Princess Nokia doesn’t believe New York is dying, but rather belongs to the children. “I have been in the parks with the children. It is very alive. It might be too alive, “she laughs.” Youth culture has the greatest spirit, and I have a wonderful view from the front row of all the people around me. “
It’s been a busy summer for Princess Nokia, who is touring Europe when we spoke. With an appearance in the reboot of HBO Max’s Gossip Girl and a starring role in Kacey Musgraves’ music video “Simple Times”, she’s an undeniable force. His song “I Like Him” also went viral on TikTok, with over 250,000 videos made. But when asked about his success, the New York native casually admits, “It was something I hadn’t expected.” His artistry has never been dictated by the business side of music. “I’ve always closed my eyes to it. It’s such a great new experience. It really made me cry.”
Destiny Nicole Frasqueri grew up in Lower Manhattan with a deep appreciation for nostalgia. “Punk culture, St. Marks Place, Tompkins Square Park are the places I grew up and have often walked. I was inspired by the people around me.” In 2012, the artist started releasing songs on his Youtube and Soundcloud page before his EP mixtape, 1992, caught its national attention with chart-topping singles such as “Tomboy” and “Kitana”. Over the next nine years, she toured the world, released two mixtapes, two EPs and four studio albums. She also shared her love of fashion, art and created a line of lip kits with NYX.
With its new multimedia project, After school special, Princess Nokia hopes to capture the spirit of New York City that shaped her outlook. “I am inspired by the world around me and the people I find amazing, beautiful, unique and special,” she says. “I spent hours photographing people and walking around the city.” Now, thanks to Instagram, she is ready to share her vision with the world.
The 29-year-old traces her love of photography back to wet Saturdays spent at the Puerto Rican Festival in East Harlem. Growing up, she regularly went to the block party with her sister and cousin to enjoy the frituras, dancing and marching band. “Around 2016, I picked up a camera because I had to document the beauty and culture around me,” she said. The photographs of After school special pay homage to the women she met there: draped in Puerto Rican flags, wearing gold earrings, dancing reggaeton and smiling euphorically for the camera.
After school special showcases the diversity of subcultures that influenced Princess Nokia. “The kids – me, me included – in these photos were inspired by punk, grunge, the alternative. They are timeless.
“Punk isn’t just music. It’s a way of life. It’s a spirit. It’s what kids embody. It’s what we embody. It hangs around all day. . It’s collecting money to buy beer and just sitting in the park and having a good time and not complying, ”she says. After school special animate these scenes of adolescent boredom and rebellion. In one of the photos, two girls stand behind a chain link fence with leather harnesses and pentagram necklaces, casually gazing at the camera.