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The Oberlin Review

Students Get Hyped for Princess Nokia ’Sco Show

Samantha Spaccasi, Staff writer

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“My name is Ms. Destiny / I go hard in everything / I bring out the best in me / And do what is best for me,” Destiny Frasqueri raps in “Excellent,” the eighth track from her 2016 mixtape titled 1992, her first release under the name Princess Nokia.

Frasqueri is one of the most refreshing and eclectic artists in modern underground hip-hop and has a devoted fan base in Oberlin, one that has only grown since a scheduled performance at the Cat in the Cream last spring had to be cancelled due to a missed flight.

That concert, originally organized by College sophomore Sky Davis, was expected to be packed and would have been a highlight of last year’s concert season, so Davis and Cat in the Cream staff tried to book Princess Nokia again last semester.

“We wanted to bring her for Earth Day,” Davis said. “She sent us this really sweet message: ‘Let’s do an Earth Day concert! That would be so cute!’”

Unfortunately, due to a mix-up with Frasqueri’s agent and the Cat’s programming schedule, she couldn’t perform on that date. Student Union Programming Committee advisor Sean Lehlbach and College junior Rayna Holmes orchestrated a move to the ’Sco, where the show is finally set to happen tomorrow night.

“The Cat staff is pretty bummed that it’s not going to be there, but because [putting the show together] was a collaborative effort, they’re all going to be coming to the show,” Holmes said.

Students are clearly excited for the show — tickets sold out within a few hours of going on sale. Holmes is excited that the concert sold out so quickly, but also expressed reservations about the possibility that some students who don’t feel well represented in campus music and art, spaces that are typically white-dominated, may not be able to attend.

“Part of me is like, ‘Sick, awesome,’ but part of me is hoping that everyone who wants to come is able to,” she said. “I hope there will be able to be a lot of POCs and femmes of color feeling like they have access to the show. That was a major thing [the bookers] were concerned about.”

Davis suggested that those who don’t know much about Frasqueri try to become familiar with her music before the performance.

“Watch her documentary on The Fader,” she said.

Attendees that do so will find an artist with a deep, multifaceted catalog of releases that stretches beyond the hip-hop for which she’s currently known. Frasqueri started making dance and club music under the name Wavy Spice in 2012, releasing tracks like “YAYA” and “Versace Hottie.” In 2015, she released the funk and soul-inspired album Honeysuckle under the name Destiny.

As Princess Nokia, Frasqueri’s style is one that references all aspects of her identity — everything from race to video games.

“She raps about her hair. She raps about Mortal Kombat. She raps about being from Harlem, [ femme skate crew] Brujas, being part of the Latinx community and about having African descent,” Holmes said. “I find her music so unbelievably unique and beautiful. It’s fun, but not mindless. It’s music that validates all of those identities that come from what she’s talking about.”

“There’s something about Princess Nokia — she has this ability to bring women of color and femmes together and make them feel good about themselves. Her identity goes into everything she does,” Davis added.

In addition to her signature writing style, Frasqueri is also known for her no-nonsense attitude towards misogynistic behavior at her shows. In February, she allegedly punched a white audience member attending a performance at Cambridge University after he mouthed obscenities to her while she was performing as part of a charity fashion show.

“I think the whole Cambridge thing is awesome,” Holmes said. “It’s so powerful that she does something like that, because people who go to her shows know that situations like that could be potentially coming to you.”

More than anything, however, the bookers are excited for the connection between Frasqueri and her audience.

“I wanted to bring her because I know how many of my friends, or people who look like me, love her and know those lyrics — they feel that energy and good vibes. They love their melanin when they listen to her,” Davis said. “I can’t wait to see what kind of energy she brings into the space and how that’s going to uplift everyone I know and care about.”

Princess Nokia will perform a sold-out show at the ’Sco tomorrow at 10 p.m.

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Established 1874.