With an unconventional style and zero fucks to give, Destiny Frasqueri, better known as Princess Nokia (or Wavy Spice by some), is turning heads in the NYC underground scene. Unapologetically herself, Nokia prides herself on being a “weirdo,” though she’ll just as easily boast about having “little titties” and being able to snatch your man away.
One of her first videos out was “Tomboy,” where she’s dressed in a style that screams ’90s-era-Aaliyah.
Aaliyah, who came to prominence in the early ’90s, also dressed in baggy clothes, wore thick lip liner and had an IDGAF attitude. Nokia’s style is much more in-your-face, and her music appears to be heavily influenced by the trap sounds of the moment, whereas Aaliyah was a soulful, more traditional R&B singer. However, there really does feel like there’s a cross-generational connection between the two.
The similarities don’t stop there: the two were both fashion models.
Aaliyah sported Tommy Hilfiger, while Nokia has done several spreads for Calvin Klein. But don’t get Nokia twisted, the pinky-finger-in-the-air aura of high fashion modeling is immediately punched in the gut by her brashness. Here she is channeling her inner Sade.
And she also kills “boy” looks.
I can picture Aaliyah having worn the same thing at some point.
Nokia has spent time extensively exploring her Afro-Latina roots in her music.
In this video for “Brujas,” which she co-directed herself, she pulls from Yoruba imagery and the spiritual images of Santeria, while wearing her hair out as curly as possible and spitting the history of her native ancestry. She raps in the song:
“I’m the black-arican bruja straight out from the Yoruba / and my ancestry is Nigerian my grandmas was brujas / and I come from an island and it’s called Puerto Rico/ It’s one of the smallest, but it’s got the most people.”
In this revealing documentary by The Fader, entitled “Destiny,” Nokia talks about her entire journey.
From being a child in the foster care system, to running away, to falling into music and modeling, to the origins of the name Nokia, this 16-minute, eye-opening documentary is longer than most things you’ll see on the Internet today, but just try and take your eyes off of it once you start. It’s a gripping portrayal of an artist that is multi-layered and coming into her own as a musician. In the doc, she reveals that she’s an ardent feminist and is inspired by the feminists, including her sister, that she grew up around. At her shows, she makes sure that women get to sit up close, urging them all to come to the front row.
Check out her newest video and keep your eye on the rising star.
She’ll be performing at Summer Stage 2017 in NYC. If you’re in town, definitely check her out. She’ll be part of a set with Chilean artist Mon Laferte and Afro-Puerto Rican music project ÌFÉ. Should be a great show!