A Symbol of Queer Peace in Zimbabwe

The song Peace by Zimbabwean artist Hanna critiques the repetitive lack of originality that is current mainstream hip-hop. The second verse of her song raps that she doesn’t “play games,” “play dumb,” “fake rap,” or “fake cum.” Considering the fact that Hanna is a lesbian artist, I took this as a slight towards straight women hip-hop artists such as Cardi B and Nikki Minaj who play along sexualizing themselves to gain popularity, as well as dumb themselves down and do acts that cater towards male fragility. Hanna then addresses her feelings of being an outsider in the hip hop world by saying “this is the price / you gotta pay it as soon as they notice you different” In the music video, Hanna and a group of friends are seen in street clothes crashing a well-dressed party and mingling with the wealthy who stare at them in disdain. Paired together, it is clear that Hanna recognizes her outsider status in the industry as a lesbian artist.

To further provoke the mainstream listeners in her audience, as well as other artists, Hanna raps “Hanna on the beat, bet a n***a gon’ hate me / Waiting on the day that a n***a gon’ shade me.” I saw this as a declaration that Hanna knows how good she is and what kind of attention that could draw. The seventh verse of the song has Hanna rapping about her own voice and feelings saying that she “can’t rap about nothing, [she] gotta stay real, gotta stay true.” Again I believe Hanna is taking a jab at mainstream hip-hop artists and the facades they put up when it comes to saying something about the state of the world around them both in their art and outside of it.

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