The usual masculine stereotype associated with hip hop music, is pretty macho. Guns, ‘hos, gangs, drive bys all feature heavily in rap and hip hop lyrics and imagery. That’s what makes DPhill (aka DJ Spanglish) a breath of fresh air. This 20 year old rapper, DJ and visual artist is different from a lot of men in rap/Hip Hop. He wears brightly coloured lipstick, vibrant shirts and bow ties, and sometimes paints his body and face in abstract patterns.
This fashion statement comes with a message and a thought-through set of beliefs. DPhill is the originator of the “XY Movement,” which aims to encourage everyone, especially men, to be themselves, and dress how they like, mixing feminine (x) and masculine (y) styles.
I asked DPhill what it was like growing up being a bit different from other boys. He said: “Teenage life for me was very adventurous. School sucked! I hated getting picked on for being weird. But I hung around cool people and made it through. I believe it was a major growth period for me.” The best aspect of teen life for DPhill, in his words was: “Sex! And getting a job, girls and freedom. Also finding good music was a great part of growing up. I love Kanye West, Pharrell, Kid Cudi, Outkast, etc. Amazing music!”
When I asked him if boys and girls have different problems/pressures growing up he replied: “Boys are usually pressured to play sports or do something extra in school. Girls have peer pressure problems from other girls such as weight, appearance and style. I think I’m slightly different from the average boy. My style is definitely androgynous, so that’s one thing that sets me apart.”
In his androgynous style, DPhill is a brave pioneer of open-minded masculinity. He is part of the small but great tradition of (mainly white) pop stars from the 70s and 80s such as David Bowie, Marc Bolan and Boy George, and more recently models such as Andrej Pejic.
This is why Mark Simpson identified DPhill as a role model for metrosexuality. He called DPhill’s XY movement “the metroseXY movement” and said:
“What I do think links this to metrosexuality is the way that DPhill (like Andej Pejic) is keen to assert that he is going to wear what he damn well wants to wear and to hell with what’s ‘appropriate’ to his sex. Or genre. Metrosexuality isn’t about androgyny per se but about accessorizing clothes and adopting products and practises previously considered ‘unmanly’. And in hip hop this look is really rather brave.”
I agree with Simpson and I think it is worth pointing out that as a young man who does not identify as ‘gay’ DPhill is particularly brave to wear make up and to stand out from the crowd. I follow him on Twitter, and as well as getting a lot of support and love he also is often criticised by other young people on the social media site, and called “gay” or like a girl. He stands up to that criticism and even wins some people over to his XY values.
DPhill is proud of his achievements so far, in particular: “Landing in Vibe Magazine! And having my face and name known world wide due to the XY Movement that I created.” His ambitions for the future are to “make Oscar winning movies, grammy winning albums, help the world, create crazy cool art!”
Finally when I asked DPhill what advice he would you give to teenage boys/young men reading this he said, “Do what you want to do , no matter who don’t like it!”