Mykki Blanco lights up the Blue Moose

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By Brett Shaw

Brett-e-shaw@uiowa.edu

Hanging from the rafters, throwing trash cans, whipping a tutu in the face of her fans, Mykki Blanco’s performance at Blue Moose on April 6 was anything but typical. What could have been a simple rap concert was transformed into an artful and rebellious masterpiece.

On the third day of Mission Creek Festival, a young crowd of high-spirited individuals gathered for a night of freedom and excitement provided by Blanco. Known for her gender-bending performances and supportive voice in the queer and black communities, Blanco is a beacon of acceptance for minority and outcast groups.

“No matter the climate, no matter the tension, I love beautiful queer people,” Blanco said during her show.

She stayed true to her diva aesthetic (thanks to technical difficulties) and came on stage 20 minutes late. However, the bohemian crowd was not bothered, enthusiastically partaking in conversations with friends and dancing to the pulsating club music.

Blanco arrived looking slumber-party chic in a sheer lingerie gown and a ruffled, pink tutu as she greeted her fans in full drag. Throughout the evening, Blanco progressively tore apart her outfit, throwing her hyper-femininity in the audience’s faces (literally). Blanco demonstrated the full spectrum of her abstract concepts of gender, ending her show wigless and almost naked.

Blanco either pranced or stomped about the stage, performing songs from her EPs and recently released album, Mykki. With beats supplied from her DJ, Sissy Elliot, Blanco poetically and passionately delivered heavy verses.

Her sounds ranged from the dreamlike flows of “Loner” to the headbanging, moshpit inducing characteristics of what I will just refer to as “The Colosseum Song.” When Blanco created a circles around herself in the center of the audience, she would call it her Colosseum.

More notable than her rapping capabilities were the theatricality and air of radicality in Blanco’s show. Taking on the persona of a girl writing in her diary or of a gladiator swinging the mic stand like a club, she strongly committed to the art of her performance.

The entire venue was Blanco’s stage. She went into the crowd. She stood up on the bench railing. She hung from the ceiling. The show was less of watching a performance but rather being a part of truly connecting with the artist.

In addition to her music, Blanco also performed spoken-word poems and advocated for issues that she believes in.

“Protect black children; protect trans women,” she commanded repeatedly. She also voiced her support of queer rights and putting an end to the stigma still surrounding HIV.

When the performance ended with Blanco, wig in hand, laid bare in her masculine form, she briefly left stage before continuing to celebrate with the rest of the attendees to share what I am sure was a night of liberation.

 

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