Photo via kehlani/Instagram
Kehlani has long been open about the fluid nature of her gender expression. That’s why it’s exciting that the R&B star is experimenting with different facets of her personality on the most recent cover of Playboy.
In a bold move, Kehlani appears on Playboy‘s latest cover dressed in both (traditionally) women and (traditionally) men’s clothing.
And as if one Kehlani isn’t exciting enough, the magazine cover treats us to two versions of this Oakland native. On the left side of the magazine, Kehlani is dressed up as a Prom Queen, complete with a resplendent gown and a tiara. On the cover’s right side, Kehlani is dressed in Prom King drag: her tie undone, her collar open, her crown askew.
She shared the picture to her personal Instagram page with the cheeky caption: “I always wanted to date me.”
In the accompanying interview, Kehlani talks about gender identity and expression, motherhood, and owning her sexuality.
When Kehlani was asked how she defines masculinity and femininity, Kehlani got refreshingly candid. “I’ve discovered that I’ve run from a lot of femininity,” she admitted. “I was way more comfortable in a more masculine space. I feel more masculine when I am in my stillness and I’m grounded in a quiet, contemplative mode.”
She then explained that she feels “most feminine” when she’s “being the mother of my house.” (Kehlani had a baby girl named Adeya Nomi in 2019). She also explained that she “feels her femininity” when she ‘s indulging in self-care, like soaking in a flower-filled bath, or doing a hair mask.
“My femininity makes me feel soft and gentle and tender and careful in a different way than my masculinity makes me feel,” she said. “I’m trying not to let it fall into the gender norms of feminine and masculine, but for me it does a tiny bit. But I also am very fluid in both of those settings.”
Kehlani has always been open about her fluid sexuality and gender identity.
In 2018, she tweeted: “Not bi, not straight. I’m attracted to women, men, REALLY attracted to queer men, non-binary people, intersex people, trans people”.
But of course, haters on the internet accused her of “queer-baiting”–that is, pretending she’s queer to get more LGBT fans and attract attention. In an interview with The Guardian last year, she revealed why the accusation frustrates her.
“I’ve had girlfriends in front of people’s faces, right under their noses, and they weren’t famous and so nobody cared to make it public,” she said. “So they automatically assume that I must like men more than women.”
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