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In 2008 she was nominated for “Best Performance by an International Poet” in the Farrago London Slam awards. Her first solo show - Kiss and Tell, premiered at Hau Zwei as part of the Berlin 100 grad theatre festival. In 2009 she entered the world of hosting and creating events, the first of which, the anti-slam, is a satirical take on slams where the worst poet wins. Her poems play with the unspoken dialogue in romantic and sexual relationships, the neurosis that plays into the world of urban dating, stories from the edges of club culture, and the politics of being a cosmopolitan woman of colour.
an exceptionally talented singer/ songwriter from London. If there's one thing I look for in new music it's originality - not just for the sake of it - but an artist with a really unique perspective who doesn't give in to easy clichés. I don't speak lightly when I say that is a rarity (you can check out my inbox if you need proof), and I think Tanya has something special when it comes to penning a song
For those who don’t know, OG Niki is a 16-year-old rapper/emcees from Birmingham, UK. She has caused a stir regarding a rap song that was released on youtube via the site Grime Blog, back in April that details her sexually explicit escapades.
She opens the track with: “Get fuck from the back singing lalala/I’ve fucked six mans on the camera…” When listening to this and the other rest of the song millions of thoughts rushed through my head. Firstly as a young black woman seeing an even younger black woman talk about her sexuality in such a way regurgitates the jezebel stereotype that labels all black female sexuality. Then I remembered, she is only 16-years-old, she has just finished her GCESEs, she is still a child – she can’t even vote. If, she knew the history of where her narrative places her, would she talk about her body, well her pussy in such a way? But, this is where we as older women come to help support, guide and educate this young about her womanhood. There is no point hatin’ if we are not going to take ownership and responsibility for our young women. What is the point in telling her how “nasty” she is without showing her an alternative?
Trying to understand the psychology of someone you don’t know is very hard, for obvious reasons. I guess I can only speculate why she has chosen to emerge herself into the Grime/Hip-hop scene in such a fashion. But there is a sense of agency and ownership that Niki executes here. She puts out her business before anyone of the guys can and ultimately she is in charge of the information, she eradicates he-said-she-said gossip. She is able to use her sexual exploits as way to gain attention to her music. But the real question here is whether she is gaining the right attention? Admittedly, as a fan of hip-hop music, OG Niki has a great rhythm and flow and could quite easily put a few guys to shame. In her own words, her twitter followers went from 198 to over 4,500 in space of two days when this video was posted on youtube. Not only that, the amount of virals in response to this song have literally assassinated her character. I expected and she did too to get a lot of responses, ranging from her “keeping it real” to being called a “slag,” the latter being the emphasis. Comparing Niki’s treatment to Skepta’s (a Grime emcee), who graced us with a short porno to accompany his song, ‘All Over the House,’ speaks volumes on accountability of sexual relations between men and women. To be fair to Niki, she used her own sexuality and body to gain attention; Skepta used a woman’s to achieve the same means.
There is no doubt, that Niki has capitalised on our obsession with scandal and sex, but does she deserve our attention? Since her internet debut, there has been only one follow up track which she features on, again telling us how great she is at sex. So, has Niki somehow manipulated this generation’s addiction to easy fame through selling female sexuality? Something tells me Niki was and is aware of what gets people talking and by being outrageous as she possibly could she has done just that. But I also sense naivety about what she has engaged herself in, the pragmatics of undertaking the ‘hypersexual female rapper role,’ is a shackle that is impossible to shake. If we look at a contemporary example, Miss Niki Minaj, who offers the braggadocio of, ‘I am just as bad as the boys’ it is not too hard to understand why 16-year-old OG Niki has taken route to get her music heard in this way. The difference is, Niki Minaj has corporate label to promote her music on an international scale, if you are going to sell female sexuality lets globalisaed that sh!t. When we are used to seeing women’s bodies and sexuality being exploited to sell anything as the norm, then why not use your own to promote your artistry? Has Niki taken patriarchy by the balls and said, ‘you are not using my sexuality to sell me, I am!’ Or is she complying with the oppression of women and their bodies?
I do hope whatever she was seeking from posting up that video, she has obtained it- at her own expense. Whether it was 15 minutes of fame, a record deal or just to get “people talking,” I would like to believe that she could look back and reflect on the productivity of her actions. But in the mean time, as women instead of hating on her lets support her through love.
This piece is originally written by myself appearing on my personal blog: bitcheszine.com