If the music thing doesn’t pan out for Oakland songstress Kehlani, she can always fall back on being a motivational speaker. Not that that would ever happen—she’s been selling out shows on her SweetSexySavage world tour, including her April 20 Las Vegas stop. Everything about her performance was damn-near flawless—from Kehlani’s stirring vocals to her and her backup dancers’ perfectly-timed, cane-twirling choreography to her band adding extra energy to an already enthralling set—but it was the moments in between songs (and trench coat changes) where the “CRZY” singer shined the most. Sure, she may curse and smoke a little weed on stage (hey, it was 4/20), but the 22-year-old proved to be a much-needed, sincere role model for the young crowd.
Sporting a T-shirt of 2Pac, cutoff denim shorts and knee-high boots with her golden, waist-length hair being blown by fans, Kehlani radiated positivity. She urged those in attendance to donate to local causes, comfort one another (“Sometimes a little prayer and a kind word and a little squeeze can make a lot of difference”) and love themselves before delivering “Piece of Mind.” During one break, she shunned the president’s divisive rhetoric. “Right now we have a president who does nothing but instill fear … It’s our job as communities to love each other and protect each other,” she said, before sending “extra love to our trans community. Humans are humans.” Kehlani just happens to be one of the better ones. ★★★★✩
Photos by Erik Kabik Photography / ErikKabik.com