Kash Doll Tells Us What It Was Like When Rihanna Slid Into Her DMs

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She’s really living the dream

While Kash Doll is no stranger to the rap game, it was her feature on Big Sean and Metro Boomin’s ”So Good” that gave her momentum to reach mainstream audiences. Hailing from the hustle and bustle of Detroit, Kash Doll (aka Arkeisha Knight) had no choice but to boss up. With her life-long love for hip-hop, aggressive authenticity, and grind mode mentality, Kash Doll has deservingly pushed her way to prominence as a female rapper.

With over 2.7 million followers on Instagram alone, Kash Doll is also aware of her position as a role model for all aspiring women rappers who want to follow their dreams while staying true to themselves. Earlier this year, she unleashed a project called Brat Mail, in which she detailed her appreciation to her loyal fan base. Shortly after, she released her single, “For Everybody,” which clocks in at over 10 million views on YouTube alone—all the more impressive because there was no major label push behind it. 

At just 26 years old, Kash Doll celebrates signing with the Republic Records family along with her new single titled “Ice Me Out.” On top of that, she has a highly-coveted cosign from Rihanna herself. I had the pleasure of catching up with Kash Doll right after her explosive performance at Rolling Loud in the Bay Area. See what she has to say about growing up in Detroit, the inspiration behind her name, and meeting Rihanna.

For those who don’t know, who is Kash Doll?
Kash Doll… I’m pretty like a doll, and I’m 'bout my cash. 

How would you describe your sound?
Unique, bossy, fun. It’s me. You know, black girl magic. 

You’re from Detroit, how does that play into your life and career?
Growing up in Detroit, I have really tough skin. I probably come off like I don’t care as much, but I just know how to deal with things. I feel like I’m happy because I can keep peace of mind. I don’t take everything to heart. Detroit is tough, and I’m about that life. [laughs]

What does it mean to perform at Rolling Loud today?
Everything. It took me a while to get here, and I’m just happy to be here. I was in legal situations where I wasn’t able to perform at these big festivals. To be here and for them to reach out to me, I’m excited!

How was your performance?
It was lit. They ran to the stage when I got out there! 

How does the West Coast compare to back home?
It’s not too different. They have different gangs and stuff like that, and they have their suburban area too. It’s not that much different. They don’t have Coney Island though, and Detroit doesn’t have Roscoe’s.

What was the inspiration behind your name?
I’m a doll about my cash. A pretty girl about my money. 

At what point did you realize that this rap career was for real?
Probably in 2014. I’ve always done it, but 2014 is when it started to get real.

Do you remember the moment?
Mmm… when I got paid for my first feature. 

What is your take on the music industry?
It’s a good time for female rap. I’m excited to see the different flavors, to see what everybody brings to the table. I think that it’s growing, it’s big right now. Hip-hop is going crazy right now, and I’m just glad that I’m a part of it.

Who are some female rappers that you grew up listening to?
Trina, Nicki Minaj, Lil Kim, Lauryn Hill.

You had a huge moment on “So Good” with Big Sean. Talk about how that record impacted your career. That’s a banger!
First off, it’s a banger. Second, it’s Big Sean. He’s a legend. And then he’s the big homie from Detroit, so I’m like, “Oh my god.” When he reached out, I couldn’t wait to do it. So it has definitely affected my career, I noticed it. That was my first time really being on the radio.

What was the dynamic like in the studio?
We didn’t get into the studio, he sent it to me. We moving, we’re really booked and busy in real life. So he sent it to me, and I just made sure that I got it back to him.

You released Brat Mail earlier this year. What is it you want fans to get from your story?
That anything is possible and don’t let nothing to try to stop you or bring you down. Just tunnel vision. Anything is possible no matter who you are, what’s your skin tone, or how old you are, it’s never too late. Make no excuse for it, just give it your all.

“Ice Me Out” is a statement. Talk about the inspiration behind this record.
Because I feel like us women need to start making more bossy stuff. I was just like, “Ice me out!” I love diamonds. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

What are some goals for yourself as an artist at this point in your career?
Speaking of goals, I just met Rihanna the other day. We were hanging out. Listen, we were drinking and buying makeup! At one of her Fenty events. She reached out to me. We took pictures and everything! It was in New York for NYFW. It was just like a life experience. 

How did she reach out to you?
Instagram, she DMed me. Let me show you, because I couldn’t really believe it. [shows phone] It’s Rihanna. You think you want to meet her, but then when you meet her, it’s even more!

Any music collabs?
We’re talking about it.

That would be some boss bitch shit!
Yeah, we would have fun in the video. Me and Rih-Rih? [laughs] I always say Rih-Rih and Ki-Ki.

What did you do with your first advance?
I didn’t really touch it, because I was already established. I just put it to the side.

What about your first check ever?
I bought a pair of shoes. I was always into fashion.

How would you describe your style?
All designer. Like today, I’m in baggy clothes. In Prada and YSL—you know how I would come. Some YSL swag, some YSL shoes. I got a Chanel bag. Louis shades.

What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Probably the airport. Touching down, I’m going to a show. Getting hair, getting makeup. Listen to music, see my fans, it’s a live crowd. Might drink a little bit here and there, it’s fucking lit. Back on the plane. Touch down, hit the mall, security… that life. 

Three things you need in the studio?
Water. Grapes. Sometimes candy too. Candy just gives you energy. And then sometimes drinks, but not all time. I’m not really a drinker.

How important is social media for your career?
Social media was the only platform I could use at one point to release music. I was putting minute videos up. I love social media because that lets people know who you are.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Winning, somehow. I’m a hustler. I was working three jobs at one time. I would definitely be winning, but I don’t know how. I would be a boss though, for sure. 

Any side hobbies or passions that you like?
I like dancing. I like shopping. I like boxing, skating, running. I’m into all that.

What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
I have a lot. My favorite is when a girl couldn’t come to my show because she got shot in her head. So I went to her house, and she was acting like there wasn’t nothing wrong with her. She was so excited. I walked in, and she was like, “OMG, Kah-Kah, you winning!” And this and that. I was like, “Oh my god.” The whole side of her head was gone.

I would break out in tears. 
I wanted to, but I wanted to be strong for her.

Favorite song to perform in a set? 
I’d have to say either “Here I Go” or “For Everybody.” “Ice Me Out” is my newest favorite. I think all my shit slaps, because I love doing “So Good” too. ‘Cause when that beat drops… “doom doom doom.” Shout-out to Metro.

Who are the most played artists on your phone?
Besides Kash Doll… Rih, Dolph, Fab.

I love Dolph, I’m so glad you said him.
I just did a song with him.

Is that going to be on his project!?
Yup! That’s my dawg.

What was the dynamic like in the studio with him?
He’s cool. He’s so chill. And in his face, he’s handsome as hell. I just gotta give it to him.

Dream collab?
Rihanna, I always say that. And Beyoncé.

Anything else you wanna let us know?
My album is coming. Music videos. I’m that bitch. [laughs]

Photo courtesy of TNT.

The gang takes on a casino this season

For its third act, the TNT series Claws is here to prove that it's still the gaudiest show on television.

Claws follows a criminal underworld in Florida that lurks just beneath the surface of a local pain clinic, a strip club, and, most prominently, a nail salon. Despite wanting to make a legit business out of her nail salon, HBIC Desna (Niecy Nash) has spent the past two seasons getting deep into a life of crime. She has had the help of her autistic brother Dean (Harold Perrineau) and the four women she loves the most—Southern belle and con artist Polly (Carrie Preston), silent possessor of Big Strap Energy Ann (Judy Reyes), restlessly sober Jenn (Jenn Lyon), and former stripper Virginia (Karrueche Tran)—who are all back together in the new trailer.

Spoiler alert: Virginia was shot trying to protect Desna at the end of last season. But she survived, and now she's rocking a bedazzled eye patch as the gang takes on their next venture: a casino. "We own a casino," says Desna in the trailer, as we see shots of people gambling and money thrown in the air. "If we play this right, we can all level up." As always, trouble follows, the manicures are over-the-top, and, as an extra treat, Dean is still pursuing his dream of being an adult dancer.

Claws returns for Season 3 on June 9. Check out the trailer, below.

Claws: New Season Sunday, June 9 [TRAILER] | TNT

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Having endometriosis can feel like existing in a parallel universe

"The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me."—Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I got out of the hospital after endometriosis surgery almost three weeks ago, but life hasn't gotten easier yet. I still have to take painkillers—which barely work against this type of abdominal pain—almost every day, though neither I nor the surgeon expected it at this point. All he said was: "It can take a while when you've had pain for this long."

I have pain all days, but I can barely stand it on those painkiller days. It's not my first surgery, but the despair is fresh. I look forward to when I will cry only once a day. When I try to take stock of my situation and of what I will be required to do and decide about my future next, I boil over until everything feels hopeless and meaningless. My mind turns into a hysterical, red-faced toddler; wailing mouth, slobber falling, stubby limbs thrashing, tears-spilling, wounded eyes staring at me. I try to soothe it, repeat that it's okay to be sad and it's going to be alright, though all I seem to be capable of is to refrain from hitting the screaming toddler I've become. I turn away to look out the window, clench my teeth and wait.

One day, I wake up in pain and abandon my desk to close the curtains again and watch the last episodes of the third season of The Originals. Spoiler alert: Almost everyone dies. The Vampire Diaries and The Originals share the same supernatural universe. The shows have beautiful production design and increasingly boast a pleasingly diverse cast, except of course that everyone is slim, young, and gorgeous. Both shows are at times clogged with silly amounts of expository dialogue. Everyone is constantly dying and coming back from the dead.

Supernatural teen TV shows have always held a draw for me. I can't quite explain it and don't usually tell people I watch them. It's a little embarrassing for an adult with an MFA degree, who is supposedly busy with serious literature. I could certainly defend it and argue that there isn't enough art that focuses on the female experience, and so of course art that caters to a young, female audience gets an inordinate amount of shit and triggers a conspicuous amount of anger and derision. But as a very petite and soft-spoken woman, I've had my fill of people not taking me seriously. So, I don't.

As I've been sick again, I keep coming back to these shows. In part, it's because I like to watch shows with young girls as main characters, but also, nobody on these shows has babies—except the occasional mysterious infant whose existence breaks all the rules of the universe and who needs to be protected from a thousand murderers. Someone whose childlessness isn't entirely by choice can very quickly have their fill of that everyday self-satisfied and long-suffering parenthood so often seen in media.

Another thing is, nobody on these shows has a job—being their haughty, sexy, murderous selves and dealing with the ensuing drama is enough work. This means they can keep me company in the daytime, unlike all of my friends with their nine-to-fives. These characters' lives also reflect my own in combining high drama with the mundane. We're fighting for our lives, some of the time, but we're also padding around our apartments with the curtains drawn, wondering what to do with the daylight hours, while everyone else is outside in the world, having a life.

Even while battling my illness, I sometimes feel strong, and start to imagine I could accomplish anything I want despite my condition; it can be hard to remember why I live this vaguely parasitic existence—until I get outside among regular people. How loudly and copiously they talk! How ruddy, large, and sunlit they are! While I have strengths, my frailties are specific and impossible to get around no matter what I do. I peer dizzily at people like some sort of night creature, unsure how to read them or pass as one of them, trying to have conversations but also dodge questions about what I do for work.

When I was 19 and living at home, waiting for my life to start, I would come home late every night and watch reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the small TV in the kitchen so as not to wake my parents. I was so caught up in it I would leave my friends in bars in order not to miss episodes, though I'd seen most of them before.

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It is well-written and funny and deals with teenage angst better than most shows, with the additional raised stakes of the world constantly needing to be saved. Later, I also realized that part of what made the show resonate so loudly for me was that Buffy, too, kind of has an invisible illness. She has to struggle in secret as The Chosen One. She feels a lot of pain that the rest of the world cannot see. She is fighting monsters and hideous things and is always in mortal danger, performing secret heroics that look like nothing to the rest of the world. All they can see is that she's doing a bad job of being a regular person.

These shows also deal with death, in that a lot of dying happens. Giant subjects like what happens after death are solved in vague and malleable ways. There is an "Other Side," but it's not for everyone, and it can be destroyed. You die, but then you come back if your friends need you badly enough, to deliver messages and die again. You keep your agenda, your enemies, and your outfits—even though you are dead.

An episode or two after a major catastrophe, the characters are more or less back to normal again. There is too little vomiting in art. But it's still strangely soothing for me to be in the grief space so many episodes linger in. People in these shows are always in peril, in a position to display courage, and being pushed to their limits. There's always a new threat and a new loss in a way that feels a little too familiar for me after these past few years of getting more and more bad news and spending more and more time in hospitals.

I recognize that shadowy atmosphere that exists after something has gone really wrong, but you still need to make decisions and fight for your life. I also recognize all those little, well-written speeches about choosing life, having said them to myself. Perhaps what I find most alluring, though, is the concept of having a bunch of people who understand that you live in a half-lit world of hidden dangers and tragedies, even though you look completely normal.

These shows all explore weakness and strength. There are always monologues about how powerless humans are, delivered by arrogant, practically invincible vampires. The point the shows seem to make is that the unbearable vulnerability of human lives is what gives our lives value, and even makes them desirable.

In real life, our vulnerability seems to be seen to be only a weakness; any lack of clarity about the future is a sign of imminent failure. Most people around me have lives in which they set a plan based on what they want, and then simply see it through. They don't think of their bodies except to consider that they will age painlessly. They hear me explain the basic facts of my life and think, Wow, that's a thing? Chronic pain?

They are shocked when they have a health scare and feel moved to write to the papers about the quality of the care they received, feeling sure none of their readers will have ever heard of what they are about to describe: "Hey, you guys, I discovered a thing!" They can afford the luxury of feeling revolted at the hospital smells. They write about how glad they are to have their health, after it was revealed that their specific scare, of course, was only a small easily fixed thing and this isn't their problem.

Because that would surely be a different kind of feeling.

What happens when it does concern you? When it's fucking on, and it's you versus it? When it's not happening some other day, you are there, in the waiting room, the ER, or the hospital bed, and you can't leave. It's you and the rest of the losers waiting there in the line at the hospital blood lab. Your shit on the line, your body in the MRI machine, your little skin meat sack on the operating table being put under to be cut open, probed, and rearranged. You fighting for your life in dull rooms with the TV always on.

These TV shows, wherein enemies are fought straightforwardly, head-on, with fists and fangs, soothe me as I remain in this liminal space where I need to lie on the couch and watch TV and cry and recover, yet again. Run through the corridors of my old trauma, Möbius strip-style. Find a way to make choices such as whether to aim for pain management or retain the faint possibility of future pregnancy. The body will run out. Blah blah blah, we are all human beings, all of us limited. Can I accept the imperfections of the brief phenomenon of being alive? Do I need it to be a cherry tree in peak bloom, before a single petal has fallen? Good luck with that.

It doesn't seem fair that a situation of being seriously ill, exhausted, and struggling to get through the day should require that I also ascend to some higher level of egoless, non-clutching being who is completely fine with the perimeters of a human life. Nobody else seems to have to.

When having conversations about my health problems, I sometimes feel like the other person is wondering, past a certain point, why I even bother? Wouldn't it be easier to be dead? My own stack of misfortunes, though I know I'm lucky in some ways too, is getting to be so large that it seems somehow… unlikely. Like being hit by lightning several times.

It's easier to not ever talk about it. But I also need to tell, to be seen, and recognized. I need allies.

Probably, what I love most of all about all these vampire shows' excesses is that they indicate that it's possible to continue on—that just because some weird shit happened to you, you're not done. You can still be interesting and gorgeous. Even if you came back from the dead several times and were tortured and shunned by your community and had to flee. Even if you had to become a different kind of being and kill to stay alive; you can come back, ready to bring your enemies down.

Karen Havelin's novel, Please Read This Leaflet Carefully, is available for purchase here.

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Photos by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for WE Day, Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

He also thought Lana Del Rey telling him he would be guillotined was a compliment, so we don't think he understands women

In a new memoir called Then It Fell Apart, singer Moby alleged he had a relationship with actress Natalie Portman when he was 33 and she was 20. But, in a new interview with Harper's Bazaar, Portman set the record straight, saying that his description of their relationship is false and contains other factual errors, that makes his behavior seem even grosser than it already did.

Not only did Portman say that the two didn't date, but that he also misrepresented her age. "I was surprised to hear that he characterized the very short time that I knew him as dating because my recollection is a much older man being creepy with me when I just had graduated high school," she said. "He said I was 20; I definitely wasn't. I was a teenager. I had just turned 18."

She says that they met when she went to one of his shows: "He said, 'let's be friends'. He was on tour and I was working, shooting a film, so we only hung out a handful of times before I realized that this was an older man who was interested in me in a way that felt inappropriate."

Portman also stated that she was not contacted to fact check this information, noting that "it almost feels deliberate." "That he used this story to sell his book was very disturbing to me. It wasn't the case," she said. "There are many factual errors and inventions. I would have liked him or his publisher to reach out to fact check."

Another part of his memoir describes a conversation with Lana Del Rey, in which she joked about how wealthy he was. "You're a rich WASP from Connecticut and you live in a five-level penthouse. You're 'The Man.' As in, 'stick it to The Man.' As in the person they guillotine in the revolution." His response: "I didn't know if she was insulting me but I decided to take it as a compliment." This only further proves that Moby doesn't understand women at all, which may explain how he took a couple of hangouts with Portman to mean that they were dating.

Moby has since responded to Portman's statement in an equally creepy Instagram post with a photo of him shirtless with the actress, calling the interview a "gossip piece." "We did, in fact, date. And after briefly dating in 1999 we remained friends for years," he said. "I like Natalie, and I respect her intelligence and activism. But, to be honest, I can't figure out why she would actively misrepresent the truth about our (albeit brief) involvement. He also said that he backs up the story in his book with "lots of corroborating photo evidence, etc." He then ends with this: "I completely respect Natalie's possible regret in dating me(to be fair, I would probably regret dating me, too), but it doesn't alter the actual facts of our brief romantic history."

Among many other things that are questionable about his claims, if you have to have "corroborating evidence" to prove a relationship that one person claims didn't happen, you're doing the whole "dating" thing wrong.

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Photo by Jerritt Clark / Stringer / Getty Images.

She's been wonderfully honest about the ups and downs of her procedures

There is a good chance that, right now, Cardi B is wearing really something really tight. I'm not talking about one of the pieces from her Fashion Nova collection, either. Instead, she's probably cooing at baby Kulture while swaddled in a compression garment, a necessary part of the healing process after certain cosmetic surgery procedures.

As reported by E! News, Cardi B has had to cancel several performances after her doctor ordered her to rest and allow her body to recover following cosmetic surgery. A rep for Cardi explained to E! that "Cardi was overzealous in getting back to work" and that "her strenuous schedule has taken a toll on her body and she has been given strict doctor's orders to pull out of the rest of her performances in May." This followed an admission by Cardi herself, at the Beale Street Music Festival earlier this month, that she should have canceled her performance because moving too much would mess up her lipo.

Cardi's transparency about plastic surgery is nothing new for her. She has opened up in the past about her underground butt injections, including the financial pressure she felt and the risks she took to get them. She's been open about both of her breast augmentation procedures as well, most recently getting them redone after giving birth to her daughter. But Cardi's transparency about the ups and downs of plastic surgery is still rare amongst celebrities and is therefore refreshing.

And it's not just celebrities who keep quiet about these procedures. The first person I knew to get a butt augmentation was a friend from high school. We reconnected as adults, and I remember going to her apartment after her surgery, and seeing her pace the floor in her compression garment, since it was still too soon to sit and put pressure on her backside. But even in the comfort of her own home, she seemed to speak in a hushed tone about having had the surgery. Before I'd arrived, she just told me she'd had a "medical procedure," and didn't say anything more. This has been the case for other women I've met who have gotten "work" done, including my aesthetician, a colleague who got a nose job, a darling YouTuber with whom I had the pleasure of having dinner; all of them would only acknowledge their enhancements in secret—the shame was palpable, and unfortunate. It's clear that women who get plastic surgery might be celebrated for the results, but there's an expectation that they should keep quiet about it, and feel bad for having made a choice about their own bodies.

So it's no surprise that, in the pop culture realm, people like Cardi are exceptions to the rule. Thanks to the internet, we can easily track the fullness of a celebrity's lips or backside over the course of time without them ever explicitly acknowledging the medical intervention that took place. And while people, of course, have the right to privacy, and should be able to do whatever they want with their bodies without offering explanations, it would still be nice if they opened up, if only to take away the attached stigma that affects so many people. Which is why I hope Cardi's willingness to lay it all out there becomes a trend. No one should have to harbor shame for investing in having a body that looks the way they want it to.

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

"In my head I thought, This is how it ends"

Kit Harington almost lost a lot more than the Iron Throne while filming the final season of Game of Thrones. According to an interview with NowThis News, the actor almost lost one of his balls while riding a mechanical dragon.

Harington revealed that the incident took place when he was filming the scene where his character, Jon Snow, takes a ride on Rhaegal for the first time in the Season 8 premiere. Since dragons aren't real (sorry), Harington was filming the scene, where Jon almost falls off the dragon and then swings around to pick himself back up, on a mechanical contraption.

"My right ball got trapped, and I didn't have time to say, 'Stop,'" Harington said in an interview. "And I was being swung around. In my head I thought, This is how it ends. On this buck, swinging me around by my testicles, literally." We see shots of the fake dragon he's riding in front of a green screen, and it does look pretty terrifying.

Luckily, his testicles remained intact through the near-disastrous event, and he's survived with quite the story to tell to unsuspecting journalists.