Emerging from Vancouver’s independent art scene, Tommy Genesis is a rapper, visual artist and model. Coining her genre of music as “fetish rap,” she is carving a new style of female empowerment as a creative polymath that delves into the darker realms of counter-exploitation.
Tommy first broke out in 2015 when Awful Records announced her singing during a Boiler Room set, she has since released two-thirds of her World Vision album trilogy (her next record is in the pipeline for later this year) and appeared at an array of fashion shows – Hood By Air, Telfar, Alexander Wang — throughout New York Fashion Week. Oh, and she was shot by Tyrone Lebon in Calvin Klein’s Fall 2016 campaign last year.
Tommy’s brief albeit potent mark in the music sphere has her leading the wave for the next generation of female hip-hop artists. Now, in line with the ‘Generation Now, Generation Next’ for Mercedes-Benz’s Fashion Story Chapter One (where she features alongside her musical mentor M.I.A.), we asked Tommy to select her five ultimate female idols.
Tommy Genesis. Photography Tomas Turpie.
“She’s my day to day inspiration,” says Tommy. “She reached out to me online, and we met the very first day I moved to LA – by chance… we haven’t left each other’s side since. She’s an LA based designer for Left-Hand. It’s become the only brand I wear really other than Nike socks and combat boots. She makes her own patches, sources all the images, sews them, dyes and distresses all the garments by hand. Curating each piece. All custom made. She designs clothes like they’re paintings.”
“She’s the queen. She spawned the internet. I think I first heard her cause my dad played her in the car but it’s hard to say. It blew my mind when M.I.A. chose me as her protégée for the #mbcollective, a group of emerging and established creatives, which saw us both feature as ‘Generation Now, Generation Next’ in Mercedes-Benz’ Fashion Story Chapter One. She made me feel like it was OK to be me. To be brown. To be strong. To be creative.”
“True got me through a tough phase in my life. She gets it. It’s real. Girls need her. Honestly, she made me feel free at a time in my life where everyone tried to possess me.”
“She raised me compassionately. She would always say it’s OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Do what makes you happy. The truth will set you free. She gave me an open mind and an open heart and that’s allowed me to be myself. Music, perspective, art… everything is forever related.”
“She’s a big part of my life. I met her in NYC when I knew no one and she let me stay with her even though we just met.
Friends are important. When everything else fades away; money, material things, success etc. The people still with you are the ones who were really with you. Nothing else matters – not even music.”