Princess Nokia at ACL Fest: Celebrate who you are AND who you like

·3 min read

The “Harlem babe with the Harlem shake” arrived Saturday at Austin City Limits Music Festival's T-Mobile stage with just one goal: Combat stigmas pertaining to sexual health and wellness.

Celebrate who you are and what you like, she constantly reminded ACL Fest fans, before pausing briefly to request colder water from staffers because she said she’s asthmatic. But even that led to a good, charged joke from the rapper: “I had to lubricate my throat.”

“I have the libido of a 13-year-old boy,” she also bragged onstage, before segueing suddenly into “Jesus Loves Me” a capella.

Here are five key things we learned during the boastful and fun Zilker performance by the self-described “Black-a-Rican” tomboy bruja.

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Princess Nokia is an American original.

Coming out to her DJ playing Prodigy’s “Firestarter,” and afterward “American Woman,” the acclaimed hip-hop star sported green hair and a Kirby-from-Nintendo backpack, and shot the front row with a water gun. All before performing a word.

She moaned in between songs. She wore a Tito’s vodka bandana.

On “Diva,” she shouted-out noted icons in music like Selena and Shakira and Christina Aguilera.

“I feel like a goddess, I feel like a diva,” she sang while effectively making the case elevating her status.

She’s a Gemini with a heart of gold.

At ACL Fest, she was consistently gracious in all onstage banter.

Yes, she wants to “induce sexual awakening” onstage. But only because doing so celebrates the beautiful and diverse fans before her, she emphasized twice.

She regularly said she was humbled by the occasion, saying how “appreciative” she was to be here. It was doubled-sided like the Gemini she is: Being aggressively friendly so that it stings less when she raps about how she is with your girlfriend at this very second and, by the way, “her spit tastes like Juicy Fruit.”

For Princess Nokia, sexual awareness is not apolitical.

Like other ACL 2022 artists, recent restrictions to abortion rights nationwide sparked words of protest onstage. For Nokia, thoughts were direct and rapid-fire, offering all-in-one affirmations to fans between songs, such as “Abortion rights and trans rights across the southern Bible Belt!”

She is a good rapper because she pens one-liners that are familiar but original.

I really like the lyric, “I got the juice, I got the Hi-C” because it’s effortless and evocative and makes me think of McDonald’s. Great writing is oddly specific and funny.

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She left the stage as she came, dancing and wielding that water gun.

This time, apparently more at ease, she grooved to Beyoncé’s “Cozy” and shot water at folks down in the crowd. It was a verbose, consistently engaging 45 minutes.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: At ACL Fest, Princess Nokia advocates for abortion, trans rights