New York City rapper and singer-songwriter Princess Nokia brings chaos to the pageant world in her new video for “Sugar Honey Iced Tea (S.H.I.T.).”
Although the title recalls Kelis’ swooning love funk from 2003, Nokia’s taunting swagger reveals a different agenda: dunking on her haters. “Sugar honey iced tea/these bitches don’t like me,” spits Nokia over finger snaps, horns and the soaring runs of a gospel choir. “I got the juice, I got the Hi-C/No you can’t unlike me,” she boasts. “You got some time on your hands/’Cause all the time you be hating.”
Directed by Emma Westenberg (Janelle Monae, Troye Sivan), the new video follows Nokia and fellow rapper Maliibu Miitch as they go through the motions of competing in the “Miss S.H.I.T. 2020” beauty pageant. Yet in Nokiaworld — the inverse of a society in which European features are valued as the pinnacle of beauty — all but one of the competitors are women of color. Nokia enters the room popping blue bubblegum in an all-leather biker fit, and closes the video as the Virgin Mary reincarnate, adorned with gems and frosty blue chiffon. As her final act, she passes on her winners’ crown, and figurative torch, to a young black girl in the audience.
Princess Nokia’s new single comes a year after her 2018 mixtape, A Girl Cried Red, which served as her feminist answer to the male-dominated realm of emo rap. In 2017, following the release of her debut studio album 1992, she was named one of Rolling Stone‘s New Artists You Need to Know.