Trans Trenderz label highlights Trans urban music artists
Blxck Cxsper founded the indie record label Trans Trenderz to spotlight the artistic contributions of transgender artists
Blxck Cxsper (they/them) wanted to put out a mixtape that highlighted the skills of trans artists. The tape would show off the graphic design skills, music production, mixing and mastering talents, and everything else that was industry-oriented for trans people.
“We launched in November of that year, and threw a little live show in New York City,” the France-born producer told theGrio. “I don’t know how to explain it. It was at that show that I really felt normal. It felt so good to not be the only trans person in the room that the next day, I was kind of depressed. That feeling was so amazing, but now it was over. Now what?”
Turns out that they decided that what had to happen next was to try to make that feeling permanent. And Trans Trenderz—the record label was born.
Their newest project, The Ghostly Beats Project, dropped in August.
Black transgender men and women are among one of the most marginalized of our people. According to the Human Rights Campaign, “2020 has already seen at least 29 transgender or gender non-conforming people fatally shot or killed by other violent means, the majority of which were Black and Latinx transgender women.”
The vulnerability of the community, combined with the competitive nature of the entertainment industry, makes Trans Trenderz more than a record label. It is a movement and a place of refuge.
In these turbulent times, when coronavirus disproportionately ravaged Black and Brown communities, and a reckoning with racial injustice seems inevitable, Black trans people are also feeling the weight of this year.
“There’s something a little bittersweet about the fact that we have been saying Black Lives Matter for years, but because people are seeing Black people dying on their newsfeeds, they started to care about Black people,” Cxsper said, “I don’t want nobody from my community to die for people to pay attention to me.”
“But at the same time,” they continued. “I’m happy that we’re finally seeing Black trans people and music initiatives led by Black trans people featured on major platforms.”
They mentioned their recent press and growing popularity.
“We had an article come out in Billboard, that’s something that I thought was not possible. A lot of people told me the world was not ready for us. That, that would not happen and it’s happening.”
For Jae W.B. (they/them, she/her), one of the labels first artists, the growth of the label has meant finding her voice, including rapping and singing about more than sexuality, but sensuality.
“I’ve dated so many men in my life who you would never peg for, quote-unquote, being with a trans woman, which is stupid because I’m beautiful,” Jae said. “But, you know, like, ultimately a bad b*tch is a bad b*tch. And I think I can help make that a more transparent conversation.”
On “Completely,” she wrote a love song asking, “do you see me the way that I see me?” She said the song explains that “if you’re not in control of the sexual liberation of somebody then you’re going to be mad about the sexual liberation of somebody.”
Jae said that the song was important because for all women, “the expression of sexuality is a natural part of who we are. And there’s no reason that we should feel like we have to censor ourselves.”
While her first song spoke on her relationships with men, on her most recent single, “Sister,” Jae speaks to cisgender women.
Using the familiar refrain of the famous song from The Color Purple, she implores, “I wanna be your sister/stop calling me a mister/no sense in being bitter/I swear that I’m your sister.” The background vocals say, “exclusionary is no way to be.”
The topic of other female artists arises, and Jae is clear, “those are women that are my contemporaries that inspire me and I look up to.”
Trans Trenderz recently landed a key partnership with Studio G in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The new initiative calls on allies to provide their services to up-and-coming Black trans artists to help boost them into a mainstream spotlight.
The music coming out of Trans Trenderz is unique to their experiences, but they also have songs that are mainstream bops. Cxsper called it, “50 shades of Trap.”
“It really is so individual to the artists,” Jae explained. “Lady Londyn is making this like bad b*tch rap music but also influenced with this house sound that makes you want to shake your a**.”
“While Jupiter Gray has these wild bars like she comes out of nowhere with crazy bars. So, everyone is so different.”
“You know, the life expectancy of a Black trans woman is like 35. And these are things that we don’t talk about because we don’t think about trans people in the collective trauma of Blackness,” Jae said. “We’re able to kind of create this distance between Black identity or Latinx identity or even white identity, and transgender people.”
“We all need to find a way to find equity and we will not find equity if we’re not working together for everyone. Otherwise, we’re just looking for somebody else’s neck to step on.”
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