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Destiny Frasqueri grew up splitting time between the Lower East Side and Spanish Harlem. She describes her most recent musical alter ego, Princess Nokia, as an autobiographical project. Drawing inspiration from both rock operas and graphic novels, Destiny penned Princess Nokia’s Metallic Butterfly album focusing on her life from 16 to 21. It’s the story of a young orphan girl living in the inner city, who enters New York’s nightlife in order to escape foster care.

Associated with queer rappers like Mykki Blanco, Le1f and Cakes da killa, Destiny finds inspiration in collaboration with other young artists of color working in New York. Noting that the city can often feel like a boy’s club, Destiny decided to create Smart Girls’ Club, a collective of urban feminists working and support one another’s creative visions.

With her Smart Girls Club co-founder Milah Libin, Destiny and the rotating collective members push each other to create, collaborate and place one another’s art front and center in their lives.

Here, Destiny chats with fellow Smart Girl Club member Arianna Maya Gil, founder of all-women-of-color skate gang Las Brujas and SZA bassist, about what it means to support one another as best friends pushing the envelope in New York’s nightlife and arts scene.

Photo by Milah Libin, Arianna Maya Gil to the left, Destiny Frasqueri to the right.