afropunk interview: bosco, on girl groups and being herself

April 5, 2019

In a world where some kindness is appreciated and different stories are needed, BOSCO is stepping up to introduce a womxn’s point-of-view. Her latest single comes off the multimedia artist’s album, b. Bobby Brown’s “Don’t Be Cruel” is a 1988 funky song of a young man begging his girl to be nicer to him, but BOSCO’s “Cruel” is a 2017 soft, vulnerable ballad of a young woman telling her man their relationship might not be working out. 

The single had a music video premiere on NPR and presented a matching bewitching visual to an sweet, doomed story. BOSCO describes her album b. as “a collection of songs about escapism, freedom, self-discovery, and relationships while transitioning into womanhood.” The Atlanta-based singer uses her music, fashion, and art to show her growth and evolution into a womxn and “Cruel” is no exception.  Bosco coos on the smooth track, “Be cool with your actions so you don’t have to be cruel.” A proverb from BOSCO.

Now, the underground queen talks to AFROPUNK about girl groups, being a Black woman in media, and being a collage.

Why did you do a womxn’s point of view for a song like “Cruel?”

For me personally, it’s always been a masculine perspective on relationships. It’s always viewed as a hard structure, and there’s not really a female perspective on relationships outside of heartbreak. [We have to] shed light on real situations that happen to women that we don’t get the platform to talk about. We get shunned, quiet, or back burnered. When we talk about that, we come across as the Angry Black Woman or Bitter Black Woman. These are real things that could happen or have happened. Certain people end relationships and it doesn’t have to end on bad terms. You don’t have to be cruel in your intentions. Be cool with your actions so you don’t have to be cruel.

How does the intersection of your point of view meet with your passion for music?

I try to lay a foundation and a palette that feels relatable and comforting. I don’t stick to the traditional sounds and instruments of r & b. I take it in a mixed media approach. It’s being able to adapt with the times and put out music that feels very collage-y [and] sketchbook-y, on purpose. I want people to express my art with me. Showing how I can grow and evolve in my body and confidence episodically through my music.

You are a multimedia artist that touches on fashion, music, video and more. How do you express your womxnhood in these intersections of your creativity?

Fashion is average but style can’t be taught. I’m more into style and taste rather than fashion. My style is a representation of my femininity. Whether it’s tomboy chic or rocking silk or a dress. I think the real power comes from inside. Your outfit speaks to a room before you even you open your mouth.

So when do you feel most seen?

You can be seen and heard without ever opening your mouth. I like to stay in that realm. I feel like being able to seen is also like being able to be observed. I feel like when it’s time to speak, you know when you need to speak. My presence holds more weight than I can ever say. If you do a lot of internal work, the external become so much easier. I’m doing a lot of the internal work so people just feel the work coming off of me. I want to be my truest and highest form.

So to wrap up, I know you have a love for 90s girl groups. Can you explain when you love them?

Girl groups were the best representation. You have different personalities and things you can express. You could be like T-Boz. Left Eye. Sexy like Chili. [Have] straight edges, curly hair, weave or sewn in. In the 90s we had space for all those types of artists, and now we have a resurgence of girl groups. SZA and Solange and myself and all of these women are sharing space individually and contribute to the [overall] music group. We are a grouping of women of different women with different perspectives.