Flo Kennedy, rapper. Florynce “Flo” Kennedy, civil rights activist. Strong black women.
In her new single “Section 8“, Flo Kennedy blends a soulful New York underground hip hop sound with beautiful Solange-inspired vocals to portray the insecurities of the housing system. Similarly to her name-predecessor, Kennedy uses her platform to bring awareness to inner city problems.
Florynce “Flo” Kennedy spent her career as a lawyer and pioneer in the second-wave feminist movement. Born in Kansas City, Flo migrated to New York and became the second African American woman to graduate Columbia University’s Law School. As her involvement with groups like the Black Panthers increased, Kennedy spent many years fighting for African-American singers’ rights within music companies.
A true role model for Kennedy to take inspiration from, Flo II has not taken the pre-built foundation lightly. In all of her previous work, from cyphers to her first EP, The He(art) the New York artist incorporates life messages into each track released like “Intro: The Outsider“:
“Power to the people / power to the problem child / power in the equal peepin’ Toms and Uncle Tom’s peepin’ / peerin’ through the peephole / ‘crimination nation”.
In those bars, the two women become intertwined by more than just their names. Their voices (and minds) have continued to push towards equality in the best way for their own era, reaching communities through art. Florynce was a revolutionary in her life, using theater style protests with her notable cowboy hat to accompany her at the microphone, as she fought against injustices.
Photo | Bettye Lane
In modern day America, releasing music with heavy lyricism is the equivalent to Kennedy’s threatened “pee-in” protests for better women’s facilities at Harvard. Flo Kennedy (rapper) uses her voice to document experiences through a platform that can’t be photoshopped or erased. Her words are thrust at listeners during performance (like in the above video) and are remembered by catchy instrumental hooks – just like Florynce’s hat.
An artist’s message and brand begins with a memorable symbol. For the Civil Rights Flo Kennedy, she portrayed a rough rider, ready to weather the worst storm in her path, and for 2018 rapper Flo Kennedy, she is able to look to the past to help her continue towards a more promising future, ready to expand minds through her beats.
Feature Photo | Youtube