Photos by Salihah Saadiq
Words by Jody Amable
“I feel like in the Bay it’s OK to be weird.”
Perched on a blue sofa in Qulture Collective, a queer and POC-focused coffee shop and arts hub in Oakland, Queens D.Light has been talking about her influences, her upbringing, and life leading up to the moment she’s in now.
As a full-time artist in the Bay Area — co-founder of creative agency House of Malico, filmmaker, and rapper — she feels a little bit lucky to have grown up in, and still live in, in an area that embraces the weird. “Like, even like people from like the hood. It’s like, if you think about it, in the culture and the history of the Bay, like, Mac Dre was weird as fuck. E-40 was weird as fuck. Y’know. Digital Underground was weird as fuck. It had two personalities and like dressed as a different person — but it was embraced by the culture.”
She’s not that weird in person — the closest she comes to carrying on the whimsical legacy of Bay Area music is asking what my sign is within minutes of meeting me — but the frankness with which she discusses her points of view, her goals, and her sexuality in her music can be read as revolutionary, even in a region where standing out comes standard. Songs like “Boss Goddess,” “Queen of Zamunda,” and the title track from 2018’s Flavor of Green establish her as a whip-smart creator with wicked wit and a rare brand of self-assuredness. Being surrounded by artists unafraid to experiment has given her the freedom to take her time with her craft and explore all avenues of herself and her art. It’s brought her to this particular moment, where she has a body of work under her belt she can truly claim as her own. “Slow motion’s better than no motion…I’m hella grateful that I’m doing something that a million other girls can’t say they get to do.”
Queens D.Light is one to watch, and one to watch right now. Catch her and her revolutionary rhymes at Phono del Sol on June 15.
On how she got started: “