieve sound, instead relyin heavily on a full band, vocals sans filter/pitching and percussive rhythms derived from tongue clicks.

Awaken, My Love and Glover create an interesting juxtaposition between the use of technology in the delivery of the album to audiences and the production of the album. While he werked to remove computers and their sonic influence from the orchestration of the album, he is using technology to augment the experience of listeners….thru his release on “virtual reality vinyl” which will work to simulate the experience of a concert performance he gave called the PHAROS Experience in Joshua Tree, California…which was itself a mix of heavy reliance on technology while simultaneously refusing it….lol anyways, all of this is really long aside to say that I love the ingenuity of Black and Brown folks, how we manipulate technology, and am excited to see where this every growing augmented consciousness/cyborgness takes us next…..

This album takes you places, if you let it…..the interplay between the tracks Boogieman and Zombies have been heavy on my mind…..In Boogieman, Gambino, speaks directly to  the conditions of whiteness and its need to pathologize Blackness, and in this case particularly Black masculinity as inherently violent and something to be feared…. the Boogieman is the projection of white fears onto Black bodies, to a deadly effect…..In the aftermath of the Walter Scott verdict this week….the weight of his lyrics feel even heavier….

[Refrain]
With a gun in your hand
I’m the boogieman
I’m gonna come and get you

[Verse 2]
Every boy and girl all around the world
Knows my niggas’ words
But if he’s scared of me
How can we be free?
Yes—

The track ends with a question that we have been/are grapplin with on the daily living in white supremacy. When white fear/fragility turns to white rage at the mere existence of Blackness (Otherness) , how can we be free?  The transition into Zombies highlights the parasitic relationship that whiteness and capitalism have with Black creative expressions, this concept of the Zombie, underscores the unthinkingness, the anticritical, autopilot tendencies of those who profit from the consumption of this labor, without ever having to engage with the source of its productions, or the humanity of this source.

[Verse 3: Childish Gambino]
All I see is zombies feeding all around us
All they eat are people (and you won’t survive)
They don’t know what happened, they just stay alive

[Hook: Kari Faux & Childish Gambino]
We’re coming out to get you
We’re all so glad we met you
We’re eating you for profit
There is no way to stop it
There is no way to stop it
You will find there is no safe place to hide
(That’s right, that’s right)
We’re coming out to get you
We’re all so glad we met you
We’re eating you for profit
There is no way to stop it
There is no way to stop it

In defense of Riri & rude gurls everywhere

The impetus for writing piece began with a conversation I had with a friend. Recently he notice my Riri earrings  (<-shameless plug to my side hustle), and asked me to help him work through the tension of understanding femmes in the industry, objectification & agency. I go hard for Riri, I think she’s the most underplayed of the trinity, I’ve told friends for years that I identify more with her womanism than I do with Bey’s, mostly because I try to cultivate a healthy IDGAF attitude, and I live for the pleasure of good sex & blunts. My love of the popular/mainstream, causes a lil cognitive dissonance for people that read me as a head and don’t get it twisted, I love Hip Hop, she’s where I learned to love my queerness, saw reflections of myself, & have gotten free, but its is because of this that I go so hard for women like Rihanna.

We need to create a more nuanced conversation, one of the things coloniality does so well is it causes us to get lost in reductive binaries, we like Riri exist at complex intersections. With Hip Hop, the binary is often framed artistic production is either done for the love and the culture, or its the bastard version that capitalism birthed known as mainstream, the inauthentic, the wack… however,  just because a body exists in the space of highly visible, celebrity, captilaist “success”, it does not mean its robbed of its radical/disruptive potential, simply in the act of being…Black & femme, Rihanna is a refusal of whiteness and coloniality. As a cultural producer Rihanna exists at the intersections of counter hegemony & black radical womanism. Some themes in her body/canon of werk are a revenge fantasys, rude girl/gurl aesthetics, and femme centered pleasure politics, which all work to disrupt the center with experiences of the marginal. Outside of these themes, throughout her career she has been active in maintain her self- determination over her cultural productions, she currently owns all the rights/masters of her previous works, which is crucial to her being able to control how it is licensed, represented and used.

revenge fantasys

She mobilizes revenge fantasy as catharses from the various traumas associated with the colonial encounter and her specific read on the social conditions/violence of being a Black, woman, Indigenous, diasporix body from the Caribbean… in her Man Down video, she depicts liberatory justice  over the violence of rape, when she kills her assailant. Throughout the video (filmed in Jamaica) we see Rihanna having to navigate being a highly femme presenting body in spaces where she both invites and rejects the gaze…Because the video is shot in Jamaica, & opens with her utilizing the creole sak pase it instantly shifts the focus from an American/Eurocentric–English language center, to a space that is definitely Black/Queer and complex… and we could argue, it speaks deeper to the colonial conquest of the Caribbean and rape/violence that took place against Black bodies in a larger historical context.  Knowing the origin of the production of the track, Rock City (producers) who want to create a femme-centered version of Marley’s I Shot the Sheriff, which at the time was commentary on the relationship of the oppressed with the police/state violence. This ties her body (of work) to a legacy of Caribbean cultural producers whose werk was utilizing fugitive aesthetics and concepts of marronage to reorient cultural values, the notion that justice can never come from the oppressor and that some violence is necessary.

 

The visual for BBHMM continue this revenge fantasy as catharsis by providing a space to werk out the violences of white supremacy and capitalism. Rihanna positions herself in a way that takes back power first by playing on this trope of white womanhood as the highest form of victimization and then through the imbalances of power due to patriarchy as its tied to whiteness and capital. These are refusals of a value system that does not serve her, the video depicts the vampiric/ parasitic relationship whiteness perpetrates on Black and Brown being. Bitch better have my money, is an assertion of all the things coloniality owes Black and Brown peoples, pay me what you owe me, don’t act like you forgot she reminds white supremacy and capitalism that we know our history, our worth and there are consequences.

Rude girl/gurl politics & aesthetics

The rude girl/gurl as a politic is the refusal to live within the parameters of social respectability, it is the conscious knowing that comes from the embodied experiences which tell you respectable folk will kill you and say you enjoyed it, so you might as well make some noise (h/t ZNH). Rudeness is the queering of spaces and the disruption of whiteness &  cishet patriarchy. It is a swag that is not for sale, its not knowledge you get from a text book, its the ability to turn nothing into somethin’, to be pressed and fresh, its taught in the form of ritual, learnin’ passed down from hands. Rude boys (and rude girls) drew from the Rastafarians’ ideologies and rituals in order to celebrate the legitimacy of “the moralities of ghetto culture”. (The latter phrase is quoted by sociologist Obika Gray from her book, Radicalism and Social Change in Jamaica, 1960-1972 (page 95) The  sonic markers of rudeness are grounded in the shared history/legacy of the Black Atlantic sounds of jazz, soul, ska, rocksteady, and evolved out of Afro/Indigenous Caribbean sounds. Like all Black Atlantic aesthetics, rudeness is tied to movement, its sounds and styles heavily influenced the grim, ragga, jungle and other genres began by Caribbean diasporas living in the UK. Rihanna’s sound builds on all sonic histories. Rihanna in her embodiment of rudeness, flips the script on what is social desirable/acceptable in all of her blunt rollin’ and smoking glory. In her track Needed Me off of Anti, she explicates this politic perfectly, “Didn’t they tell you that I was a savage? Fuck your white horse and a carriage.” She reclaims savagery, reappropriating a word that is tied to a colonial legacy of dehumanization and violence…she continues by refusing the values of cishet partriarchy…not everyone desires the fantasy of being rescued.

femme-centered pleasure politics

To be a femme presenting person who is vocal about your own bodily desires and sexual pleasure in a world framed by misogyny/misogynoir is a radical act, furthermore in a world where women are killed for refusals, pleasure politics are dangerous in the face of coloniality. In her track Cockiness (love it), she explicitly centers the conversation on her own pleasure with a lover, the track opens with the assertion “Suck my cockiness, lick my persuasion. Eat my words and then swallow your pride down, down. Place my wants and needs over your resistance” As femmes, we are social condition to see our pleasure as secondary, especially within heteronormative relationships, however this track asserts that “I love it, I love it -I love it when you eat it” which not only gives voice to Riri as an agent over her own body, but in terms that leave no room for ambiguity we hear that sex positivity through pussy and the eating of it are conversations that deserve to be normalized.

 

In her Rude Boy….the hook, “Come here, rude boy, boy; can you get it up? Come here rude boy, boy; is you big enough?” underscores the primacy of her pleasure, she is questioning her potential lover, to see if they have the ability and the size to give her what she needs/wants out of a sexual encounter. As the song continues, lyrically there are two other points that are important when discussing sex positivity and pleasure politics. The first is the countering of language that is often used to demean and denigrate the female body, “Tonight I’mma give it to ya harder, Tonight I’mma turn ya body out” . The concept of gettin’ turned/turnt out is usually used exclusively for male sexual prowess, in terms of turning a sexual submissive/shy person (typically a femme) into a freak, just through good dick. Riri puts this notion on blast by affirming that her pussy is good enuf to make you cum. The other lyrics in the track that are so important to sex pos conversation are, “I like the way you touch me there, I like the way you pull my hair” through these lyrics Rihanna reminds us that consensual sex should be a conversation, we should be telling our lovers, what we like, what we don’t & what our triggers are….These lyrics also work to normalize (hella light) BDSM, through the idea that things like hair pulling are both acceptable and pleasurable, as long as all parties involved in the sexual acts have discussed and agreed.