“I don’t have to fight for a right to exist – I do exist.”
What exactly is Afro-punk? Essentially, it’s simply people are African descent who identify with the punk lifestyle. One of the originators of that movement is Tamar-kali, a fixture of New York’s underground scene. Taking part of her name from a Hindu goddess known as “the black one,” Tamar-Kali is distinguished by the immediately recognizable bluesy timbre of her vocals and lively stage shows. Female empowerment is a strong theme in a lot her music, and its allowed her to appeal to black women, who historically haven’t had strong representation in the punk movement.
This remix is an example of Tamar-kali’s desire to not have her music neatly categorized to a particular genre. A gumbo pot of dance, rock, funk, R&B and Hip-Hop is contained therein. The images of the women in the video are diverse, and show how their varying backgrounds and experiences are unified by a culture (punk) that embraces individual expression.
Jean Grae has no problem finding a flow over this amalgamated track. It makes you believe she’ll be ready if Miley Cyrus indeed comes calling. The lyrics present an unabashed, assertive female sexuality that intimidates some men and infatuates others. Love? For this Jean Grae persona it’s the tool a femme fatale uses as a means to an end (“My favorite trick is let make ’em believe that it’s love/ Silly thing”).
Tamar-kali’s debut album Black Bottom is available for purchase and preview below.