In her own words Miss Blanks is “your visual feast” but there’s no denying she’s an aural delight too. She’s Brisbane’s freshest new rapper, bursting onto the scene with polished tracks and sharp quips that are smart and have impeccable comedic timing. The landscape of Australia’s hip-hop scene has always been tumultuous and predominantly white but it’s powerful black women like Miss Blanks that are instigating change in an otherwise monopolised market.
I met Miss Blanks for the first time in 2016 as a club night drew to an end, we introduced ourselves to one another and club hopped until the drinks dried up. Winding up in a hotel room at 7am she spat some bars at me and despite my brain being foggy with Jack Daniels I knew she was a star in the making. Fast forward to today and she’s premiering her debut music video for the new single ‘Clap Clap’.
“Clap Clap is the ultimate anthem for having a fat ass and making it clap”. It’s also a no nonsense celebration of sexuality, standing in your truth and proclaiming power. Via email, Miss Blanks told us that she’s “here to take over” and I don’t doubt it for a single second.
Who is Miss Blanks in three words?
Unapologetic, fierce, and petty.
Is Miss Blanks a stage personality separate from who you are day to day or are you the same person?
Miss Blanks and I are very much the same. I don’t think for a second I’d be able to give Miss Blanks the energy and power she would need if she were a separate personality. I think things have worked out well for me because when people engage in anything Miss Blanks [whether that be] music, shows, or interviews, people can feel and see the authenticity.
What’s it like to achieve such high visibility when that’s something you struggled with for a while now?
It’s definitely an interesting space that I’m still trying to navigate. When you’re a highly visible trans woman there’s a concern for safety. You become a constant focal point for discussion, expectation for continued emotional and mental labour, and there’s a lot of tokenising and fetishising being done by a lot of people—even [by] some of the closest [people] around you. However, as I started to redirect my focus on music I made a conscious decision to reclaim that power people were trying to take from me and use it to highlight my music, my work, and the incredible women and GNC honeys around me. Now I’m trying to make a point with my music of carving out a unique space for my sound while infiltrating that mainstream sphere without compromising.
You recently spoke with me for an article on Australia’s white hip-hop culture and you called me the next day to talk about all the backlash you got from it. What was that like and what have you learned from that experience?
The backlash I received was interesting—from abusive private messages on Facebook and Instagram, to people sharing the article and tagging me in it and telling me the grossest things. I stand by what I said and if my voice as a trans woman of colour isn’t enough for people to consume, on the topic of black [spaces] and hip-hop, then that in itself speaks volumes. I learnt that people are really uneducated and just aren’t socially aware or understand hip-hop’s history. Some people didn’t even read the entire article and some kept arguing this idea of ownership over hip-hop.
Let’s get to why we’re here; you’re premiering your new single, ‘Clap Clap’.
‘Clap Clap’ is the ultimate anthem for having a fat ass and making it clap. I started working on the song back in January/February and linked up with Brisbane producer, tomtom, to bring the track to life. The song holds a lot of strength and it’s all about reclaiming power, having a good time, and making that ass CLAP!
And tell me about the video.
As soon as I created the track, the video came to me immediately. I was pretty lucky in that respect. I got to team up with David Fischer of Que Films in Brisbane to co- direct and produce the film. I wanted to pull the video back and keep things minimalistic in order to focus on these strong key images that run throughout the video whilst keeping this undertone of ‘high key’, chic, lush, and rich. Once I received the draft, I couldn’t stop smiling and screaming. It’s rare that moments like this happen but to have the final video outcome mirror exactly what I had envisioned, is so incredible.
Do you think it’ll stir controversy?
Maybe. I remember writing little raps years ago as a way to make fun of the little boys running in my circles trying to big note and act tough. I wasn’t scared of keeping shit 100 and staying authentic then, I’m sure as hell not scared now. I don’t really care for keeping my artistry tame and repackaging it in order for it to be ‘consumable’ for wider audiences. Don’t get me wrong, I love to get petty and do the most [and] be exxxxtra but at the end of the day, I’m a creator and story teller. I’m not here to orchestrate these controversial plans.
What do you want viewers to take away from your new video?
That Miss Blanks is a force to be reckoned with. That women and non binary honeys are the damn past, present, and FUTURE, that we’re not going anywhere, and these boys need to be afraid of the boss female/NB takeover, be very afraid….
What do you want people to know about you after reading this?
Miss Blanks is here to take over! Get into the music, get into the look, I am your visual feast. You’re welcome…
What’s in store for you for the rest of 2017?
This years going to be major! I have so much exciting news to announce throughout the year. The team and I have been working really hard to get 2017 poppin! You can expect more shows, more music, some cute collabs, and a dope merch line coming soon. Be sure to stay tuned for more announcements on the Miss Blanks social channels.
Kish Lal is a contributor for Acclaim. She’s a lady on the streets and lacks impulse control in the tweets. Don’t @ her – @kish_lal
- Photography: Savannah van der Niet