Kidd Kenn is the queer rapper bringing beauty to hip hop

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.

SEE ALSO: 3 dancers on their glow-inducing skincare regimens

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.”

Why rap?

“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.”

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Ion even Fuck with dat….

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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.”

Guys, it’s time to start using sex toys

Pleasure comes in many forms.

One of those forms is sex toys. Let’s say it together, now: everyone can enjoy experimentation with sex toys, regardless of gender or sexuality. While we tend to think of vibrators and dildos only prescribed to women and people with vulvas, Gigi Engle, certified sexologist, Womanizer sexpert, and author of All The F*cking Mistakes: a guide to sex, love, and life, wants everyone to know that there are tons of options out there for males to (fore)play around with.

“They [sex toys] are a tool for you to explore your pleasure,” Engle says. “Sex toys help you redefine what sexuality means because they change the narrative from a performance-based model of, ‘You have to stay hard and orgasm means sex is over,’ to, ‘Sex is about exploring pleasure. It is a journey without any real destination.’ It can be very liberating.”
But, let’s be real: incorporating these toys into your regular sexual endeavors — regardless of having a partner or going solo — can feel a bit intimidating.
So, if you’re looking to up the ante on your sex life, then give some of Engle’s tips for sex toy play, plus our favorite sex toys for men, below:

Tip #1: Don’t be afraid of sex toys.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but some of us can get performance anxiety when something new is added into the mix. So, listen to Engle when she says they are your friend, not your foe. “We see a lot about vibrators, but there are plenty of toys for men,” she says. “Don’t be intimidated by them.”

Tip #2: Try a masturbation sleeve to start.

“They are the easiest to use and the most straightforward,” says Engle. “I love Tenga Eggs because they’re one-time use, so you need to be meticulous about cleaning toys like a Fleshlight because of the overgrowth of bacteria. Cyberskin is porous and if you don’t wash it after every single use with soap and water, you will give a female partner bacterial vaginosis or something worse.”

Tip #3: Get a prostate toy

If you haven’t experimented with anal play just yet, you may be missing out on some serious pleasure. “The prostate is the male G-spot,” says Engle. “It has a ton of nerve endings and can be a source of seriously explosive orgasms.” If you’re looking to find a toy for anal use, Engle recommends using something simple, like the b-Vibe Rimming Toy or a Doc Johnson silicone butt plug.

Tip #4: Take the time to masturbate

Whether you’re brand new to the realm of sex toys, or just adding something new to your collection, Engle recommends taking the time to get to know how your body likes to use it — without the overstimulation of visual pornography. “When you’re using a masturbation sleeve, a cock ring, or any other sex toy, be sure you’re using different mental stimuli as well,” she says. “With young men becoming so conditioned to porn, we need to change it up so that you’re not relying on it for orgasm.” Instead of going to the world wide web, Engle recommends using your imagination, a sexy story, or listen to an erotica podcast. “Changing up the way you masturbate will ultimately help you be a better lover because you don’t need one single thing to enjoy sexual interactions,” she says.

Tip #5: Clean your sex toy

Seriously: clean your sex toys regularly! Not only is it more hygienic for the sake of your body to clean it after each and every use, but it’s also important for the safety of others you may share it with during intercourse. “Read the directions on each toy and follow them,” Engle says. “I know it can be hard to keep with this, but if you don’t, you could end up with a UTI (yes, boys do get UTIs) or another infection. This will mean you end up in the doctor’s office needing to explain what you were doing to get said infection.”

Tip #6: Use your toys with your partners

If you feel ready and up for it, using your sex toys with your partners can add a new kick to your sex life, so there’s no need to feel intimidated. “Cockrings and masturbation sleeves and prostate massagers are super fun to use with partners. There is nothing wrong with a guy who likes using sex toys,” says Engle. “In fact, it’s very cool and mature, if you ask me. It shows you know your body and you’re interested in experimenting with different ways to have pleasure. Sex toys are sex enhancers. They don’t replace a penis, they just make sex even more fun. It’s like an ice cream sundae: It’s really good with whipped cream, but add some hot fudge and you’ve taken your ice cream game to a whole other level.” Just make sure you talk to your partner about what they feel comfortable leaving in and out of the bedroom — and remember, have fun with it!

Thanks, Parasite for reminding all of us about the power of K-Beauty

One word that seems to never leave the side of K-Beauty is “trend.”

Because, let’s face it: like the many beauty routines and products that have come before it, Western beauty reporting tends to view Korean beauty as nothing more than a short-term blip, rather than a cultural movement based on generations of skincare and cosmetic rituals. But a certain Korean dark comedy thriller that’s swept the nation may seem to be (finally) challenging the dialogue.

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SEE ALSO: Parasite’s Oscar win is validation for Asian immigrants everywhere

ICYMI: Parasite was the film on everyone’s lips during the 2020 Academy Awards. Not only did the Korean film deservedly win a grand total of four awards during the night, but Bong Joon Ho’s epic film made cinematic history by being the first non-English film ever to win Best Picture.

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“Writing a script is always such a lonely process; we never write to represent our countries,” said Bong via his translator Sharon Choi. “But this is [the] very first Oscar to South Korea,” adding a plea to moviegoers to overcome stigmas that come from reading subtitles.

So, how do multiple Oscar wins relate to beauty in any way? Well, it doesn’t, but the gleam on their eyes and their skin hints to something much bigger. What it really relates to is the bigger picture that shows minority cultures should be treated as more than just a “trend.” Parasite‘s recognition and popularity was a huge win not just for Ho, or just South Korea: it proved that minorities as a whole, regardless if we’re talking skincare or cinematography, can permanently resonate within Western culture for the better.

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Standing alongside him for the award was actress Cho Yeo-Jeong, Park So-dam, Lee Sun Gyun, Choi Woo-Shik, and Song Kang-ho, who all glowed onstage. While the cast descended to the stage to give the final moving speech of the night, their faces literally lit up the room. Full of bouncy, dewy, beautiful skin, they proved the power of a 10-step Korean beauty regimen. So, what was the secret beauty product the Parasite cast used to have that prominent radiance that only grew stronger with each win? While most of the cast’s glam team has stayed mum on their beauty secrets (if only someone would spill on Bong’s skincare routine), we can only assume their beauty routine pays homage to their native country with Korean classics:

Hydrating toner:

Yes, double cleansing is important, but toners are the final cleansing defense in K-Beauty skincare routines. But, not all toners are created equal: it’s important to go for one that detoxifies and hydrates that the same time, like the Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner, a fan-favorite.

Dew-enhancing essence:

Essence not only gives pores a soothing, hydrated “ahh” feeling, but they also add an extra boost of hydrating that your just-cleansed skin is begging for. Due to the dewiness of their skin, we’re guessing the Parasite team used the moisturizing power of the Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence.

Light, gel-like moisturizer:

But seriously, how did the whole cast get the same luminous glow without looking greasy on stage — especially when accepting the biggest award in film while making history? The answer: (probably) a water-based gel moisturizer. Tony Moly Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Cream was definitely (maybe) on their faces for a oump glow without the greasy residue.

TLC for the under eyes:

No matter how many sleepless nights the cast must have had while filming one of the world’s most jarring movies, they looked pretty rested and ready to take on the night. So, even if Bong celebrated by rightfully partying all night, his under eyes were most likely prepped and ready with a K-Beauty staple: the Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Intensive Eye Cream, a top-rated eye product that can easily tackle dark circles and hyperpigmentation via the powers of licorice water and licorice extract.

Pore-perfecting BB cream:

There are two major anchors to K-Beauty: sun protection, and flawless complexions. So, why not fuse the two together? We can only believe that the Parasite cast reached for the ever-popular Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF 42 PA+++ to give their faces the perfect glow they had all night while protecting their pores from the harsh LA sun.

These acne patches are the quickest fix for all of your breakout woes

Breakouts are always a bummer.

Seriously, with the rise of high-tech laser facials and extremely natural-looking beard plugs, shouldn’t there be an easy fix to acne at this point? Well, while we can’t say that there’s a one-hundred percent true way to keep your skin blemish-free forever, there is a quick hack to keep petulant pimples at bay: acne patches.

SEE ALSO: 8 new face oils to upgrade to

First came the beloved sheet mask for hydration, and now the Korean beauty market has #blessed us yet again with a helping hand to patch up all of our acne woes. These tiny acne stickers work to get deep to the root of the source, and go overtime throughout the night to help absorb oil and impurities so you can wake up with significantly clearer skin. While some have microneedling technology for cysts, others are made from hydrocolloid dressings, which are great at slurping excess pus.

From playful patterns to minimalist clear patches, there’s surely an acne patch that will fit into your skincare routine. Below, take a look at some of the best acne patches for guys that will keep your breakout woes to a bare minimum.

For The Minimalist: Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots, $32

Don’t need the extra bells and whistles? Then meet this tried-and-true hero. These clear acne patches may be tiny, but their mighty formula is packed with 0.5% salicylic acid to tackle oils and impurities lurking in your pores. It’s tag-teamed with acne-fighting tea tree oil, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and oil-absorbing volcanic ash to ward off any blemish-forming bacteria, sans irritation or dryness.

For The Maximalist: Starface Hydro-Star Pimple Patches, $22

If you want a more eccentric style to your skincare routine, then allow us to introduce you to your new skincare essential. These pore-perfecting stickers not only add a little more happiness to your regimen through its fun star-shaped style and smile-plastered packaging, but they work overtime via blemish-blasting hydrocolloid to absorb fluid, shield pores from harsh bacteria and prevent you from picking or popping (which is a major no in skincare 101). The result: happier, clearer skin.

For The Daylight Treatment: Cosrx Clear Fit Master Patch, $6

Do you have one stubborn pimple that decides to pop up at the worst moment? Yeah, we’ve all been there. So, get straight to the source while you’re living your day-to-day with this ultra-clear acne patch. It has the same formula you know and trust from Cosrx’s beloved original patches, all packed into a thin and unnoticeable sticker — so you can live your life, without any pesky pimples bringing you down.

For Major Breakouts: Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch Surface, $17.99

So, you’ve got more than one pimple that’s crying out for an SOS. Instead of wasting all of your precious patches in one sitting, try out these large and in-charge patches. They’re big enough to cover major breakouts on your forehead, cheeks, chin, and body, and use hydrocolloid (an acne patch favorite) to absorb any blemish-causing oils and impurities. Plus, these patches are ultra-thin, so you can wear these while you’re out and about — or just binging Netflix, the choice is yours.

For A True Feel: ZitSticka Killa Kit, $29

Sometimes, we want our skincare to have some pain and pleasure. That’s when we reach for these patches, which are spiked with a microdart technology to mimic the feel of microneedling. It seems intimidating at first, but these gentle darts dissolve and absorb quickly into the skin, so its powerful formula of niacinamide, salicylic acid, and tea tree oil goes swiftly to the root. This kit also has alcohol swabs to quickly clean off any oils and dirt lingering on top of your skin for a clean, fresh slate.

For The CBD Obsessed: Truly CBD Acne Patches, $13

In case you don’t know, CBD has been having a moment in the skincare landscape. So, it’s no surprise that they’re popping up in our pimple patches. But, don’t be fooled, as these patches are way more than just another gimmick. They combine the powers of acne-fighting salicylic acid with calming CBD to give your pores the extra TLC they’ve been craving.

For The K-Beauty Lover: Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch, $6

The patch to start them all: this fan-favorite is a must-have for your skincare routine. This OG works overnight to extract and absorb excess oils, while adding an extra boost of much-needed hydration to your parched pores. And if you’ve got the case of night sweats, no need to sweat it: these patches are waterproof, so they’ll stick on and work their magic without any sliding or budging. Plus, they’re under $10, so it’s perfect for any skincare connoisseur’s budget.

Black men are showing us how skincare is done

PSA: everyone has a skincare routine.

Whether you opt for a 10-step regimen or a 10-in-1 bar of soap *shudders,* skincare is a part of everyone’s daily lifestyle, regardless of gender. And black men across the Twitter-sphere are reminding us of exactly that.

SEE ALSO: Nigerian men are fighting the patriarchy with beauty – literally

Last Thursday, stylist and content creator Emeka “Soouizz” Okeke had an idea that honestly should’ve existed years ago: a thread dedicated to men celebrating their skincare routines. “Let’s start a thread of black men doing skincare here pls,” he tweeted, along with a glorious picture of himself basking in a sheet mask.

One simple tweet resulted in a viral frenzy of mn sharing their glorious skincare regimens and routines. From serums to sheet masks, facial sprays to glitter, black men across the universe flocked to the Twitter thread to share their skincare hacks and secrets — and boy, did we take some notes. Take a look at our favorites from the thread, below (and make sure to write them down for your own routine!):

black man wearing glitter face mask skincare

Photo Courtesy: Twitter @slimsumthin1

https://twitter.com/urbestenemy/status/1223718325500489730