non-binary & unapologetic: rapper ash león tackles misogynoir, homophobia, transphobia & hypermasculinity

May 31, 2017
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Memphis-born Ash León is a non-binary Hip-Hop artist currently based in New York. León blends activism with a quirky and flowery aesthetic, giving a new face and sound to conscious rap that does not rely on outdated ideas of hypermasculinity. The artist tells AFROPUNK: “When I close my eyes and think about who I am, I don’t really see gender”. “It’s statements like that, my peers call me an ‘Alien’ for. They say I fell from another planet, but the reality is that I feel everyone should be free to be who they want to be and not bound by social constructs that were forced on them and used to put people in boxes.”
Noticeably influenced by rappers such as Lupe Fiasco, the artist’s eccentric style also draws from other bands and musicians like Prince, Queens of the Stone Age and Incubus, and under “Personal Interests” on their Facebook page, they list: Intersectionality, Melanin, Hip-Hop, Anime, Comics, Sunflowers, Coconut Oil, Freedom.

“Hip-Hop/Rap helped me find my Blackness and opened my mind up to a bigger world. But I also started to notice how restrictive both entities were as I got older. How could I love something that profits and celebrates blatantly attacking Black Women and Black Queers? I figured the only solution was the bring change by rebelling against the toxicity and working to cleanse it,” León explains. “Overall, my vision and mission is to help redefine the culture of hip-hop by using my platform to speak out, reject and educate more people about why Misogynoir, Homophobia, Transphobia and Hypermasculinity shouldn’t be allowed to dwell within rap spaces.”
Check out some of our favorite tracks from the groundbreaking artist below!:

Photo Credit: @ysovirty

Photo Credit: @luisanna.tejada