Words + Photo by Antonio.
Baltimore club legend Blaqstarr will celebrate the release of a new EP in tandem with a coloring book entitled “Moan Her, Lease Her” tonight at Baltimore’s EMP Collective. Love, relationships and sexual expression have always permeated his music, but on “Moan Her, Lease Her,” Blaqstarr will also explore the taboo of sex work. Mia Loving, his wife and creative partner, gave me some insight into the project and why a coloring book could add a distinct voice to the conversation about the world’s oldest profession. The release event starts at 8 PM and you can grab tickets here.
Q: What inspired the connection between sex work, which is very adult, and then a coloring book, which is typically made for children?
MIA LOVING: The way Blaq creates is that he makes a beat, or strums the guitar, and does a “vocal sketch” or what he calls “spirit talk.” He then listens to it over and over, translating the talk into actual lyrics then refines the song. One studio-session night, “Mona Lisa” came out of that. When I listened to it, he shared it was about a prostitute. I suggested he put out an EP with that theme since he has a few songs where that’s the [primary] content. I also realized that though he’s evolved greatly as an artist, one thing that ties mostly all his music together — from over 15 years of creating — is that of sex and love. When looking at the industry side of things, and when selling a product, that product is placed in a box, there’s packaging involved. Blaqstarr is nearly impossible to put in a box but if anything loosely fit, it’s sensuality.
“Blaqstarr is nearly impossible to put in a box, but if anything loosely fit, it’s sensuality”
People don’t really buy music too much anymore but we’re seeing a rise in specialty items [such as] books, namely coloring books. I thought it’d be cool to produce an erotic coloring book because it was just random enough to work. We like to present new ideas and things and this seemed like a good fit. Randomly, a label hit us up and they loved the idea as they are looking to push projects around sexuality and technology. The music itself is almost a love affair; personal interactions and conversations with a prostitute. The songs range from the first conversation and interaction, to the intoxication, the relation, and slight commentary. It kind of goes through the whole gambit, explicitly and implicitly.
Is there any advocacy work that’s incorporated into the project?
The event offers opportunity for conversation and for advocacy. We invited a sex workers organization, and will have different “think-abouts” throughout the space and a part of the presentation. Blaq does believe that consensual sex work should be decriminalized. He respects the hustle and how people will literally put themselves out there to achieve a goal, and that they are providing a service that helps people. I agree, but I’m mindful of what role capitalism, poverty, patriarchy and misogyny play when it comes to the actuality of things. The history of prostitution, especially sacred prostitution, is very interesting and I’m doing the research now.
“He respects the hustle and how people will literally put themselves out there to achieve a goal, and that they are providing a service that helps people”
How will this be different from the IRL-only album “Element Paranormal”?
Element paranormal was more of a shopping cart or collage with various artists and sounds. This EP is more focused.