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20th Dec 2016

‘An Opportunity To Get Loose By People Of All Shapes And Stripes’: Angel Haze Wows The Academy


For a genre so steeped in the concept of social justice, rap music has a peculiar and complex blind spot when it comes to women’s rights.

Although addressing this problem is not expressly Ange Haze’s mission, her commitment to laying all her cards on the table as part of her brutally honest, often aggressive style means her work becomes something of a liberation message for all who feel marginalised in this world.

Her work is rarely easy listening and her back story is far from easy reading. Born into poverty in Detroit, her father received a lethal bullet from his own gun in a fight while her mother was still pregnant with her. Still very young in her own right, her mother came under the influence of a charismatic Christian preacher.

It was far from the peaceful family life that had been offered – emotional manipulation, financial control and sexual abuse were to follow in what Haze now describes as a cult.

Having lived for years in this environment, where music was outright banned, her ascension to the forefront of contemporary hip-hop is all the more intriguing, and inspiring.

It’s rare to attend a rap gig with a predominately female audience, but this is just the type of effect Haze is having on the game – her originality is infectious and subtly alters the status quo the longer she stays working.

Haze refuses to put a label on her sexual orientation, describing herself as ‘pansexual’. In this way she is a truly democratic artist, something which rubs off on her fans: last Friday’s Dublin gig was gratefully seized upon as an opportunity to get loose by people of all shapes and stripes in the name of empowerment and expression.

“Honestly, I feel so cherished to be here right now”, she speaks to the intimate crowd assembled in The Academy’s smaller stage.

For many other jet setting performers in the same setting, such a statement might simply be an obligation, for her – and like everything about her – it’s palpably real.