Rapper Mykki Blanco Recites Zoe Leonard’s ‘I Want a Dyke for President’

And it's just in time for election season.

Zoe Leonard. Courtesy Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images.
Zoe Leonard. Courtesy Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images.

It was only a matter of time before Zoe Leonard’s I Want a Dyke for President resurfaced in light of our current election season. On Tuesday, American rapper Mykki Blanco became one of the first to revisit the piece.

Just in time for last night’s vice presidential debate, Blanco posted a two-minute video of himself reciting the statement against a dramatic red backdrop. In a text provided below the video, Blanco described the relevance of Leonard’s piece: “In 2016, as we watch Hillary Clinton and, unbelievably, Donald Trump battle it out for control of America, as xenophobic politicians helped the United Kingdom leave the EU, as Russian bombs drop on Syria, the poem—that aggressively questions the violent banality of our elected politicians—remains as relevant and striking as ever.”

Leonard’s typewritten manifesto, which was originally released in 1992, crystallized the country’s anxieties during a time when student protests swept the nation and online activism was starting to gain traction. Notably, that year saw the acquittal of four police officers in the videotaped beating of taxi driver Rodney King, which resulted in the Los Angeles riots, a six-day period of civil unrest that claimed 55 lives. It was also the year Bill Clinton took the White House from George H. W. Bush.

Blanco, whose video homage is posted above, isn’t the only artist who has been inspired by the declaration over the years. As Hilary Robinson writes about Leonard (and other political artists) in Feminism Art History: An Anthology 1968–2014: “We see the political artist in present-day society as a model maker as well as an image maker.” According to Hauser & Wirth, the gallery that represents Leonard, the artist recently contributed the piece to Queer, a collection of documents on contemporary art.


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