Out rapper Mykki Blanco has dropped verses about the themes of gender and sexuality since she first caught the rap scene's attention back in 2012 with her single "Wavvy," a song where she proves -- with both her lyrics and her delivery -- that she is indeed "the motherfuckin' rookie of the year."
But Monday, Blanco announced in a Facebook post that she is stepping back from the mike to pursue a career in investigative journalism.
"I have decided to focus and pursue a passion I've had for quite some time now which is investigative journalism, particularly focusing on documenting and writing about homosexuality and gay culture in remote corners of the world," she wrote.
Blanco will travel to Nepal in May "to begin learning about homosexuality and LGBT rights in Nepalese society specifically that of the 'third gender' group referred to as 'Meti,'" she explained on Facebook. Eventually, Blanco plans to enroll in a sociology and gender studies program, but in the meantime, her Nepal trip will provide an opportunity for her to gain experience "in the field," she says, as well as "an inside look at what daily life is like for these individuals in their society, and a way for me to take the first baby steps in learning to write and work in this way before I re-enter school."
In an exclusive interview with The Advocate, Blanco, who asked to be referred to by female pronouns, elaborated on what inspired her to make the career shift.
"Society doesn't allow for much social mobility depending on the cards you're dealt at birth," she says. "And I'm not speaking just on American society. In my travels, I have witnessed young people I know who may not ever get to experience what our Western [or European] idea of freedom is. And while [I] don't believe that the world needs to be seen through the Western liberal lens, it is undeniable that inequalities exist.
"I am someone who is an entertainer," Blanco adds. "I had a passion and it manifested allowing me to have a real following, an audience, and see the world, but I am also a writer and a thinker."
Blanco acknowledges that she has "much to learn" but is adamant about wanting to educate others to improve the world in which we live. "It may sound like a grand declaration, but exposing global commonalities makes all the difference in reminding people that we are one human race," she concludes. "My journey has just begun and I'm willing to take my audience with me."
Blanco is known for powerful tracks and comments that tackle the limits of gender and sexual binaries. In an interview with Dummy Magazine, she says, "You may not know it yet, but Mykki Blanco isn't just female Mykki. Mykki Blanco is Mykki Blanco 'female,' Mykki Blanco 'male,' Mykki Blanco with blue eyes, Mykki Blanco with three eyes. I'm probably eventually going to do a video where it's not Mykki, where it's completely genderless, where it won't be Mykki 'boy' or 'girl.'"
No stranger to facing down her detractors, Blanco had a message for any potential naysayers who question the seemingly abrubpt professional shift.
"I do not find being a 'rapper' fascinating," she wrote on Facebook Monday. "And rather than waste the remaining nine months of 2015 in some kind of fake existential crisis where I pretend I don't know what I want, I'm taking the initial steps to securing what I know I do want, to observe and write about places and cultures in our world not known to many and to better educate myself about the cultures, gender politics and patriarchy that shape our society so that I may one day be able to speak and influence our world in a way a dance song and music video cannot."