Music

Sukihana’s World Of Self-Respect

Sukihana’s modus operandi is self-respect and nothing less.

The Miami-born rap star wants women to understand their worth so she’s delivering the message through her sanguine mixtape Wolf Pussy. It’s an exhilarating record, existing in a world where, of course, women run it. She offers a list of commandments to abide by such as not crying over a man and not accepting physical abuse from a man.

The album’s intimate feel stands apart from the Miami delicatessen where she schedules our meeting, with the sticky, casual scent of burgers and fries hanging in the air. It’s a restaurant known for its matzo ball soup, but Suki sits, reserved, with nothing but the pre-set silverware when I arrive on this humid panhandle September afternoon.

The 28-year-old — born Destiney Henderson — is donning a blue bodysuit emblazoned with butterflies and matched with a pair of red high heel boots. Her hair, a blonde bob, shapes her baby face and sits idly across the sides of her iridescent Fenty shades. Behind the shades, Suki seems distant and cautious as if still searching for comfort in her newfangled popularity.

We move to a table all the way in the back after being interrupted a few times. But even at this new table, Suki is far from comfortable, scanning her surroundings in this unfamiliar restaurant, obviously a place not of her choosing. Her hands lay clasped, visibly showing off her long press-on nails with the cover art for Wolf Pussy on them. It’s her first project of the year, and the expectations are that this could be a major boost in her career. But Suki is just focusing on the present.

“I’m really excited because I took my time with this,” she says of the 17-track release. “Took a little while, but now it’s here and I’m just excited to see the people’s reaction.”

Before I could get out my follow-up question, we’re interrupted again.

“I don’t want to interrupt,” our waiter nervously says with a death grip on her notepad, nearly out of breath. “Sorry. There’s a customer that would like to know if she can take a picture of you.”

I meet eyes with Suki and then we both look to the waiter, whose eyebrows furrow with wonder. We all look to her manager, Michael Blumstein.

“Can you tell her she’s in the middle of an interview?” he requested.

I am Suki’s fourth interview of the day and she had more to do after me. The rapper’s appearance in Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s music video for “WAP” has kept her booked and busy, to say the least. And, with the video for that song becoming one of the biggest cultural touchstones is recent musical memory, her appearance has also made her a lot more recognizable.

“It’s so huge, everybody stops me and they’re like ‘Hey, weren’t you in the Cardi video?’ Even old ass people,” she says of her newfound rise in fame. She was already a regular fixture on VH-1’s Love And Hip Hop: Miami and has been making music since 2017. And it’s been captivating for a long while, too. When I first heard “All In Your Throat,” it was the kind of song that compelled me to share with friends immediately, eager to hear their reactions from a woman better known as a reality TV star. The energy from “All In Your Throat” is the same energy that lives in “WAP,” so it would only make sense for Cardi to reach out to have Suki in the video.

“I gained more fans,” she says of her appearance. “Cardi definitely shared her fanbase with me. I appreciate her for that.”

As part of a group in hip-hop turning the commodification of sexualizing women in music on its head, Suki is helping to redefine what it means to be a hoe, a woman that enjoys sex and money. “I feel like when I say I’m a rich-ass hoe, it just means I’m that girl. I got a little bit of scandalous ways in me, but n****s can’t just…it ain’t even that easy no more,” she says.

That POV has caught the attention of both fans and peers. On “All In Your Throat,” Suki chants, “Fuck him on the yacht, fuck him on the boat,” which she later discovered happens to be a favorite song of City Girls’ JT, who praised her for the track on Instagram Live. Suki, who credits yacht trips for changing her rich-ass life, asked JT if she had tried that yet.

“I always been a kinky girl but if you got a boyfriend and y’all just do stuff all the time, he’s just laying there and you got feet, you never just try to hook it up with your toes?” she asks me, showing that nothing is off the table when you’re in her presence. “I don’t know if that’s weird, but that’s just normal for me.”

“I’ve seen it before, but thought it was a bit much,” I reply.

“Well, you know you have more muscles in your legs than your hands, so instead of doing it like this,” she says with the up-and-down motion of her hands. “You just lay him back and…” Suki leans back in her chair and demonstrates what it would look like.

“I guess I made a song about it and a lot of people relate to that,” she adds. “It’s just something fun to try.”

Sexually charged lyrics and explicitly chanted freak tales might still turn heads in certain demographics (looking at you, Fox News), but it’s increasingly normal in the hip-hop world, and for Suki in particular. Rapping about sex comes as naturally to her as rapping about Dracos does to 21 Savage. Suki isn’t just rapping about sex, though. She’s giving game. She is telling women to stop stressing over men who offer nothing but good d and a headache. She is encouraging women to get to the money.

Earlier this year, Suki went viral after she signed up for OnlyFans and made so much money she purchased a Bentley. “During the pandemic, I felt like that was a perfect opportunity for women all across the USA to make that good old coin,” she says of her decision to join the subscription service. “Especially when you got bills due.”

“It’s like men just want a woman to depend on them,” she says with slight annoyance, leaning in and lowering her sunglasses as if to make sure I am receiving her message clearly. “They want us to depend on them to get that type of money or live that type of lifestyle. It’s like boy, no, that’s over. That’s back in the day. We can vote now.”

On Wolf Pussy, Suki lays out six rules that serve as a guide to freedom from male patriarchy. She has been lyrically vocal about the uneven exchange women tend to experience while dealing with men. Back in the day, a man would provide while a woman stayed home to take care of domestic duties. But it’s a new day now. More women are becoming breadwinners and are in a position to ask for what they want. Sukihana just wants women to reel in their power by not confusing self-respect with how patriarchal society determines a woman should act in order to be respected.

“Baby, how you got self-respect?” Suki asks hypothetically. “Because you’re here with these different guys and they all doing what they want to do to you. They’re not even helping you with your bills. They’re not even helping you mentally with anything. You just get some dick. You don’t count. You don’t have self-respect.”

All women have been there. I know I have given my all to a man with absolutely nothing to show for it while also losing myself and my self-confidence in the process. That experience erupted a kind of silent rage that made me want better for myself. On Wolf Pussy, and on the track “Forgot To Love Me” in particular, Sukihana speaks for all those that have felt this way.

“Let me tell you, when I was a bum-ass bitch,” she says, recalling her own self-realization moment. “Not even a bum-ass bitch but a normal girl that didn’t really have any goals and was just like this is what life is. When I started working from morning to night and I didn’t get no sleep, I did everything I had to do to chase my dreams. You can’t even come in my circle unless you’re going to go as hard as I’m going. I’m not going to let you treat me less than I treat myself. I can see back in the day, maybe I didn’t bring enough to the table, so of course I don’t get to ask for as much — even though I could back then because the cat always been good. But now, I’m really that girl.”

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