Released in March 2020, Transcend is Nyota Parker’s new single battling conformity in South African society. 20-year-old South African hip hop artist, Nyota Parker frequently promotes nonconformity in her music. Transcend is no exception. Given Parker’s young age, the artist is passionate about creating her own trajectory and inspiring her audience to do the same. With lines such as, “Why is bringing gender in The only way your eyes can see,” challenging the cis-gender conformity in modern society, Parker showcases the important issue of fluid gender identity. While South Africa is the only country in Africa with legal protections for transgender asylum seekers, many other African nations do not share similar views on gender identity. Parker preaches to her audience to remain grounded in themselves and “Just don’t let a fella bring your gender into industry”. Uniquely, Parker’s nonconforming vision for herself is “clearer than a telescope” and creates an authentic, different, and passionate message for her audience.
Furthermore, Parker addresses the intense gender-gap and biases in the music industry – specifically the hip hop scene. In the South African hip hop scene, the industry is largely male dominated. Oftentimes, female emcees, rappers, and hip hop artists are “pitted against one another”. There have been some recent collaborations and an increased sense of unity within the female artists, but industry leaders remain determined to construct female artists into the persona they desire (whether it aligns with the artist’s vision or not). Parker rejects the conformity of the industry. An example of this can be seen in her lyrics, where she refuses to swear in any of her songs. Additionally, Parker recognizes her female gender, but she doesn’t want her identity to be consumed with the label “female rapper” or “female emcee”. This perspective is showcased in lines such as “Did you notice I did not say female?” and “I don’t need Anyone to dictate who I am besides me.”
Parker’s passion for nonconformity and individualism transcends in her music – no doubt. In the official music video for Transcend, Parker is the only individual who acknowledges the camera. By isolating her presence in the video, Parker showcases the value of individualism. Rather than surrounding herself with others for “clout”, Parker revels in her authenticity. She truly is “In a position you cannot apply for.”