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Kehlani Talks About How Society Holds Back Women From 'Exploring Their Queerness'

Kehlani Paper Magazine.
Thom Kerr/Paper Magazine

Kehlani in Paper Magazine.

On Wednesday (June 6), PAPER magazine released its Pride Month cover story starring Kehlani's soft, shimmering visage ever so lightly licked by the petals of a sunflower peeking into the frame. It’s a newfound sweeter side to this “Honey” singer who has always felt welcome expressing all sides of her mosaic way of being.

In the interview, Kehlani recalls her unease over the labels society insists on imposing on people. For her, living as her truest self demanded that she exist in a space of fluidity and instinct.

“There's always this need to fill that binary outline out,” she said. “That's what stops a lot of people from stepping out and exploring their queerness — especially women, because they get nervous about what role they'll be 'taking on.' Once they get through that, the world just opens up.”

The increasingly popular singer has received more and more media attention as she gradually approaches the mainstream. As a multi-racial, LGBTQ-identifying woman, she has discussed encountering criticism in the past for passing in the industry.

With the release of her cover story, the artist took to Instagram to pen a message to her followers and queer people of color at large.

“When you call me brave, I have to credit those who inspire my ‘bravery’ and who I consider to be more brave than I could ever be,” she said. “As a non-black-passing, hetero-passing queer person, I don’t get nearly as much shit as some. Those who do are the very people who founded pride, who fight the hardest and deal with the most.”

Kehlani seems to be growing both into and out of herself, learning from the lessons life offers her, and leaning into the light like the flowers that surround her.

“I am an extension of your teachings and legacies,” she said. “And only hope as I grow to honor those who inspire me, and give the credit where it’s truly due.”

Read the cover story here.

 

i want to take the time to say thank you for all of the support, but also mention that when you call me brave, i have to credit those who inspire my “bravery” and who i consider to be more brave than i could ever be. as a non black passing, hetero passing queer person, i don’t get nearly as much shit as some. those who do are the very people who founded pride, who fight the hardest and deal with the most... black queer / black trans people. the most strong people i know, whilst being the most loving from my experience. thank you for your fight, i am an extension of your teachings and legacies, and only hope as i grow to honor those who inspire me, and give the credit where it’s truly due. i hope to only add ammo to this fight, and point my viewers and supporters in the direction of the ORIGIN. i love y’all. we love y’all, cuz you always loved us. bless! @papermagazine

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