Clique x Mykki Blanco
We met Michael Quattlebaum Jr., a.k.a. Mykki Blanco, on his recent trip to Paris. This is a man who breaks the mould in every conceivable way. A man who dresses up as women in the hyper-macho and sometimes homophobic world of rap. Mykki first came to the attention of the internet in 2012, with a series of performances that blurred gender distinctions. He refuses to be categorised, instead navigating from community to community, and reminding us at every turn that he is simultaneously black, Jewish and gay. A few months ago, Michael Quattlebaum Jr announced on Twitter that he was HIV positive.
The American rapper gave a concert at Le Gibus in Paris on Wednesday 5 November. Clique took advantage of his being in town to talk to him about his background, his inspirations, and the recent controversy surrounding gay blood donors.
Mouloud Achour: “Do you realise that you are more hardcore than all the hardcore rappers?”
Mykki Blanco: “I really don’t think there is still a hardcore female voice out there, other than Nicki Minaj. Nicki Minaj is Nicki Minaj. So she’s, like, incomparable. Nicki Minaj is one of the best rappers ever.”
Mykki Blanco: “I have been called a faggot since I was 6 or 7 years old.”
Mouloud Achour: “How do you react when you are a kid and you hear that?”
Mykki Blanco: “As a kid, people are always saying things, but over the years, it accumulates to this thing where you’re like, ‘OK, this is a difference, and since I can’t hide this difference I’m going to manifest it in a different way’. For different personality types, it manifests in a different way. As I got older, [I realised that] most of the most interesting and talented people in the world are gay.”