In honor of Pride Month, PAPER Magazineinterviewed Kehlani who is an outspoken queer artist that constantly uses her platform to uplift the LGBTQ community and raise awareness of the harsh reality that Black trans and queer people have to face.
Kehlani is a person that has no filter for her passions and thoughts, but she sometimes has to take a step back when speaking about topics, such as race and sexuality, because she is aware of the way that she is presented to the world.
She describes herself as, "a non-Black passing and Hetero passing person." She always holds herself accountable for her posts that may have been received in a way she hadn't intended. With her empathy always at the frontline, she learns from her fans and is extremely mindful of everything she says to steer clear of verbally causing harm or offending anyone.
"I have to check myself with when I do give information. I'm a bisexual woman who has been with men, and a lot of queer women are sensitive to that. I'm a mixed woman who is white presenting at times, and a lot of black people are very sensitive to that so I'm sensitive to that. And I'm a person who has mental health issues, but I live a 'stable life' in the eyes of a lot of people, so I have to be careful when I'm speaking on that."
The 23-year-old hit the R&B scene in 2014 with her debut project Cloud 19. To some listeners, the image behind the voice where delicate, rasp, and power meet came as a surprise. The colorful tattoos wrapped across her body, piercings galore, and her face tattoo of a paper airplane was a juxtaposition of the warm honey of her voice.
Her unconventional look has led her to become the target for judgment and interrogation-esque questions. In high school, she fell victim to being more masculine in relationships with a woman and more feminine with a man.
"I feel like I had to define it: I had to be gay or straight. That was a big thing I went through for a long time. I was really butchy in 11th and 12th grade because I just felt, if you like girls, this is what you're supposed to look and dress like. I wasn't comfortable with my feminine side. I was definitely like, 'If I'm touching a girl, she's not touching me back because I'm the boy.'... I only wore snapbacks, and it was really intense."
"Once I really understood that if someone likes me, they like me for all of me, I started being myself depending on how I felt that day, not based on who I was dating at the time."
With breaking down the rules and labels placed on queer women, Kehlani learned to become more comfortable with her feminine side, which is why we now see her killing fashion events with a beat face in designer dresses and six-inch heels, most recently the 2018 CFDA Awards with her now signature yellow.
She even made changes to her original PAPER cover shoot to show the soft, vibrant, and beaming light of a person she is that an outsider from first glance may not have gotten to experience. For Kehlani, fluidity means exactly that: being fluid. And her queerness doesn't place her in anyone's box.
"Why wouldn't I take such a great opportunity, which is an article to express my queerness and my fluidity, and allow the images to put me in that box? It's not going to help anyone reading this understand fluidity. It's not going to educate anyone on me, it's going to further put me in a box that I don't want to be in."
"When you truly understand the humanness of queerness, there are no rules to this shit."
Her journey of embracing her fluidity and femininity has further immersed her into the greatness that is women and her admiration for them that she loves to share to the world through her music, most notably with her anthem "Honey". (Real fans know it all started with "First Position").
"I was blown away with my first encounter with a woman. It's one thing to really know yourself and know how you react to things, but when you first start to understand and love a woman, you really almost get intimidated with how epic a woman is."
For more of Kehlani's PAPER feature for Pride Month, find the full article here.
Featured image by Jeff Kravitz/AMA2017/FilmMagic for dcp
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Ngozi Nwanji is from Silver Spring, MD and is currently a senior majoring in journalism at Temple University. Her passions include writing, Issa Rae, and music, especially 90s R&B.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Watching Angela “Blac Chyna” White’s transformation in real-time has truly been a sight to see. It wasn’t that long ago that she announced that she was reversing her cosmetic surgeries in an effort to go back to who she was before the world came to know her as Blac Chyna. In previous interviews, she stated that she was dissolving her facial and lip fillers, removing her breast implants, and getting a butt reduction, as well as removing the dimple piercings that enhanced her fame and controversial tattoos.
In a recent Tamron Hall interview, the mother of two said that she has “fully recovered” from the procedures. She is also celebrating one year of sobriety and opened up about being worried about how her new journey would be received by others.
“I’ve been in the entertainment industry for so long, right, and of course, like, you know, coming out, I’m like young, I’m gonna do wild things as we all have,” she said.
“...I feel like by me being vocal and showing everybody you can change your life and things can get better, like through myself, that right there is an accomplishment, and that’s a part of freedom, too.”
But as she started on her journey, many people have shown her grace, which is something she’s grateful for. “And then the fact that people have been showing me grace, it’s like amazing,” she said. “And I feel like when I did it, I just did it. It was more so like spiritual thing and I feel like people see that, and I’ve always been like my authentic self, so what you see is kinda what you get with me, and that’s just kinda what it is.”
Chyna, who recently received an honorary doctorate from Sacramento Theology Seminary and Bible College, has also repaired her relationship with her mom, Tokyo Toni. The social media celebrity surprised her daughter on the Tamron Hall Show. Prior to the sentimental surprise, Chyna dished on the reconciliation and having a better understanding of her mom.
“I must say, some of the things I have to take accountability for because, like my actions. As a mother, you don’t want to see your daughter doing certain things ‘cause it’s like it doesn’t matter what my past was or what we’re going through, I didn’t raise you that way,” she admitted. “So, it’s like, okay, maybe I was a little bit wrong. Maybe I was acting out a little bit. But I feel like as we grow older, I kinda see more, and I understand more.”
Chyna will be starring in season two of Fox's reality competition show Special Forces: World's Toughest Test.
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Feature image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images