Boyfriend
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Boyfriend

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo Pop Cabaret

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This awesome sex-positive anthem by New Orleans rapper Boyfriend celebrates the pleasure (tee-hee!) of self-love. This is a perfect one to listen to in bed after he passes out from another hot, spicy evening of him jackhammering your snatch for six minutes and then collapsing into a snoring heap of one-sided post-coital bliss. Your bod deserves lovin’ too, so treat yourself like the grown-ass woman you are while softly jamming to this tune on your headphones at a low volume and trying to keep your moans at whisper-level. - Reductress


Just leave it to raunchy, sex-positive New Orleans rapper Boyfriend to figure out what love means. At least, that’s the goal of her latest single, “Love Means,” which incorporates both clichés and inverted expectations of romance to form an unlikely yet undeniably compelling view of love. We’ve got the premiere of a thick, trippy remix for “Love Means” by New Orleans DJ DXXXY, whose contribution is, among other things, making a version of the song that is perhaps the only instance in history of a Boyfriend single that’s FCC clean:

Boyfriend is an art teacher during the day and closely guards her real identity. She calls her particular brand of performance art Rap Cabaret, which is audible in her music and clear in her live show. As long as she has used the stage name Boyfriend, she has always been full of sex-positive lady-swagger. Her catalogue of songs (like “Love Means”) demand sexual fulfillment and dispense with ideas of female sexuality being tied to submission or a “ladylike” demeanor. She often performs in wedding dresses, bustiers, and fanny packs (often all at once), and people in the front row of any show can assume they will find their faces intimately close to Boyfriend at one or many points during the night. The point of this approach, Boyfriend has said, is to bring sexuality and sex lives in from the periphery of our lives. If we talk about sex honestly, and accept what we like, everyone comes out (as it were) happier and healthier.

What’s refreshing about Boyfriend is not only who she is, but who she’s not. She is not appropriating in order to be taken seriously as a rapper, as are other notable white female rappers, nor is she cleaning up her message to be a Top-40 star. She wants attention, but she wants it precisely on her terms. Boyfriend is a character, and she’s funny, but she’s not a joke.

Boyfriend answered a few questions for this premiere via email. Her responses were as intriguing and enigmatic as the rapper herself. - Bitch


THE BEST


BOYFRIEND New Orleans rapper Boyfriend knows how to command a space, even when that space is a wrestling ring. As she danced, stomped and rolled her way around the space, tossing gifts out in to the audience, occasionally borrowing hats and sunglasses and getting up close to sing to different members of the crowd, I couldn't pull my eyes away from her set.

Her songs are good, though, the good type of repetitive-catchy, but actually seeing her perform -- and the chaos that comes with it -- makes them shine. After the set, I was told it was only a taste of what her shows are like. If you'll excuse me, I'll be kicking myself for missing her set at Fitz last week. - Houston Press


With just enough eye-catching extrapolation—and a due amount of reverence—Printing House founder and CEO Frances Guevara has reinterpreted the iconic undergarment Madonna made famous into a 3D-printed, light-up design. Commissioned by the New Orleans underground rapper Boyfriend for her upcoming tour, Guevara's gleaming performance-wear is a futuristic take on Jean-Paul Gaultier’s original design for Madonna's Blond Ambition Tour. In conical outcroppings of 3D-printed nylon, the piece mimics the cosmos with rings of linear cutouts which glow with the light of multicolored LEDs.

"The cutouts are modeled off of timelapse images of the sky, where the light of the stars reveal these rhythmic patterns," Guevara tells The Creators Project. "Time is again referenced, more immediately with the lights themselves. They can be programmed to change color or blink with the beat of the music. This interactive feature gives the wearer an added layer of choreography."

To create the cones, Guevara performed a full 3D body scan of the rapper, sculpting the product in Rhino specifically to fit Boyfriend’s body. After her design was complete, Innovative Digital Manufacturing of Louisiana (IDM) printed the brassiere in four separate Nylon 12 pieces using Stratasys' Fortus 400mc. Held together by magnets, these moving parts allow the rapper to remove the cones to adjust the LEDs for a full-spectrum spectacle we think the Queen of Pop would love. - Vice's The Creator's Project


Boyfriend labels herself as a “femme fatale rapper,” and when you listen to her music, you’ll immediately understand why. Formerly known as Flannery Mitchell, the nerdy MC dropped her Love Your Boyfriend, Pt. 2 EP last year and it’s full of catchy tongue-in-cheek tracks that will make you laugh while throwing down on the dance floor. On stage she performs “rap cabaret,” which she personally describes as an “intellectual strip tease, a visit to the club with your college professor.” Boyfriend’s upcoming Love Your Boyfriend, Pt. 3 EP will be released sometime this year.

For now, listen to Boyfriend’s brand new “Attention (Boogie T Remix),” below—in an email to NYLON, she said that the song is “an anthem for the ignored. For everyone who feels alone in love.” You can also catch Boyfriend on tour now with Big Freedia and Hibou. - Nylon


The mysterious, raunchy feminist rapper from New Orleans won over the crowd with her witty, supremely NSFW songs about love triangles and menstruation, and secured our undying devotion with the giant fannypack full of goodies she dispensed with elán. - NPR


In the spirit of summer love (or rather, summer hookups and sex), we present you with Boyfriend. Teacher by day, cabaret rapper by night, we watched the 25-year-old striptease, gyrate, and motorboat on Monday night at Baby’s All Right. She captured the crowd’s attention just like she commands a classroom full of 5-12 year old kids and probably dominates in the bedroom or on the kitchen counter. Instead of giving children candy, however, she drew people toward the stage with her provocative performance, by throwing coffee and peanuts, and offering a double issue of Sports Illustrated, but first asking the recipient’s preference: “tits or ass?”

Few people came knowing what to expect and clearly wanted to know what was going on as Boyfriend unbuttoned her vintage magenta granny dress to reveal a corset and high-waisted Spanx. Eyebrows rose even higher and chants of “boyfriend69.com” grew louder as she removed the corset and performed the remainder of the show in underwear, a black and purple lace bra and chunky black platform shoes.

At first her videos enticed us to learn more, but her performance amplified the interest, so we sat down with Boyfriend the day after her show and talked about everything from sexuality to Flannery O’Connor, Kurt Vonnegut and religion. Her upcoming EP, Love Your Boyfriend, is scheduled to debut in August, but we’re giving you an exclusive preview of the song “Say You Will.” We recently spoke to her about how she started rapping, how she balances it with her day job, and what her family thinks of all this. (Disclaimer: in attempt to keep her double lives separate, the New Orleans rapper wouldn’t expose her real name. Sorry. We tried.)

Did you always want to be a teacher?
No, dude. I’d never even babysat and then I got this job. I never saw it coming. I was doing PR and event planning for a non-profit, but then this opened up, I moved to New Orleans, and I’ve been doing it for two years.

How long have you been into singing and performing?
About two years as well. My first video came out in February 2012—“Hunch n Munch.” That, to me, is the birth of Boyfriend. I did seven videos in 2012 and 13 in 2013.

Wow. That’s a lot of videos.
I worked in production before education, so that is one thing I feel comfortable doing. It’s hard to write a song without having visuals. Writing the song and then listening to it, trying to think of ideas—that’s a blast.

Your music is so different from being a teacher. Is there a switch you flip?
There’s a switch, but it’s one of those fader, dimming switches in fancy dining rooms. We all are complex human beings and we all have multiple selves within ourselves. I’m just tapping into the dirty, raunchy one at certain times and then the inner moral compass when I’m with the kids. But I like to think it’s a cohesive being, that I’m not split down the middle.

How do you see aspects of your music infiltrate teaching and vice versa?
The live shows are where I see the biggest crossover. When I’m standing in front of a room of chattering kids, I know how to get their attention. I know how to get a room full of chattering hipsters’ attention, too. Give them candy, you know? That’s probably the biggest merger of the two, although I would never take off my clothes in the classroom. [laughs]

Your music would not be the same without such a performance. When you’re on stage do you feel like you’re wearing a persona?
That’s when Boyfriend is really getting to be Boyfriend. When I’m on stage I have the microphone. No one can leave a YouTube comment. No one can ask me a question. That’s when I’m able to tell you and show you what I’m doing. A lot of people have trouble figuring out, “who is this girl? what’s going on?” when they just see the videos or hear the music. The live show brings it together and is my thesis.

In your opening paragraph what would you say?
I always go back to rap cabaret because people approach cabaret and theater with a willing suspension of disbelief. They know they’re going into something that’s a show. I ask people to approach Boyfriend—whether it’s the music videos or live show—with the same approach. I’m not an Angel Haze or an artist speaking from this place of “this is who I am.” I veer into thematic territories and participate in commentary. Rap game Bette Midler is another phrase: it’s a little tongue-in-cheek. It’s a wink and nudge.

I think it’s a little more than that. [both laugh] So where do you look for inspiration?
Everywhere. I watch on average five music videos a day, constantly consume media, and read, read, read. I think of myself as a sponge absorbing my environment—be that waiting in line at the bank or watching YouTube—and when you squeeze my brain some dirty dishwater comes out. Sometimes you realize the things you say conversationally, if you repeat them a couple times over a beat, you get a chorus. It can be that simple.

But rapping in and of itself is a talent. Have you always done that or just one day…
I just one day stumbled into it. I would occasionally drunkenly freestyle at parties, which I would never do now. It always came easily. Part of it—I’ve never told anybody this—part of it is that I come from a family of musicians who are really talented and I’ve never had a voice like my sister. She can blow your pants off with her voice. I can carry a tune, but I would by no means consider myself a singer or a vocalist. I wasn’t confident in writing a song to sing, but I was like, “I can do this. Nobody in my family is rapping.”

What does your family think of Boyfriend?
It’s been well received, but I was terrified. This past Thanksgiving I was nauseated during dinner. My family is from rural Georgia and Alabama so I didn’t want them to know, but there was this great moment when I was talking about it with my cousin quietly in the corner and my super conservative, silent, stoic uncle—who has maybe said two words to me ever—looked at me and was like, “I get it.” He’s the type who I thought would never speak to me again if he knew. It’s been humbling to realize I should not judge these people just because they still go to church.

What are some of the strangest reactions you’ve received?
After every show I have couples like, “We’ve been watching your videos,” or “my wife loves you. My girlfriend loves you. My boyfriend loves you.” That’s awesome to think there are couples digging Boyfriend together. I hope I’m contributing to their love life.

I’m sure they get a little inspiration. Are you dating anybody?
Boyfriend can’t have a boyfriend. I’m not an inherently monogamous person. I like girls and guys, so it’s hard for any one person to satiate my needs. I’m young, so I put me first, and then in two-hour increments put someone else first in the bedroom.

If you could have a conversation with anybody—past, present, fictional, non-fictional—who would it be and what would you talk about?
Immediately three people pop into my mind: Joni Mitchell because I heard in an interview that she does not consider herself a musician. She considers herself a painter. Here’s this person who is arguably one of the best lyricists of all time who doesn’t even consider herself to be a lyricist. That blows my mind. I want to hear more.

Kurt Vonnegut helped me leave the church. He was this cushion into atheism or agnosticism. During my senior year of high school I was directing one of his plays and he passed away a week later. My dad and I were going to take a road trip to see him speak for my graduation gift, but he died, so I feel this sense of “Ah! That was taken from me.”

The third is Flannery O’Connor because she was in chronic pain and had to be recluse, yet wrote these tender stories and had a farm of peacocks. She trained one bird to walk backwards, which is almost impossible. I was reading her short stories at the same time I was falling out of my religion and they were such a comfort and guide, even though she apparently stayed fast in Catholicism. I would love to have that conversation with her—first of all, how did you train that bird to walk backwards? Second of all, what about god?

What do you think about god?
I was raised Church of Christ and the Bible is their doctrine, so they have a very literal interpretation of the text, which manifests itself in strange ways. Like, you can’t have instruments in worship and women aren’t allowed to talk in the church. On more than one occasion, I’ve had an elder’s wife come up to me and kindly ask that I not wear that top to church again. I had some tig ol’ bitties as a little middle schooler.

And then you fell out of that.
Yeah. Now my god is science. I just went to the Grand Canyon and it was the most comforting thing, thinking of the world being so much bigger than we are. I remember when I used to believe in god and feel like there was this man near me all the time qualifying whether what I was doing was right or wrong. That wasn’t comforting. I’m much more inspired when I watch an episode of Animal Planet. - BULLETT


Despite the fact that, as she puts it, Boyfriend is relatively “underground,” she’s already experienced a bit of criticism for “joining in on the dance party on hip-hop’s grave.” But she’d contest that hip-hop isn’t dead yet, and if she’s dancing on anything it’s gender norms. This teacher-by-day and self-proclaimed “raunchy" rapper-by-night thinks there’s “room for everyone.” HuffPost Entertainment talked with the New Orleans artist and former English major about sex positivity, stripping and the hardest parts of switching out of teacher mode.

So, you refuse to reveal your real name. What's the story there?
Kind of just playing into this concept as the Boyfriend as a character overall. I vary very much from the way that I look to the way that I pose myself on camera, even the sonic qualities of the song. I want people to approach it almost as a Vaudeville sideshow, rather than a tight, cohesive package. You know a lot of bands, they seek to have each video follow the next and match. And I think it helps people to think of me just as Boyfriend. But then also, I don’t want the people that I work with (laughs) to necessarily link the two, considering some of the things that I say. So, that’s part of the double life going on.

Teaching ages 5 to 12 must be quite a jarring daytime reality. How do you deal with the transition?
You know, I wake up for work at 9, get home at 7:30 p.m., and I’m like, “Okay, let’s write a raunchy rap song." But I approach my life, as I hope most people do, as a cohesive place of honesty. While I’m working with kids I just know better than to ever say those things. Although, I feel like most people do push their sex lives out to the edges of their life, where they’re only allowed to be that person, you know, depending on how many drinks they’ve had, and who they’re underneath, and what the lighting is like and how many pounds they weigh that weekend. I think, if you’re kind of dirty and you like to get choked, you should be that person all the time. And you’re kind of sweet and loving and you want to kiss whoever you’re dating in public, then you should do that all the time. I mean, have the wherewithal to be appropriate. You know, people, I think, compartmentalize it a little too much. So, I don’t do that. I just know when to hold myself in.

So, is that sex positivity part of the message you’d like to communicate with your work?
Absolutely. That would be the closest thing to a goal that some of my songs have. Many of them are geared towards having fun and making fun of stereotypes. But the one thing I do take seriously is challenging all people, and especially women, to take a more graceful perspective on their sexuality.

And is there anything from your past that inspired you to take that approach?
I grew up in a pretty conservative world in Nashville. I was a church going gal and I remember feeling ashamed of my body, and wrong and dirty. Things like, you know, I’d wear a certain top to church and, you know, I’d get this message filtered through that aisle, that, “Oh, you know, the elders requested you not wear that top to church.” And that feeling, you know, I’m 12 years old and I can’t help it that I got my period at 11 and I have these big old boobies. At that point in my life, I really loved Jesus, and to be made ashamed of being shaped the way that I was, I was somehow sinning was terrible and it’s definitely stunted my creative growth. And I know that there are a lot of people that are made to feel that way, whether or not it’s in the name of god or in the name of decency. People need to lighten up! America is such a sexual place, but no one wants to talk about it.

One complicated aspect of being sex positive in such a slut-shaming culture is the criticism that sexual expression is simply playing into the male gaze. How do you interpret or counter than inherent contradiction?
That is the crucial tight rope that we all walk. My mantra is: form and intention. I strip on stage, because I think it adds to the cabaret, theater element that I’m trying to bring to the stage. And it’s fun and it’s empowering and it makes people approach the show differently than they would a typical concert. I’m definitely not doing it to try and make people like me more. I do it because it’s the honest thing that Boyfriend would do. I feel like that’s always the key: Did that idea come from your art itself and the message you’re trying to send or did it come from a desperation for an audience? For example, people say strippers are being demeaned. What about the super intelligent, self-aware strippers, who go into it because they want a flexible work schedule and they enjoy showing off their body? I think it really is a case by case basis.

Speaking of strippers, you mentioned you strip during shows. Tell me what a typical Boyfriend performance is like.
I come on stage, and I put on lipstick, and I just make myself comfortable on the stage. You’d be surprised by how much that alone will make people start to pay attention. The whole show is kind of an exchange of energy from the audience. I always have prizes and costume changes and audience participation. It’s a very dynamic show and I want to even push that element even more.

And how has the New Orleans art scene shaped or inspired that?
If anything, I have to rely on my stage presence more. I just have my little voice up there with a mic, I don’t have the whole brass band behind me. I have to get the audience’s attention some other way.

How about the burlesque culture?
I don’t want to undermine the amazing burlesque scene that’s here, I myself just haven’t gotten into it. I certainly pull from burlesque. I’ve started a show dressed entirely in balloons and let people pop them off me. Little classic tricks of the trade like that. More of my inspiration comes from watching musicals and the idea of showmanship.

Any specific figures that inspire you?
I listen to powerful chicks, you know, Joni Mitchell, Erykah Badu and, of course, we all bow down to Beyonce. You know, but I’m clearly not taking cues from them. I grew up in the world of country music.I listened to some rap, but it wasn’t a conscious seeking out of it. Now that I have chosen it as my art form, I am trying to educate myself a little more, but at the same time I don’t feel myself being influenced by it. I feel like I’m doing my own thing.

What would you say is the key difference between you and the rappers you listen to?
Well, a lot of people are rapping from this place of authenticity. Angel Haze is a great example. Whereas, I’m not rapping about my life. Boyfriend is rapping about Boyfriend’s life, if that makes sense. Boyfriend is talking about the music sees and the videos that Boyfriend sees and is participating in that far more than Boyfriend is, like, “Here’s what I did today.” It’s more about commentary.

Much of that is communicated through literary references, do you ever worry about being seen as a parody or novelty act?
That is the crucial question. I think a lot of the difference is the originality of it. I don't think I'm parodying so much as satirizing. I'm looking at broad strokes and then, kind of, diluting them down into three-minute messages in a song. Really, I hope that my flow speaks for itself. In the process of turning this genre or this trend on its ear, I want my audience to be just really enjoying the song.

And do you ever doubt you can effectively move into a space that is primarily defined as a celebration of black masculinity. Is there a place for white lady rappers?
I think that there’s room for all of us. People have already said about me that I’m “joining in on the dance party on the grave of hip hop.” But that’s hilarious to me. Whoever said that hip hop is dead? And if it’s really dead, did that happen because Kitty Pryde had a viral video? I really that that change will come. Given the expanse of people’s tastes and and interests, there really is room for all of us. Anyone that watches my videos can see that I’ve got a wink and a nudge going on. I’m definitely saying, “Hey, I’m sexy,” while going, “Hey, nudge, nudge, nudge, don’t you think I’m sexy?” What sets me apart is that I see there are a lot of tropes to play with and I’m down to play with all of them. - Huffington Post


From the art school-educated street urchin antics of Kreayshawn and her White Girl Mob to the couture-wearing, booty-shaking schtick of Iggy Azalea, we've seen a bunch of white lady rappers come up lately in this post-Gillette era. But it wasn't until New Orleans-based Boyfriend came along that we saw a rapper wearing granny glasses and thrift shop blouses while rapping about period sex and dildos. And while it might be tempting to write off the raunchy rhymes and a look pulled from the Williamsburg Buffalo Exchange as gimmicky, Boyfriend's got flow.

Talking to the artist the phone, Boyfriend (she wouldn't reveal her real name), explained how she got started in the rap game. "I don't play a single instrument," she said. "I'm the weird member of my family because I come from an entire family of songwriters. My dad is a country music songwriter with thirteen #1 songs...but I would freestyle drunkenly on occasion and I realized I was kind of good at it. Then I actually started writing and tried to sculpt more structure into my songs." And, after recording her first track "Hunch and Munch" two years ago, Boyfriend was born.

"[Boyfriend] is a word everyone feels some way about," she says on the topic of how she came up with the name. "Everyone either says, 'I want a boyfriend.' 'I love my boyfriend.' 'My boyfriend drives me crazy.' I also like the gender ambiguity to it."

And what does her Southern family think of lyrics like, "I'll make your balls burst, how sexy I screw it / But ladies come first, if I ain't creamin', you blew it"?

"My dad, ironically, is super into it. He might be my #1 fan," she says, laughing. "He gets it. He separates what I'm saying with the visual imagery that might haunt his dreams. My mom is a little tentative because, like most middle-aged women, she's super into Facebook and is afraid some cousin in Alabama is going to see one of my videos and say, 'You did a terrible job raising her.'"

We're psyched to premiere the video for her new track, "Swanky," and we think this might one of the few jams even a mother could love. "It's about how you can be swanky without having a bunch of money," Boyfriend says. "I was tired of hearing the word 'swag' everywhere. It's so dead. I was trying to find the next word like that and I like the connotation of 'swanky' because it doesn't point to any socio-economic status."

Give it a watch, above, and keep your eye out for her forthcoming LP, Love Your Boyfriend, that she describes as "what Alanis Morisette would do if she made a rap album." And, if you're in NOLA, catch her performing alongside Action Bronson at Mardi Gras this March. - PAPER Mag


oyfriend is the newest rap cabaret artist to break into the music scene. Bold and unashamed, Boyfriend is here to point out things that ‘polite society’ doesn’t want to look at too closely – menstruation, masturbation and unrequited love, among other provocative issues. In the process of sending a message through her music that eschews shame and embarrassment, she lays bare –not women’s issues, rather issues society has with women.

Click here to listen to her song, “Attention (Boogie T Remix)”- https://soundcloud.com/xoboyfriend/attention-boogie-t-remix

Learn more about Boyfriend in the following All Access interview:

Thanks for your time today! How’s 2016 been treating you so far? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for you and your music?

2016 has been lovely, if fleeting. I’d say a highlight of 2015 was touring our great nation with Big Freedia – such a joyful time, with the holidays approaching and all.

Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Was your family supportive of you?

boyfriend2Growing up I wanted to drive a hunter-green Jaguar and lay by the neighbor’s pool all day and I recall hearing vaguely tropical music waft over the fence along with the scent of suntan lotion. I’m very close with my family, and they’re very supportive (although they gave me a navy-blue BMW, which was a little tone-deaf in my opinion).

I’m curious to know why you decided to go by ‘Boyfriend’? Why not just go by your own name?

Boyfriend is my own name, and I chose it for myself because it is a word with great weight & significance. All around the world there are folks chattering about me already and they don’t even know it yet!

Can you describe what your unique style of cabaret is all about? Where did you come up with it?

I simply reached up and snatched a few tangible images from the collective unconscious. The boudoir and Broadway settings were within comfortable reach for me, as if I were always meant to be lounging in satin… I suppose you could say I came up with it in the bath.

How did your song “Tomorrow” come together? What was the inspiration for it?

Carpe Diem honey, don’t try to buy my future. I’m very put-off by the sense of entitlement certain lovers feel to my intimacy, as if access to the bedroom allows them access to all the rooms. (It doesn’t.)

So how was your show at SXSW? What was the cupcake fight all about? How did it get started?

SXSW was delicious, if controversial. I typically bring treats for the audience members – candy, prizes. Lately I’ve been bringing a few cupcakes for the loyal handful on the front row, but I decided that wasn’t fair, the back row should have a taste too. They were gourmet, cream cheese icing, the works! So rather than 6, I brought 6 dozen (it was actually 300 cupcakes but “6 dozen” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?).

boyfriend3What’s been a favorite show of yours in the past? What’s been a favorite show that you’ve attended and watched?

Honestly the SXSW show was a highlight, perhaps because we ended it outside, marching down 6th street covered in icing. I recently saw Burt Bacharach with the Nashville Symphony – it was a favorite certainly.

Where do you get the inspiration for your music and ultimately your performances as well?

Oh from living and surviving here! From growing up under the expectations of the female gender, escaping the oppression of conservative morality, overhearing conversations at the grocery store, etc.

Who are some of your favorite artists? What musicians have continued to inspire you year after year? Who would you love to work with in the future?

I love Carol Burnett & Elvis Costello. Babs has stayed with me through the years. I’d say it’s not too late to work with all three of them if we can simply get our schedules aligned!

At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?

I hope listeners take away the call to listen! I fear most folks consume media in quite a passive, nonchalant state of mind, not really noticing the messaging that creeps its way into their inner sense of reasoning.

boyfriend4Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?

Oh just to stay tuned, as always, and to take time for a bubble bath every now and then (even the fellas!). - All Access


JACKSON — New Orleans rapper Boyfriend sat in the green room at Proud Larry's, a venue and restaurant at Oxford, Miss., on Saturday, April 9, reapplying her lip liner—always a last-minute touch before she takes the stage. There was only about an hour until show time when owner Scott Caradine and the venue's management team asked to speak with her.

"Honestly, I thought I was getting in trouble because of cupcakes," Boyfriend says with a laugh. "I thought they were going to be like, 'Where are you hiding the cupcakes? We know you brought some.'"

Instead, Caradine told her they may have to cancel the show, citing recent trouble with state officials threatening to remove venues' licenses for presenting sexually charged live shows. Her live show combines music with theatrical and burlesque elements to complement her often-sexual lyricism.

In February, the Mississippi Alcohol Beverage Control prompted The Dollar Box Showroom in Hattiesburg to cancel the performance of another New Orleans artist, Big Freedia, for "gyrating." Caradine told the Jackson Free Press that, ultimately, the decision came down to the uncertainty about what is and is not legal for live performances in the state of Mississippi, and he thought it would be best to postpone the show until that was clear.

Boyfriend says she was disappointed to waste the pre-show adrenaline and to not be able to perform for her Mississippi fans, many of whom would be arriving at Proud Larry's within an hour. At the same time, she says, she recognized the position the venue was in.

"Scott is a really intelligent and articulate person, and when he voiced his concerns to me, I totally did understand," she says. "I told him, 'If it would be me who'd be persecuted and might wind up in handcuffs after the show, then we're doing it. I'm walking upstairs right now.' But because it would be him and his business that would be put at risk, that's not a very ladylike thing to do, to insist on me moving forward."

#Boyfriend is currently touring to promote her latest album, "Love Your Boyfriend, Pt. 3," which she released independently on iTunes, Amazon and other digital retailers on March 18. After existing as an "Internet-only" artist for a while, Boyfriend says, she initially had trouble making a dent in the boisterous brass bands in the New Orleans music scene. As a fan of both Broadway plays and burlesque, she decided to infuse them into her performances. Her show has been structured similarly for about two years, she says, and the cancellation at Proud Larry's was the first time that has caused issues.

"A lot of people in New Orleans come to see the music, and yes, they're respectful of music, and yes, they're watching the musicianship, but they're also catching up with friends, drinking beers, laughing and talking," she says. "Those louder instruments kind of carry their own above chatter, whereas I could not. So I knew that if I took this away from concert and toward theater, then it would demand audiences' attention a little differently. Burlesque is a very natural element of the boudoir and something I'm very interested in. I think it's one of the classiest, oldest and political forms of performance out there."

Caradine told Boyfriend that it wasn't in his policy to ask artists to edit their performances, but that was the only way he could feel comfortable continuing with the show without risking his license. They talked for only about a minute, considering which elements of Boyfriend's stage act could be made less explicit. Boyfriend says she began thinking of her more sexual lyrics and wondering whether she would have to cut numbers from her show. In the end, she and Caradine agreed that postponing the concert would be the best course of action.

"There's no way to really edit a performance that's set entirely in the boudoir," Boyfriend says. "I perform in my 'living room' in my dressing gown, and my dancers are burlesque dancers. So whether you swap out pasties for a feather boa or a merkin for a G-string, the nature of the performance stays the same, and I think it's the nature of the performance that ultimately would be the risk."

Despite the setback, Boyfriend says she plans to return to Mississippi soon. She equates the response from the cancellation to part of Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." In the story, Sawyer was tasked with whitewashing a fence but instead tricks the neighborhood children into doing the chore for him by telling them it's a special job only for him. It's working in both directions, she says: Mississippians want to see Boyfriend because they couldn't, and Boyfriend wants to play in Mississippi because she wasn't allowed.

"It's definitely not the end of that," she says. "At this point, I'm watching all the Mississippians whitewash the fence, and I want my turn. You took it away, so I want it even more. We'll find a way to come back. Maybe it's a loophole, or maybe it's just a way to where I'd be the one to be persecuted instead of the venue owner. Something I'm not prepared to do is ask someone to put their livelihood at risk on behalf of my business. But I can be the one at risk. That's fair."

For more information, visit rapcabaret.com. - Jackson Free Press


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Boyfriend has been called a “mysterious, raunchy feminist” by NPR, a “sex-positive English nerd” by Huffington Post  and “endearingly weird” by Paper Magazine  but perhaps, like the Grand Canyon, she is best witnessed in the flesh. Fresh off a national tour with Big Freedia, Boyfriend just released the third and final installment of her Love Your Boyfriend project, a set of EPs that has caught the attention of Bullett, Earmilk, Dazed & Perez Hilton. 

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