If you haven’t benefited from the challenging force that is Mykki Blanco, that’s a problem that should be corrected. Blanco spoke out last week about the division being created by the #AllLivesMatter trend, identifying out the key point behind all the yelling, as she is wont to do, namely that a reactionary social media trend shouldn’t send groups who experience oppression into a fight against each other. Which seems about as good a reason as any to celebrate Blanco’s work in music, as a performer at large, and as an all-around intelligent human voice in the weird shouting hum that is our media-saturated moment. Interview Magazine’s 2012 piece on Blanco gives a good introduction to the artist’s music, career, and why it’s all so important, for those who haven’t encountered her work as yet. And Blanco’s interview with Kathleen Hannah, where the two examine what it means to be exoticized and historicized in your attempt to create a new dialogue, is a great introduction to the artist’s voice (not to mention just great as an interview in itself, because the two have an immediate, evident rapport).
In an incredibly moving and dignified moment earlier this June, Blanco publicly announced she has been living with HIV since 2011, a fact the rapper shared to help battle stigmas against those living with the condition. Blanco said that she’d kept her status a secret out of fear that it would destroy her career, a fear that she has quashed with performances that never slack and an announcement that she is starting her own !K7 music imprint, Dogfood Music Group. Blanco has said the imprint will exist to “disrupt” the assumptions we hold about music and genre: “People all over the world are only fed this singular image of ‘African American Music’ and we want to disrupt that. We all come from backgrounds outside of the black American norm, and the world deserves to see our culture as much as anything else.”
Blanco is putting out a compilation of the imprint’s artists September 18th with tour dates in the fall—see a full track list for the comp, C-ORE, via Pitchfork. Watch one of the artist’s many incredible videos below.