With social media becoming more about dramatic exposure rather than protection, artists are finding themselves stuck under a judgmental microscope more than before. The most recent case is Kehlani, who was unfortunately torn apart by Twitter trolls after she was publicly caught in a love triangle with PartyNextDoor and basketball star Kyrie Irving. The traumatizing act led to Kehlani attempting suicide (she has since recovered) and shutting down her social media accounts (her Instagram is now active).
We don’t know for sure what the 21-year-old’s current mental state is, but her Lollapalooza performance showed that it is possible to keep pushing, no matter what personal battles remain in your way. Donning an oversized black sweatshirt that fittingly read "Support Your Friends," Kehlani was greeted by exploding roars from a crowd filled with her biggest supporters.
The audience, which was dotted with girls the same age as or younger than the singer, transformed into a mirrored reflection of Kehlani herself. Their stories may not have been blasted for public critique like hers was, but it was clear these teenage girls related to anxiety, broken hearts, fear and awkwardness—all things the artist is vocal about in her music.
The Oakland native bled both her witty charm and pain into her performance, with fan favorites like "How That Taste," "Jealous," "Wanted," "Yet" and "The Way" from her 2015 You Should Be Here mixtape. Anchored by her sassy backup dancers (who were rocking shirts that read "We Are Not Disposable"), Kehlani owned the first day of the festival as she moved with the finesse of a '90s R&B star. It was confident, purely sexual and motivating.
Coincidentally, the Chicago thunderstorm that could’ve halted Kehlani’s set slowed down a few minutes after she left the stage. That unexpected moment was proof that it’s worth waiting around for the sun, so it can finally combat that stubborn dark cloud and heal your soul.
Listen to an episode of Fuse's Back of the Class podcast below, where we preview Lollapalooza at the 21:45 mark: