Smile Politely

Performing for our pleasure on National Coming Out Day: God-Des & She

God-Des & She have been a hip-hop duo since they met in Madison, Wisconsin in 1999. Since then, they’ve moved to New York and become known all over the world due to being featured in the documentary Hip Hop Homos and their appearance on The L Word (where they sang their irreverent and thrillingly sexy song “Lick It”). Their song “Love You Better” held the number one spot on MTV LOGO for fifteen consecutive weeks. And this month, they were nominated for GO magazine’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Nightlife Awards for Best Musical Performer or Act.

Soon after I learned that God-Des & She were coming to C-U, I emailed them and asked what they’d been up to since the 2009 release of their album Three, and God-Des answered that they’ve been “touring the world, meeting incredible people, and doing [their] best to inspire people and raise awareness surrounding injustice.”

Three was produced by Brian Hardgroove of Public Enemy, and with this album the duo broke away from the hip-hop genre convention, making them all but impossible to categorize anymore. Most music critics now combine hip-hop, pop, and soul when attempting to pinpoint this band’s music. I asked God-Des what they thought of the hip-hop/pop/soul label, and whether they’d add “rock” to the list. She responded that yes, they definitely would. She laughed and added that the critics “just say that because otherwise our category of music would be endless.”

I first saw God-Des & She live this past August, when I was at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. Their infectious personalities and onstage chemistry were captivating, and they completely controlled all of us in the audience. We sang along and danced and cheered. I remember being impressed at how perfect they sounded live. She’s voice soared over the crowd, clear, strong, and flawless. And God-Des … her ability to rap so rapidly, so emotionally (and intelligibly) is enthralling. She is head-and-shoulders better than other hip-hop artists of which I’m familiar.

I took a lot of photos at their show, but MichFest attendees follow an honor code that we won’t publish photos of each other on the Internet (or anywhere else). So the photo below isn’t the most exciting shot that I took that night, but it’ll have to do.

God-Des & She’s videos are as fun and wild as their stage performances. Some might consider their videos (and a song or two) scandalous, but I think they’re hysterically funny. One of my favorites is when they recently campaigned to be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. When — at the 2:15 mark — God-Des raises her hands in response to She’s command, it is adorable and hilarious at the same time.

I asked them if Ellen had responded to their video, and God-Des answered that Ellen hadn’t contacted them yet, but they think that it’s “only a matter of time until you see us dancing on stage with Ellen.” OK, a God-Des/She/Ellen fusion sounds fantastic and when this happens I’m going to stay home from work and throw a party.

God-Des & She’s songs cover familiar topics: love, relationships, sex, and loss. But occasionally, they’ll venture into social commentary and politics, as with their 2008 song “Hey Mr. President”:

You care more about preventing gays from getting married
Than you do about preventing your soldiers from being buried.
So many schools are lacking necessary supplies,
And it’s only getting worse, ’cause no assistance you’ll provide.

They’ve also recently produced a poignant and joyful video to honor those soldiers and their families who’ve been living under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell for eighteen years.

God-Des & She are currently busy producing their next album. God-Des says that this time she’s “making many of the beats” and that their first single (titled “You Know My Name”) is “set to drop in the very near future.”

Before the concert tomorrow, God-Des & She will conduct a workshop on Monday (tonight!) at the Illini Union. I asked God-Des what they’d be discussing there, and she explained that they will talk about their experiences of “homophobia and sexism in Hip-Hop.” The workshop will also include a Q&A.

And what can we expect for Tuesday’s show?

God-Des: “You can expect a party in your pants and inspiration in your soul. Holla.”

Hell Yes! And for your listening pleasure, I give you my second favorite God-Des & She song:


National Coming Out Day featuring God-Des & She

God-Des & She Workshop
Monday, Oct. 10, 8:00 p.m.
Illini Union (Room 407)

NCOD Rally
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 12:00–1:00 p.m.
Main Quad

God-Des & She Concert
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 8:00 p.m.
Illini Union Courtyard Cafe

God-Des & She’s website
YouTube Channel


All photos and songs used with permission.

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