As quarantine has continued, Kehlani has made a habit out of creating vibey, interior, dazzling visuals to complement her new album It Was Good Until It Wasn’t. Her latest, for standout album cut “Can I,” might be her best yet.
In the dynamic new clip directed by the artist herself and Sebastian Sdaigui, Kehlani watches a series of cam shows, some of them as charmingly homemade as it gets. The mood is certainly horny, which matches the song itself (Call me over ’cause I go hard / Sweet lil’ bih, fuck like a porn star,” Kehlani intones), yet even in the dark of desire (or perhaps especially there), the clip is a celebration of sex workers. Kehlan is just an observer here, and the performers are the real stars.
She made sure to shout them out in a note on Instagram promoting the release: “support sex workers!!!! ESPECIALLY BLACK TRANS SEX WORKERS. the most vulnerable. sex workers deserve proper pay, protection, and to exist in their careers without consistent shame & violence.”
“i stand with women, believe women, & i love my friends. if that’s something that turns you off from me or makes you no longer support, bless you forreal you have no reason to have ever supported me in the first place.. i’m not your cup of tea,” Kehlani continued on Twitter.
The video ends with a note penned by writer and activist Da’Shaun Harrison that reads, in full:
SEX WORK is a political term that covers and embraces: street-level prostitution, erotic dancing, camera work, adult film, agency escorting, sensual messages, dominatrix work, and all other occupations through which one sells their sexual(-ized) services to clients. It is a legitimate form of labor that must be decriminalized so as to function as a safe form of work for all sex workers. It is often the lives and livelihoods of those who do street-level work that is impacted by criminalizing policies and cultural stigmatization. Overwhelmingly, those folks are Black trans women, Black cisgender women, and other Black queer and trans people—including youth. Black people—as well as Indigenous people and other people of color—deserve to be able to perform sex work without any limitations or stigmas attached, and this means that everyone must commit to learning from sex workers about sex work and sex workers’ needs.
Notably absent from the clip is rapper Tory Lanez, whose verse is still present. However, Kehlani tweeted today (July 30), in the interest of “full transparency,” that Lanez’s verse will be replaced with a new one on the forthcoming deluxe edition of her album.
Earlier this month, Lanez was arrested and charged with a felony count of carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle after a violent incident that resulted in the hospitalization of Megan Thee Stallion, whom he was with at the time of his arrest. Megan later released a statement saying she was “incredibly grateful to be alive” after being shot in both feet and undergoing surgery to remove the bullets.
Watch the celebratory new video for Kehlani’s “Can I” above.