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They just wrapped up their first European tour, they released an album earlier this year and now they're headed to Knoxville PrideFest. We're talking about God Des and She who will whip the crowd into a frenzy June 22 when they take over World's Fair South Lawn.
God Des and She continue to bring their socially conscious brand of hip-hop on their latest album, United States of God Des and She. On "God, I Know You Love Me" God Des and She examine the religious hypocrisy in society. On "Don't Look Back," God Des and She bring a Jessie J "Price Tag" melody to a hopeful message of strength when facing loss.
But that doesn't mean God Des and She can't bring the house down with party tunes either. "Ew She Said That" will get hands in the air and butts to drop it low should they perform it at Knoxville PrideFest. And hopefully God Des and She will bestow their reggae influenced "Amazing Grace" on the audience.
O&AN caught up with God Des from God Des and She to talk about Pride, their recent tour and why it took so long between albums.
Can you explain the name God Des and She?
When I came up with the name God Des, I wanted to portray the irony in naming myself something hyper-feminine as most other female rappers do. I searched for a Greek goddess name of some sort but nothing hit me. Then a good friend of mine said "I got it, how bout God Des, a combination of a goddess and you got this." I loved it and it stuck… hard. And well She came about after years of thinking about what would could possibly go with God Des. Copious amounts of tequila in a bar in the East Village bred the name SHE.
Y’all sign your updates Be Out, Be Visible—which you are. You just wrapped up your first European tour. What was that like?
It was incredible to say the least. We had huge turnouts and people who are not fluent in English screaming 'Lick It' as loud as they can was something we will never forget. We also played a lot of political and activist based gigs which were refreshing and inspirational. France is in serious turmoil right now because gay marriage just passed and there is an extremely violent climate for LGBTQ folks; seeing their strength was humbling.
I feel like European audiences are different from American—is that true?
I mean audiences that are engaged in your concert and love what you stand for our awesome worldwide. But in general, Europe is more politically progressive and our crowds were much more diverse than in America.
I caught a performance in 2012 at MSR in Atlanta and y'all performed an Adele cover—who are y’all listening to now?
We are digging Imagine Dragons, Tegan and Sarah, K'nann and Kendrick Lamar is always bumpin' in our tour van.
Congratulations on the new album. Had it really been 4 years between albums? How have things changed for God Des and She?
This is album was pretty much completely DIY. Our fans were really involved in helping us create it. We raised all the money on Kickstarter for it and recorded it completely in our home studio using almost all God Des beats. We didn't care about making anything other than what we felt was important, fun and inspiring. It doesn't fit into any box and we are really proud of it.
Surely over the years, you've been approached by major labels? Why do you stay indie?
We have had a few encounters with major labels but no one ever accepted us for who we are and we have never been willing to compromise that. We never wanted to dumb down our lyrics, change our gender expression, and sing about meaningless crap. So, he were are 10 years later plugging away and singing for the people.
The album opens with the “United States of God Des and She” a track calling for those who believe in equality to stand up—do you consider yourselves political?
Yes, very. We are one of the new openly queer hip-hop bands that have been successful. We address homophobia, racism, classism, sexism and all kinds of things in our music. If you don't like it, BYE!
I’m such a ballad boy, so I dig “Don’t Look Back”—especially the drum roll. What is the inspiration behind that track?
My dad died from Cancer a couple years ago so I wrote the song about my experience of coping with that. SHE lost her mom about 10 years ago and was able to create her incredible singing part drawing from that pain.
I love the album cover for the United States of God Des and She? I look at this Old America / New America juxtaposition, what was the idea behind the cover?
We wanted to be soldiers for equality and point out the hypocrisy of American politics. We are soldiers for peace and use our words and music as weapons.
People may be surprised by the reggae take on “Amazing Grace,” but I think it’s brilliant. What inspired y’all to use that chorus?
SHE just started humming it and we thought it beautifully pointed out some serious contradictions.
You’ve performed in Tennessee before. Any favorite memory?
Gosh, we have had an awesome time every time we have come! Pride in Knoxville last year and Pride in Nashville a few years ago was super fun. And, you guys definitely have the most unique and complicated names. Every time we sign our merch we have to have y'all spell your names cause we have never heard them before. So you guys definitely win for unique names in Tennessee!
Is there a difference in a God-Des & She Pride performance and a performance in another venue?
I think the vibe is different for sure because A) not everyone is totally drunk yet B) the energy is big and free C) People want to feel inspired that day. So yeah, I would say in general the vibe is a bit different.
You were quoted recently in an op-ed on The Advocate website from Eric Himan. Can you talk a little about the struggle for GLBT artists to play prides?
We are fortunate in that we are one of the new openly queer acts that do get hired for a lot of prides. But so many prides never hire LGBTQ artists and keep hiring 80's stars that are not part of our community. We should honor and celebrate the gay pride piece and hire musicians that are part of our community.
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.