2020 has been an emotional roller coaster for many people.
Yet, singer-songwriter Kehlani had no clue what a tumultuous year this would be when she first conceptualized her latest album, It Was Good Til It Wasn't. (How on the nose the album title turned out to be.)
And while this latest musical venture—which dropped back in May amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—is a high for Kehlani, she has faced some hardships this year, too. For a new profile with Bustle, the "Toxic" singer revealed how she's persevering through a time of great loss, civil unrest against police brutality and systemic racism and more.
At the same time, Kehlani gave a look into her big heart and shared insight into her love language. "I've been able to identify the difference between what is feeding my ego and what is feeding my soul," she explained to the publication. "Understanding that I feel fuller longer after things like seeing my family on holiday versus how I feel after I buy myself something."
Here, we compiled some of Kehlani's most candid quotes for an exclusive first look at the profile. Scroll on to see what she had to say.
On Coming to Terms With Death:
As detailed in the profile, Kehlani had recently experienced a heartbreaking loss before participating in the interview. Specifically, Kehlani's friend and fellow artist Ryan Bowers took his own life back in July. "I just lost my third friend this year and it's only been half the year," the singer shared. "So, that's been strange, just processing that, but also just trying not to feel guilty, has been the hardest thing."
Previously, Kehlani also mourned the loss of rapper friends Lexii Alijai and Chynna Rogers. As she said, "I've had to almost develop this relationship with death that I kind of always had... of really being conscious about what I do while I'm here."
On Being in Public Relationships:
Kehlani isn't hiding her personal life from the public eye. Even after several public breakups, including her February split from rapper YG, the 25-year-old artist clarified that she's only worrying about what brings her joy.
"There's been some people that are always like, ‘You're always in a relationship and we just see you do this and this and this.' And I'm just like, ‘Why aren't you going out and experiencing things?'" she said. "I'm not hurting anyone. I'm not hurting myself. I'm bringing myself joy. I'm not holding back because I really understand time. I try to go spend as much time thoughtfully creating those moments as I can."
On Acts of Service:
For Kehlani, acts of service is one of the best ways to show love and support. She articulated this by noting, "When I do feel it, which I do, acknowledging that I have a way to assist others, is just the biggest balance for me."
She continued, "There's literally nothing that feels better than being of some type of service. So when I hit the point of ‘I'm feeling all of this' I find it helpful to acknowledge that I can do shit about it in other ways."
Most recently, she curated care packages for those who need them. "I just dropped off some bath salt and CBD to a bunch of the homies the other day who were out protesting and got arrested, and their bodies were all sore," the mom of 17-month-old Adeya said. "So even being able to know that I can't show up for this protest because there's a lot of exposure to people and I don't want to bring a virus home to my baby, but what I can do is go take care of the people who've been protesting, is helpful."
On the Need to Support Black Women and the Black Queer Community:
In the interview, Kehlani revealed that the rape and killing of Toyin Salau has hit her "the hardest." Thus, she made a call for those within the Black community to protect women and Black queer people.
"There has to be some type of real step of accountability from inside the community," she said. "If we're really asking for abolition, we're asking for the eradication of the people that are supposed to protect us, which means the after effect of that is we're going to have to have our own systems developed within our community—that has to start now. That protection, that sharing, that let me reach out, let me help with this. How can I be a service? That has to start now. And that has to come with some sense of protecting our most vulnerable, protecting our children and our women and our trans women and our queer Black people."
On What She's Teaching Her Daughter:
Kehlani wants a better future for daughter. In order to achieve that, she plans to learn and listen to activists leading the charge. And, in result, will share that wisdom with her little one.
"I want her to be able to walk around here knowledgeable, to be able to feel confident that when she opens her mouth to teach somebody else that it's accurate," she said. "So I always have to come from an accurate standpoint in order to do that for her."
Fore more from Kehlani, check out her full Bustle interview here.