Singer and producer, Santigold notably known for her eclectic lyrics and avant-garde fashion sense, is using her style mantra as a social platform for human rights.
In light of our political climate, Sanitgold is on a mission to alter the conversations surrounding fashion from “What are you wearing?” to “What important issues/causes do you care about?” With her recently released third album “99 cents”, the solo artist talks with EBONY.com about her musical messages, fashion motives and social vigor.
EBONY.com: Can you talk about how you’re using fashion as a way to express yourself about women’s rights?
Santigold: Well, basically the thing I just did with Absolut was kind of like my first opportunity to do something like that, and I thought it was an amazing idea. Which is, they had a campaign called #RefreshTheTalk where they created a special clutch with a London tech company that had a LED screen that basically lit up the front and back of the clutch, and we could create our own messaging that went across the bag.
We put, “I’m a lady,” because of one of my songs. We put, “resistor,” like resistor. We put, “the future is female.” Just stuff like that to basically get the attention, and then when I did interviews I talked about what I wanted to talk about on the red carpet, rather than talking about just, you know, “What are you wearing on the red carpet?”
I love fashion and I love wearing beautiful clothes, but I think that the opportunity especially right now in the cultural climate and political climate that we’re in, I think we really need to use every opportunity and every platform that we have to sort of talk about things that are really important and need to be talked about.
EBONY.com: You talked a little bit about the political climate and this is your first time doing it, but why exactly did you choose the Grammy’s as a platform to do that?
Santigold: I think that more and more people in the public eye are using these types of options, like at the Oscars, or even many brands are starting to use these opportunities where they have the most viewers, moments like that that’s when they step up. Even like, you know, the commercials for the Superbowl, like brands are really starting to use opportunities when they know they’re going to have a lot of eyes on them just to try to make a statement.
EBONY.com: How would you describe your style?
Santigold: I think my style is as, I mean I use the word collage to describe many, many different aspects of my creative approach. That includes my style approach because I just, I take elements from every single place you could imagine and pull them all together. For me, the fun of creation is how I piece random aspects that don’t necessarily go together, together, in a way that speaks to who I am, you know? It’s like, that’s why I love, I mean that’s my approach for making music. I take really playful things with really understated things, with really, you know, extravagant things. Oh, you know, and I could also talk about my costumes for stage, I really use them to make a statement.
For my 99 cents project, all my costumes had, you know, different messaging on them like, what did my, I had a yellow dress that said, “We buy gold.” It’s just about feeling like a commodity as artists and as specifically recording artists, making things, everybody’s a product, and just feeling like what that was about and if I used, I used my costumes and I used my merch and I put messaging on them, and I made a total social statement with that fashion as well. I just felt that that would be important to add. Then, there’s other days where you just want to be comfortable and I love that, too. I love a sweat suit.
EBONY.com: Are you going to be involved in any future, I guess, movements with fashion or even campaigns coming up that people should be looking forward to?
Santigold: I’m going to be using my voice in every way I can, whether it’s in my clothing, whether it’s in my music, whether it’s in me actually talking. I mean, I continue to be as active as I can, because I feel like right now we really need as many people to voice their opinions and stand up for what is right, you know?
EBONY.com: Can you tell me about your project 99 cents, and what was your vision and your goal for this project?
Santigold: For 99 cents it was a project that was talking about commercialism and consumption, and how everybody nowadays views themselves as a brand and as a product, and what that means and what that feels like. I approached it in sort of a playful way. But, you know, some of the topics were very serious and I think, you know, I talked about narcissism and social media, and the perils of it, you know, which I think, yeah. What else did I talk about in 99 cents.
Like for instance, the video I did with “Can’t get enough of myself,” we did some pretty much new technology I think they hadn’t, it hadn’t been done for a music video where we used, we activated the webcam or your phone camera to integrate the viewer into the video consistently. You know, to drive home the point of narcissism and how fun it is for everyone to like see themselves over and over again.
EBONY.com: What political causes are you most passionate about?
I think, you know, there’s so many different causes that people can stand up for but really, I mean the main cause is human rights. Human rights, women’s rights, gay rights, like rights, you know what I mean? I think that if people could see the interconnectedness of it all, and really work together to make sure that you know there’s no injustice, and understand that an injustice against anyone is an injustice against us all.