March 24, 2017


Future Women's History Month: Kehlani's Remarkable Vulnerability

Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage
Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage

Fuse is celebrating Women's History Month by looking at a variety of rising forces who are creating Future Women's History before our eyes. Today we are honoring Kehlani, who has never been afraid to expose both the dark and bright corners of her life in her music.

The Oakland, Calif. native first captured our souls with her debut mixtape Cloud 19 (released in 2014). Kehlani quickly quenched fans' thirst with You Should Be Here the following year. The mixtape is a fusion of neo-soul, contemporary R&B, pop and hip-hop that brings you back to the '90s black music heydays. The singer opens up about heartbreak, puts f-ckboys in their rightful place and daydreams about her future.

The release of You Should Be Here came with an instantly dedicated fan base for Kehlani, but also pushed her into a harsh spotlight that she may not have been ready for at the time. Around this time last year, the singer found herself caught in between a dramatic relationship triangle with ex-boyfriend PARTYNEXTDOOR and her partner at the time, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving.

It was attention that she didn't ask for, so she later deleted her social media accounts as people wrongfully placed the blame on her instead of the men causing the drama. You know, typical misogyny. A few days after the cheating rumors circulated, Kehlani attemped suicide. But instead of hiding out, the singer shared her pain with fans.

“I wanted to leave this Earth. Being completely selfish for once. Never thought I’d get to such a low point. But don’t believe the blogs you read," she wrote underneath a photo from a hospital bed, with an IV in her tattooed arm. "No one was cheated on and I’m not a bad person. Everyone is hurt and everyone is in a place of misunderstanding. But as of today, I had no wish to see tomorrow. But God saved me for a reason and for that…I must be grateful. Cuz I’m not in Heaven right now for a reason. On that note, bye Instagram."

The singer then transformed the unfortunate chain of events as an outlet to connect even deeper with fans and use it as a source of healing. After a few months out of the spotlight, Kehlani emerged last May with the meditative "24/7" single that was a reflection of her recovering mindset. She later opened up about the pitfalls of depression and mental illness in a candid speech at a Bay Area concert.

Speaking on self-harm and advocating the suicide hotline, the singer said: 

"[Suicide] is something that so many young people are dealing with...and so many young people slip under the rug. Please, don't try it, don't do it. You know I'm very honest with the people that support me. It wasn't a first time thing, and that's not okay. It's not okay for anyone. Not the people around you, not the people who love you, not the people who care about you."

Fast forward to 2017, and Kehlani channeled her growth in her debut album—January's SweetSexySavage. The project finds her more personal than ever, with songs like "Advice," "CRZY," "Keep On" and "Hold Me By The Heart" overflowing with a raw vulnerability that most artists stray away from. But not Kehlani. No matter how uncomfortable or traumatizing the situation may be, she understands her bigger purpose. Both her music and personality serve to heal others, which is why she has a future in women's history.

We're celebrating Future Women's History all month long! Tune in to Fuse and come back to every day for profiles, videos and more. Find Fuse in your area with our Channel Finder. Next, watch Kehlani discuss her love for the "unapologetically bad ass" Pink: