Technotronic's Ya-Kid K: So Black and So Gay!

Since National Coming Out Day is this coming Saturday, I am going to do a new video everyday this week.

When Technotronic hit the scene in 1989 with Pump Up The Jam, it was one of the first house tracks to cross over to pop radio. Listening to the radio, we heard this hip-hop MC rhyming over the track with a husky, heavy voice that really made the track stand out. Well, the video for Pump Up The Jam featured a high-femme black model lip-synching the words. It wasn’t until the group performed on Saturday Night Live did we meet Ya-Kid K,  the voice behind Technotronic (much like the Black Box and C&C Music Factory videos that featured models instead of Martha Wash). Was Ya Kid K simply considered too butch for music video?

Ya Kid K was dressed in a very butch/hip-hop effect, complete with cornrows, hat turned around, baggy clothes, and very little (if any) make-up–and everyone was shocked to see her, given the fraud perpetrated in the original video.  But Ya Kid K was one of the first women to rock a butch hip-hop effect in pop music, inspiring many Black and Latina butch dykes across the country, if not the world! Here’s there most famoussong, Move This. Ya Kid K–so Black and so gay!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sK5a2afUySw]

19 thoughts on “Technotronic's Ya-Kid K: So Black and So Gay!

  1. As I stated in the blog post, “Ya Kid K was one of the first women to rock a butch hip-hop effect in pop music, inspiring many Black and Latina butch dykes across the country, if not the world!”

    I know she’s married with kids. But if you had read more carefully, I was saying she inspired a certain generation of butch aesthetic in the Lesbian community. So before you tell me to “stop” doing anything, make sure you actually understand what I was saying.

  2. Technotronic’s Ya-Kid K: So Black and So Gay! That’s the title of the post. You may only meant fashion wise, but i still disagree. Aint nothing “butch aesthetic” about that. Back in the 90’s when i first saw her on TV, i didn’t know of any word called “butch,” – maybe i was too young and naive, but “lesbian” didn’t cross mind either. That’s “tomboy aesthetic,” and still that’s all i see. A girl in a pair of pants and a t-shirt, with a cap flipped backwards. what’s “gay” or “butch” about that?

    She was into the rap and break dancing culture so maybe that’s what influenced her dress mode. Hanging with the crew you gotta blend in right? No skirts, lipstick and bangles around here. Just MCs and b-boys. Aint no different than the women in the army out in the battlefield. To be taken seriously in certain endeavours you gotta be “one of the guys”. You dress like us, you walk like us and you talk like us. And that’s the way it is. Nothin gay.

  3. Well if you’re straight and don’t know any gay people, of course you didn’t see it. But i was a kid and my mother read her style as “butch lesbian” as well, whether she was or not.

    It’s kind of like saying that Prince didn’t inspire Black gay boys who were looking for representations of themselves through his playing with gender norms and sexuality, whether he was or is actually gay or not. Of course he did!

    And mind you, I have been doing this series for a year now and I think you’re the first person to not understand that I am not necessarily “outing” people, but to talk about the kinds of pop culture icons that inspired Black gay, lesbian, and transgender identities, or who themselves were influenced by it. Jody Watley is straight, but she commented on her own piece here and she got what I was doing, so did Bernadette Cooper in the piece I did on her and Klymaxx. What the hell is your problem? If you’re not involved in our community, or don’t know any Black queer people, then you obviously have no idea. And mind you, I was ASKED to include Ya Kid K and Technotronic by a queer woman! So because you “don’t see it” or just want to reduce it to being about “hip-hop B-boy” culture, doesn’t mean those same cultural cues did not signify another option to other people.

    It’s like saying Marlene Deitrich dressing in a man’s suit while performing was “only” because she was involved in jazz, and dressing to be a part of jazz culture because that is how they dressed back then. Or that butch lesbians didn’t read that performance as a viable option out of a traditional femme identity. Are you fucking kidding me?

  4. Me and you are on two different wavelengths. I didn’t say you were outing anyone. I said don’t call her gay cause she aint having kids with a woman and her mode of dress had nothing to do with sexuality. If i didn’t stumble upon this blog while searching the web for stuff on technotronic, i would never know that people exists who got time to make a list of who’s dressing gay from straight. Some of you are obsessed with sexuality. 100 thousand gay people could walk by me and i couldn’t tell who’s gay from who’s straight base on their dress mode. simply not a priority of mine. but i’m almost sure you could point out all the gay ones, and even mistake some straight people for being gay too, cause everything in your life is gay and you need to validate your identity and lifestyle by pointing out popular personalities and saying this one looks gay, dress gay or behaves gay. Enough already.

  5. There you have it. I just wanted you to get to exactly what you think about gay people. You could hardly read this blog on a regular basis and say I am obsessed with who’s gay and who isn’t. But I am glad that you’ve gotten all that hostility off your chest. You’re clearly feeling some type of way about it. Hope that made you feel better.

  6. I met Manuela {Ya Kid}@ House of Sound(C & C music) in the late nineties didnt strike me as gay at all just a pretty, family oriented grounded woman .360 onelove
    onewhirl

  7. So I was wondering, is Ya Kid K gay?

    Ha jk, but I will say that I’m surprised to find out she’s not. I definitely grew up thinking she was as gay as gay is Queen Latifah.

  8. I WISH YA KID K WAS GAY! I used to have a crush on her when I was little and I still think she’s rockin’…..

    You go Kenyon!! I totally agree with everything you said! The haters can kiss off :-P

    GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY PRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE!

  9. Admittedly, I think this whole argument err..debate came about not to determine if Ya Kid K was actually gay, but heck I’m an english major and read this as ambiguous. As if it WAS saying she was, or was at least the poster child for gay women back in the 90s. Personally, I think it sucks that Martha Wash and Ya Kid K were forced initially, at least, to stay in the shadows. They were awesome. Gay, straight, alien, who cares, these women rules and I’m gonna do the running man to Pump Up the Jam now. Peace out.

  10. I have to say your title of “Ya-Kid K: So Black and So Gay!
    So Black – So Gay” leaves little to the imagination that you are calling her black and gay, she’s black, obviously, but not gay. You are being intentionally misleading, quit trying to pretend you’re not. If the New York Times had a headline that read “Obama: So Black and So Gay!” would you not assume that article was about the president being gay? I agree with the other poster, it looks like someone pathetically trying to assign their subculture onto a maintstream figure so that any feelings of personal cognitive dissonance are quieted.

  11. That video was the first time I recognized my own attraction to butch women. I saw it when I was like 8 years old and now I am a femme lesbian. Gay or not, she was hot!

  12. Hello I was married to Ya Kid K, and I am the proud father of a beautiful daughter by her. Who knows maybe one day I’ll write my side of the story about being marriage to her.

  13. Five years later (well, this is a 2008 post), but I HAVE to say something about it, because you wrote “Ya Kid K was one of the first women to rock a butch hip-hop effect in pop music, inspiring many Black and Latina butch dykes across the country, if not the world!”.
    YES! She inspired me… a lot! I’m a black woman from Brazil who was 17 y.o. when I saw Ya Kid K on TV singing “Move this”. Oh God… hypnotizing effect! And one year later I had my first kiss with a girl while playing “Rockin’ over the beat”, just because I was dancing to that girl like Ya Kid K used to dance.
    See? That Ya Kid’ style impacted my life, and I don’t mind if she’s NOT lesbian but straight: I’m black, I’m Brazilian, I’m lesbian – and she’s part of my history.

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