Yes, you read that right. Wild child Ke$ha is on the Oct/Nov 2012 cover of VIBE Magazine, looking surprisingly good. Maybe it's that I'm not used to seeing high-end fashion photos of her, but she looks better than I thought she would.
She is making history as the first living white solo female to cover the hip-hop bible – the mag did an obit August/September 2011 cover honoring the late Amy Winehouse, and during my years at VIBE Gwen Stefani posed with Pharrell Williams for the March 2005 issue, with the coverline: "Hip-Hop Meets Rock: Gwen & Pharrell Redefine Music & Fashion."
I haven't read an issue of VIBE in years, mostly because it doesn't speak to me as much anymore, but also because the design has turned increasingly masculine and not in a GQ/Esquire way, which I do enjoy. Even so, this issue caught my attention, and I was happy to see some good articles in there, like Erik Parker's "What the f@%k has Obama done?"
I also commend the editors for taking risks. I remember thinking if it were up to me, I would have put Beyonce on the cover of Latina, right around the time she released her Spanish EP, Irremplazable, with the cover line: "I wish I had been born Latina" – something she actually said to me during an interview in 2007 and caused a lot of controversy, even if she meant it in the most innocent way. But controversy sells, and any good editor knows it.
In the cover story, by Julianne Escobedo Sheperd, we learn that:
-Real rappers think she's a real rapper. "The first time someone called me a rapper, I started laughing," she tells the writer. "I was shocked, and thought it was hilarious. But then, Andre 3000 was telling me how he thinks I'm a good rapper. And Wiz [Khalifa], who's a good friend of mine, thinks I'm a good rapper? Snoop? It's crazy and funny to me."
-She's Humane Society's first-ever Global Ambassador for the animals, and went on a recent "soul-searching" trip to the Galapagos, Australia, and South Africa to raise awareness for animals and swim with baby whales.
-She's smart. She apparently spent her summers studying comparative religion in a gifted teen program at New York's Columbia University.
-She's deeper than you might think, as in this quote: "The first record, people tore me a new a**hole, and were f**king steady on my balls, and tried to make me feel like I was such a piece of s**t. I did some soul-searching, and realized nothing I'm doing is negative, it's actually super positive. You can change people's mood in a three-and-a-half minute song. So why not spread positive energy and be funny? Let [the haters] be miserable. Anyone who wants to have a good time, let's f**king do this."
-Ke$ha really struggled to make it, crashing on her mentor/producer Dr. Luke's couch in LA after moving there at 17 and "writing songs for anyone" until her big break came – Flo Rida's 2009 hit "Right Round." And then the rest is herstory.