Corporate Social Responsibility

Inclusive Fashion Expands, Thanks to Kehlani, Rhianna and Rico Nasty

By Brian Oaster

Pride month is winding down, but there’s still time to get your glow up on. Several (women) musicians (of color) are celebrating with their own inclusive fashion lines.

Kehlani, the 24 year old singer-songwriter and producer from Oakland, has launched her sporty fashion line TSNMI. It focuses on uraban skater basics in signature tie dyes with a decided bent towards gender fluidity. TSNMI also offers apparel, and even infant onesies, which Kehlani is promoting with her new daughter Adeya Nomi (that face!!).

From TSNMI’s Instagram

Kehlani identifies as queer (“Not bi. Not straight.”), and describes her sexuality as being “LEAST attracted to straight men, y’all really adorable sometimes tho.” She added that “Bisexual men really are little gifts from god tho.” And she Isn’t afraid of learning on the fly, openly recognizing that having a platform means taking responsibility for your choice of words.

Kehlani Always Wants to Be Corrected About Queerness

After Kehlani wrote a Tweet that included ‘trans people’ and ‘intersex people’ on a list of people she’s attracted to, inadvertently implying that they’re separate from, for example, nonbinary people and women, fans corrected her on the particulars of her choice of words. She welcomed the correction.

“I retracted my queer tweet because i am being corrected about the way in which i listed the gender spectrum and i’m super super sensitive to being offensive especially when i’m only trying to appreciate. point is, i love love, and that love lies in every gender there is,” she said, according to E!, in subsequent Tweets that have also since been removed.

“I always want to be corrected & educated when i am wrong. if i tweet something any form of incorrect, please let me know because i have a massive responsibility by having a platform.”

Kehlani’s willingness to update and revise her comments based on the feedback of marginalized fans shows the kind of fluid flexibility we need in conversations around inclusion and representation—not just for queerness, but for all marginalized groups.

A Pride Lookbook Looking Nasty

Joined by Kehlani is Rico Nasty, the 22 year old singer-songwriter and producer. Having grown up in New York and Maryland, Rico Nasty immediately found an audience with her pair of 2016 mixtapes, The Rico Story and Sugar Trap. She signed to Atlantic Records a year ago, and is celebrating the spectrum this month with a stunning Pride 2019 lookbook.

“I’m celebrating love + PRIDE this month with this incredible look book of LGBTQ+ babes in my finest merch,” she said in her Instagram post. “Tag me in your looks!” Her merch store is offering deals through the end of the month.

Big Money, Big Mannequins, and Boutique Rivals

Kehlani and Rico Nasty follow closely in the footsteps of Rhianna, who launched her body-inclusive fashion line Fenty in Paris last month. By contrast, Rhianna, who’s the world’s richest female musician, focuses her brand on high end markets, bringing body positivity to the bourgeois. At the debut of Fenty’s first New York pop-up shop this week, Rhianna delighted by featuring groundbreaking body diverse mannequins.

Rhianna’s companion makeup line, Fenty Beauty, is rivalled by upstart brands like Fluide, a boutique beauty line developed specifically for theydies and gentlethems. Fluide is also offering sexy Pride deals for the remainder of the month. Get ‘em while they’re hot, and stay hot all summer.

The Future of Fashion is Queer, Fluid, and Body Diverse

Inclusive fashion and the conversation around it is expanding. Stars like Rhianna, Kehlani and Rico Nasty are showing their audiences that the frontier of fashion doesn’t just have room for different body types and gender expressions, it’s centered on them. It’s the kind of leadership we love from woke WOC.

Brian Oaster

Brian is a Choctaw writer in the Pacific Northwest.