REVIEW: Princess Nokia empowers women of color with feminist rap in NorCal

Destiny Frasqueri headlines Noise POP Festival


Ruby Pineda - The State Hornet

Princess Noka headlines Noise Pop event at the at The UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall on Saturday, Mar. 2. Princess Nokia sets community guidelines at her show in support of marginalized groups.

Ruby Pineda

Afro-Latina lyricist Princess Nokia empowered women of color during Noise POP Festival on Saturday night at the UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall.

Noise POP took place over the course of a week where independent local musicians performed at various venues throughout the Bay Area. Princess Nokia, real name Destiny Frasqueri, traveled from Harlem, New York to Berkeley, California.

Princess Nokia describes herself as an urban feminist who incorporates her values into her music, focusing on issue women of color who live in urban neighborhood face.

Frasqueri’s music is very empowering, with her lyrics enhancing the underrepresented culture of women of color. She is unapologetically herself through her songs that tell a narrative of an orphan living in the big city.

Her rap verses include conversations about hair diversity, white supremacy and descriptions of New York City, such as a, “Melting pot and the soup is never cold.”

Frasqueri tells her story as an Afro-Latina who embraces her culture and addresses the racism and sexism she experiences. Her New York influence is refreshing as she pushes forward through her unconventional sounds like in “1992” and “Blue’s Clues” ad-libs.

Frasqueri’s rap flow is unique — she experiments with different genres such as punk rock, which is not typically seen in rappers. “Metallic Butterfly” on the contrary, is a psychedelic hip-hop sound with melodic rhymes of drug and spacey beats.

Ruby Pineda – The State Hornet
Princess Noka headlines Noise Pop event at the at The UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall on Saturday, Mar. 2. Princess Nokia sets community guidelines at her show in support of marginalized groups.

The night was full of amazing women of color artists and opened with Queens D. Light. Light’s set was full of R&B and rap songs as she danced on stage in a zebra printed dress. Tia Nomore, Oakland native, followed the first act and performed her original rap songs. Both performers were engaging and brought talent to the stage.

The East Coast princess came on last at 10 p.m., at which point Frasqueri showed her love for the Bay Area and advocated for marginalized groups on stage. She expressed her respect and admiration for the Bay Area’s rich history in our fight for equality of all kinds.

As the show continued, Frasqueri took the time to set community guidelines. “This is a POC priority space. This is a queer priority space,” Frasqueri said as she encouraged young queer folks and women of color to move toward the front of the stage.

Frasqueri expressed that she knows her music helps folks go about their days when they’re feeling down. The acapella songs were very intimate and Frasqueri made her way down to the front row to sing to fans and hug them.

Frasqueri explained that, “the music we were hearing from that spectrum was very male-oriented and misogynistic and it was very drug-induced.

She brought the show to an end with “Young Girls” and encouraged the crowd to hold hands with strangers as they shared the moment.

As I, a woman of color, held hands with strangers when instructed, I was moved. Her lyrics, “Young girls take care of the Earth, young girls they need they own respect,” change the story that is being told by women in the music industry.

This genre of feminist music is something I admire because women are often overlooked in music when they don’t cater to the male perspective.

Frasqueri said her farewell to the crowd and shared with fans that she will return again with new music and a whole new show. She recognized long-time fans and brought them closer to stage to greet them. She also shared details of new music to come and the featuring artists who will be on her new album.

My favorite performance of the night was “G.O.A.T” where Frasqueri rapped about how successful she is and is the greatest of all time. Her confidence was transparent in her song and performance. Throughout her entire performance she set an intimate show sharing stories about fans and writing music.

Princess Nokia empowers me as a woman of color and I look forward to her next show when she returns to my area.