On February the 2nd, rapper known as Princess Nokia performed at london Jazz Cafe, and it was one of the most extraordinary gigs I’ve been to, so I decided to share my experience with those who didn’t get to go in the form of a blog.
Her performance was as amazing as I was expecting, however, the crowd will always be unforgettable for me.
The audience were full of women of colour, and I can’t recall if I’ve ever been to a gig where I didn’t feel marginalised in the audience.
Princess Nokia’s music talks about heritage, race, class and sexuality, which resonates with a lot of millennial women of colour. At the beginning of her show, she started by saying: “I want all the black, brown, Asian and Muslim women to come forward.” And to all the men she said:
“I love you, but please stay at the back”
The fact that she acknowledges a racial system that exists between her audience, was both radical and heart warming. Especially when we live in an era when most of our heroes can easily be dismissed and let us down by sharing their problematic views, it was refreshing hearing a person on stage addressing political issues.
This experience made me realise that I hadn’t felt safe and belonged in a space of large groups of people for a very long time. The crowd allowed me to feel like I could be myself, and there was no pressure of fitting into a standard, and even though I didn’t feel like part of the minority, I felt that everyone was still able to express their individuality, because there was no gaze hanging over us, forcing us to conform.
In one of her songs Brujas, she sings about her heritage and diaspora. To hear a woman of colour claiming the stage and reclaiming their ethnic background and identity as a person of diasporic experience was truly empowering, and proved to me that this is just a start of this fight.
It was clear that I wasn’t the only person feeling this way that night, there was an incredible energy that had filled up the air, and even at the end Princess Nokia expressed that the night had been one of her very special performances, she was clearly emotional, and couldn’t stop interacting with the audience, and very noticeably hugging the black women in the audience.
If I needed convincing about the importance of representation, this experience definitely would have been the best example of the impact representation can have on people. Just to have someone that looks like you, or has had your experiences, as a role model is sometimes all it takes to start a journey of empowerment and self love.