Hip hop: There’s an opportunity to expand masculine notions.
While most of the music industry has evolved to break gender norms, it seems like a few in the rap community is still behind and tends to fall back into hyper-masculinity. The good news is there are many new players in the game looking to turn hip-hop into a more inclusive community. Think: Young Thug with his genderless ensembles, Bad Bunny and his affinity for nails, and a name you might not be familiar with, but should be: Kidd Kenn.
At only 17-years old, Kenn has broken more boundaries than most rappers throughout their careers by being the first openly queer rapper to sign to Island Records, perform onstage with Kehlani, and headline Red Bull Music’s Renaissance One Pride event in 2019 — all with a face that’s freshly beat to the gods.
With his mixtape, Child’s Play, dropping this Friday, we can’t help but wonder what else our favorite technicolor-haired rapper has in store for us. Very Good Light caught up with Kidd Kenn in NYC to chat all things beauty (of course), rap, and more!
What have you been up to?
“I’ve been working, working, working… making new music. I’m working on a lot of different stuff; a little bit of pop. I’m just stepping into different lanes, showing different sides of myself.”
“Because it makes me feel like a bad bitch.”
There’s a lot of machismo, toxic masculinity that’s still seeping into the hip hop community. How are you working to challenge that?
“I just do me, and I make sure everything I do is on point to stay valid. Nobody can’t really say nothing bad about it if my music’s good, regardless of how I look.”
You’re all about authenticity. How did you discover your confidence, especially when you’re so young?
“I’m not really sure. I just woke up one day and I just realized that this is life, and I get one turn with it. So, I just have to live for me and do what makes me happy. I can’t waste time thinking about how other people think of me or how everyone else lives, it’s just not going to benefit me in any way. I can’t really care about how everyone feels, because I’m going to live my life how I want to. I can’t let other people live my life, so I just started doing me and I ain’t turning back.”
You’re from Chicago. How was it coming up there and finding your rap career, as well as your overall identity?
“It was fun. I hung out with my friends all of the time, just kickin’ it around the hood. It was lit, though. Growing up in Chicago was great.”
What’s your connection to beauty?
“My barber does all of my colors for me, and I do different colors because I don’t like looking the same all of the time. I like to switch it up.”
Who’s one style inspiration for you?
“Nicki Minaj. Her business and how she works is just so inspiring to me. If I could switch closets with anyone for a day, it would be Nicki — she’s got the whole Fendi collection, after all. Or maybe Kylie Jenner, I saw her closet and it’s insane. Her closet is like a house, she has a whole room just for bags. I love Lady Gaga’s style, too.”
What are your favorite beauty trends of the moment right now?
“I love my eyebrows, and I love highlight.”
What beauty brands are you into right now?
“I use MAC Cosmetics a lot — now that I think about it, all of the makeup I use is MAC. For my hair, I couldn’t even tell you. I use so many things for my hair, especially the colors.
What’s your beauty routine?
“I’m not gonna spill all of my secrets, but I dye my hair a lighter color and then just spread the color on so it comes out this bright. Then I just wrap it every night to make it look fresh.
“For skincare, I wash my face every day. I get a rag, warm it up in the microwave for 30 seconds, make sure that it’s real hot. Then, lay it on your face, and let the steam do its thing. When it cools down, wipe your face. Then use lotion, and you’re set.”
Who are your favorite designers of the moment?
“I get all of my clothes from Boohoo, I love Boohoo. But, I don’t mind a pair of Balenciaga’s every now and then.”
What advice do you have for men in regard to beauty?
“I feel like makeup is supposed to enhance your beauty, not make you feel different. So, just ease into it and don’t overboard with it. I incorporate all of my natural flaws into my makeup, and it makes me feel good. But, at the end of the day, just do whatever you want to do — just do you.”