Sweden is a place I have always felt I can merge my activism most seamlessly with my music. Whenever I go there, I have found that there is a distinct commitment to wanting to speak and improve women’s issues specifically. Monki, which is a brand I partnered with last year after the marathon run, did another campaign this year where they wanted to promote awareness and usage of a menstrual cup. I gave a talk at their headquarters about why I believe brands have such power in influencing the lives of young people and how I believe that Monki is leading by example when it comes to being true champions of their very consumers.
I also gave a talk at Brilliant Minds about information asymmetry in the music industry and how typically the business entity knows more than the artist, leaving room for exploitation. I spoke about how unconscious bias and sexism continues to hold women back, either by defining leadership according to male standards of being on the business side or by assuming that female artists are not responsible for their own talent or success by asking, “who produced it?” or “who wrote it?” when rarely do their male counterparts get asked the same question. This continues to frustrate me because it undermines women’s talents and ability but then also places a strain on women to feel the need to collaborate less and come up with everything on her own just to be able to prove something. This is something I navigate daily. Hours later in the festival I found out that Daniel Eck, Troy Carter and Steve Berman were all in the audience…I had been critical of Interscope and warning of Spotify of becoming the next oppressor…!
Finally, I traveled from Stockholm to Gothenburg to perform at Clandestino Festival. I had met Jose Gonzales months before and he was familiar with my work – he invited me to come play and I could not have been more stoked. In particular, the audience for this festival was very small and it made no sense – it was the best music I had heard in a long time. Their curation was so on point, every artist (names below) who played before or after me were so good I kept coming out of the green room just to experience it. I was so inspired by the rich level of talent and innovation in music – Moor Mother was my favorite – she was on some next level electro afrofuturist punk rock shit and turned everyone UP. Kondi Band was electronic afrobeat (one of their band members ended up remixing my song “Her”!), Family Atlantic was a huge band with this insanely beautiful person who fronted it – beautiful energetically and aura wise – she was like this goddess leader of the band – everyone was insanely mesermized – she had complete control of the audience and the band – it was so well done…and then late night DJ Nigga Foxx from Portugal was so inspiring – I had rarely heard electroafrican music like that – he took sounds from all over the diaspora and made them his own – I hadn’t danced that hard in so long. After that was over, some friends took me to an amazing Swedish forest where the party continued, people were dancing till it was light out…then I had to quickly pack and go to the airport.
Kondi Band 19:00-20:00
Madame Gandhi 20:30-21:30
Family Atlantica 22:00-23:00
Moor Mother 23:00-00:00
DJ NFoxx 00:00-03:00