Mykki Blanco: The Worlds I Inhabit
Artist Michael David Quattlebaum Jr. (aka Mykki Blanco), tells the autobiographical story of his origins. A child actor, poet, teenage prostitute, performance artist, and musician, Quattlebaum is an activist and one of the only vocal HIV-positive entertainers in the world. Interweaving stories of personal failures and career triumphs, laying bare the realities of racism, homophobia, abuse, and sexual trauma that would be critical pillars of his creative practice as well the artist’s exploration of their gender identity we learn the making and unmaking of Mykki Blanco. In “The Worlds I Inhabit” we learn about Quattlebaum’s journey of finding a place within the mainstream music and entertainment industry as a “gender outlaw” and the careerist strategies that would allow an unknown underground art freak to become an international musical performing artist. In “The Worlds I Inhabit”, Mykki Blanco speaks of his lived experience as an artist/writer/performer who inhabits many worlds both intersectionally and professionally and presents the lecture as appropriately as the artist could, as a performance. Chronological and stream of consciousness, lyrical and factual, Mykki Blanco invites you into the many varied, very much alive and evolving story of his life and creative practice.
Gender bending artist and musician who is changing the rap scene and rejecting your labels.
Mykki Blanco has metamorphosed many times. The multi-faceted star was a child actor who founded a performance art collective as a teen, ran away from home, and won scholarships to two prestigious art colleges, quitting both as he realized that “the art world is just one big scam for rich people” – an idea touched upon in album track High School Never Ends written with Woodkid, which premiered on FADER in May.
Finding fame first as a fearless noise rap poet, he published a book From The Silence Of Duchamp To The Noise Of Boys. Then what started as a video art project about a “teenage drag rapper” transformed into two years of Blanco living as a transgender woman in his personal life. Though eventually not transitioning, Mykki Blanco graduated in real life as well as artistically into the non-binary, gender-queer, post-homo-hop musical artist that we see before us today. Needless to say, it’s impossible to pigeonhole Blanco, and his unique and beautiful sound is no exception.
Amassing a vast online following with a savvy and savage social media output, Mykki is hailed online as a digital warrior princess who rules across the underground music scene with mixtapes like Gay Dog Food, cult hits like “Kingpinning”, and sensational videos like “Coke White”, “Starlight”, “The Initiation”, “Wavvy”, and “Haze Boogie Life”. Blanco’s output to date has been hailed as razor sharp, ahead of its time and sometimes deliciously far out. Yet this album seems to leave much of the mayhem behind, marking yet another departure, this time in favor of melody and musicianship, and Mykki comes of age as a serious chart contender. Mykki says: “I realised as an artist I need to focus on myself and on my work. Arguments with people online distract from that. I used to have a problem with the media trying to define me, either as a drag queen, or a transvestite, as a homosexual rapper, a transsexual or an HIV positive pop star, but most people need labels and my true fans know who I am and what I’m about.”
Mykki Blanco’s referential framework is both archival and futuristic: a myriad of culture references, spiritual anecdotes, designer labels, make-up brands, hippie jargon, Fendi here and Snapchat there – all perfectly reflecting the creative dialogue and digital landscape we live in.
Our speakers get attention.
Mykki Blanco on activism, lockdown, and the importance of visibilityAs part of Uniqlo Tate Lates, Dazed’s Dominic Cadogan spoke to the artist and activist from their apartment in Paris
Mykki Blanco on activism, lockdown, and the importance of visibility.Mykki Blanco on activism, lockdown, and the importance of visibility.