Feministing Jamz: Jam of the week – The High by Kelela

After putting out the incredible mixtape Cut 4 Me late last year, Kelela’s had folks turning their heads and perking up their ears. Born in Washington, DC to Ethiopian immigrant parents, Kelela has described her sound as Brandy but weirder, which…how can you say no to that? Weird Brandy is everything I never knew I needed! But for real though, she’s that and so much more – I cannot recommend you listen to her mixtape enough if you haven’t yet.

One of the things I really love about Kelela is the way she’s talked about how coming from an immigrant family has influenced her art:

Pitchfork: On the mixtape, you’re constantly grappling with this challenging music—there’s this dual magnetic attraction and resistance to it. What was the precedent for that for you?

Kelela Mizanekristos: It makes me want to cry actually, because it’s the experience of being outside and inside simultaneously. But at this point, it’s working to my advantage; after growing up inside of a context that you are so familiar with but also feel outside of, you learn to sit on top of it.

This sentiment – the familiarity, the insider/outsider feelings – is something a lot of folks who grew up in immigrant families or who immigrated young can identify with, and I feel like I can hear the beauty that diaspora has brought to her music.

Kelela’s just announced a few dates, and has blessed us with another exquisite and super sexy new track with which to feast our ears as a teaser to the new material she’s planning to show us there.

Check it out!

March 12 to March 14 – Austin, TX @ South By Southwest
April 2 – Los Angeles @ The Echo (tickets)
April 3 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade NYC (tickets)

1bfea3e7449eff65a94e2e55a8b7acda-bpfullVerónica is in love with the beauty and resilience of immigrants and the art we make.

New York, NY

Verónica Bayetti Flores has spent the last years of her life living and breathing reproductive justice. She has led national policy and movement building work on the intersections of immigrants' rights, health care access, young parenthood, and LGBTQ liberation, and has worked to increase access to contraception and abortion, fought for paid sick leave, and demanded access to safe public space for queer youth of color. In 2008 Verónica obtained her Master’s degree in the Sexuality and Health program at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She loves cooking, making art, listening to music, and thinking about the ways art forms traditionally seen as feminine are valued and devalued. In addition to writing for Feministing, she is currently spending most of her time doing policy work to reduce the harms of LGBTQ youth of color's interactions with the police and making sure abortion care is accessible to all regardless of their income.

Verónica is a queer immigrant writer, activist, and rabble-rouser.

Read more about Verónica

Join the Conversation