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“Too sexy. Too loud. Too black,” read the screens behind Megan Thee Stallion as she stalks the main Coachella stage, a simple but highly effective approach to calling out those who’ve criticised the Texan rapper for existing in a space dominated by men. Tonight the Texan rapper – real name Megan Pete – is making no apologies, wearing a skimpy silver outfit that looks like an even more bondage-focused take on Jane Fonda’s costume in Sixties sci-fi film Barbarella. She is nothing less than a force.
Her rise to fame – and second Coachella headliner status – has been fast and focused, with her 2019 mixtape Fever leading to her official 2020 debut Good News and last year’s Something for Thee Hotties compilation. But it was her guest appearance on Cardi B’s infamous 2020 single “WAP” that truly bought her to the mainstream, the perfectly filthy foil for her explicit, but proudly sex positive emceeing and dancing. Weaponising sexuality has been her modus operandi since she flipped from Instagram freestyler into a fully fledged star and this evening she fully leans into such straight-up sauciness, taking control of the very thing that has been used to dominate and disarm women for centuries.
Every song gives her ample opportunity to twerk and then some, even going as far to push a male backing dancer’s face between her legs during “Eat It”, before proclaiming she’s “got more milkshake than Kelis” on a throbbing “Sex Talk”. Her fleshy female backing dancers also make for a refreshing change from the usual rail thin types booked for such major shows.
Yet for all the set’s powerful seizing of such sensuality, there are moments which don’t quite work. Sure, it’s great that Megan manages to fit in a fabulous outfit change halfway through the show, returning in a spangly turquoise bodysuit. But when you’ve only got 50 minutes, leaving the stage for five of them seems like a waste of time and energy. Especially when Megan leaves her floundering DJ onstage to take the reins, his lacklustre hype man duties leaving the crowd confused at best and bored at worst.
Megan’s return can’t come soon enough, but no-shows from Cardi B on “WAP”, Dua Lipa on “Sweetest Pie” and Nicki Minaj on “Hot Girl Summer” seem like a missed opportunity for some Coachella collaboration gold.