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MEET BOYFRIEND: THE RAP CABARET ARTIST WHO’S DEFYING STEREOTYPES

Music

Jun 2, 2016

When you think of rappers, a pint-sized former teacher who dons glasses and lingerie might not be the first image that comes to mind. But that’s Boyfriend in a nutshell. The New Orleans-based rapper sings about dildos, sex and feminism and truly beats to the sound of her own drummer. To ensure that each of her shows were a unique experience, Boyfriend started bringing cupcakes for her fans at shows. She brought enough to one of her shows that a cupckae fight broke out. There’s nothing like listening to sexy hip-hop while throwing cupcakes.

While Boyfriend has been off playing live shows and touring with Beyoncé collaborator Big Freedia, she’s also been making new music (coming soon). In the meantime, see what the NOLA rapper thinks about changing the rap cabaret scene, the messages behind her music and being labeled as “sex positive.”
Who are some of your favorite sex positive musicians? I’ll be completely honest. I’ve started to resist the term “sex positive,” because I feel like in music, when men make sexual music it’s “sexual,” but when women make sexual music it’s suddenly “sex positive” – as if we get pushed into this academic and political corner that keeps us from being relevant to the mainstream. Do I agree with the founding premises of sex positive theory? Of course! But I also don’t like considering it as my musical genre….
 
What makes your music a game-changer? Well I have folks showing up in lingerie to throw icing at each other, which is by no means groundbreaking, but it is an interesting intersection of party and theater. My music is a little tougher – you have to listen close, but if you do you’ll be rewarded. So it’s like a little slice of school on a Friday night, asking folks to more actively engage with the media messages they consume and to smile in the meantime.
 
How do you feel like you’re bringing about change for women through your music? Well I wouldn’t want to be so presumptuous as to assume I’m helping capital “W” Women, as a whole, because sadly I don’t have much of a following in the Middle East yet, but I do know that there are discussions in the stalls of the bathroom about shaving habits after seeing my show, and that gals are feeling confident enough to show up to “Rap Cabaret” in lingerie so that’s something.
What are you working on? New music for 2016? New music and new photos (I’m very enthusiastic about the digital stage that is Instagram). But mostly I’m working on forgiving those who have trespassed against me.
 
Tell me about this cupcake fight you had earlier this year down in Austin. Well, I’ve always made it a point to reward my audience for their attentive attendance. Small trinkets turned to candy which evolved into cupcakes, and typically (being a spend-thrifty gal), I’d bring a half dozen – just enough for the loyal few on the front row who were really giving me their va va voom. But I started feeling guilty, starting fearing I’d be accused of that most unappealing of adjectives (“cheap”), and reckoned the back row was just as deserving of that cream cheese icing!
 
Do you think what you sing or talk about is scandalous? Why or why not? No, I’m just saying what I need to say. I suppose scandal, along with beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
 
What made you want to be a musician? I’d hate to be curt, but I must say I don’t consider myself a musician, technically. Perhaps it’s because most of my family members are in fact musicians in the technical sense. But I carry no case on the plane…I’ve just been doing things that I feel I must do, and sometimes they involve music… It was nothing so romantic as a young boy determined to learn guitar after watching Jimi Hendrix… I suppose I shy away from the word “musician” because music is only one part of “Rap Cabaret.” I’m just Boyfriend.