When I was a little girl, my Polish Babcia (i.e. Grandmother) would take great pride in bringing me along to Warsaw’s finest beauty salon. I was never into that kind of thing even back then, but to her getting a pedi or a mani was a magical getaway and a must. Thinking back, I must admit, I couldn’t blame her; the beauty salon was a hidden gem, located at the very heart of the city and the spellbinding interior dated back to the 1920’s. As we arrived, the staff greeted us as if we’d just entered a secret haven. I felt royal. I took a quick glance at my Babcia and I could swear to you, in a heartbeat, she suddenly appeared as a hardcore goddess. Years later, my granny keeps on rocking that same salon, not only for the pleasure of getting pampered, nah, but for the pleasure of making business networking and scheming plans with her home girls, of course.
Summing up a brief historical outline on beauty parlours across times, it all dates back to the Egyptians, the Ancient Greeks, to the Romans, the Middle East, and whatnots. Since eternity, beauty salons have been treasured by people back when the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra decided to avoid bad hair days. A big no-no.
Speaking of Cleopatra, Sweden houses its on queen who, accidentally, bears the same name – Umeå-based MC Cleo (aka Nathalie Missaoui – off the swaggalicious Femtastic crew) is Sweden’s equivalent to Rah Digga, sharing that similar flow and dark-pitched voice, bringing it full throttle to the rap game with her partner in crime, the soul-diva Kristin Amparo with no excuses. By all means, Cleo’s got me permanently blushing and I love how she dominates the headlines in hip hop media outlets. (Heads-up to those of you who no-speak-Swedish here’s a tune you could indulge in.)
In their latest venture ‘Gå på Salong’ (i.e. Go to the Salon) off the EP ‘Vem E Han’ (= i.e. Who is He) via Random Bastards – Cleo, Kristin Amparo and Broke ‘n Tipsy take us to the beauty salon where we get introduced to a line-up of Swedish femme fatale queens, and its finger licking good. The hook alone is slamming ‘Gå-på-sa, gå-på-sa, gå-på gå-på-sa gå-på-sa gå-på gå-på-sa gå-på-sa Gå-på-sa, gå på salong’ this is our anthem, and I can assure you ladies across Sweden have missed a tune just like this to grind and bounce to, or as we call it in Swedish to finally fakka ur to.
‘Gå på Salong’ pays homage to beauty salons worldwide and Cleo raps about networking and the importance of sisterhood available at any beauty salon. The Swedish feminist party Feminist Initiative (F!) even featured this track on their latest album in protest at the unequal representation of women in the music industry whilst raising awareness of feminist critiques of modern society.
Cleo is the co-founder of the Femtastic crew, which serves as a network for creative and productive women active in the music industry and cultural sphere. Through the years Femtastic have arranged workshops, events and seminars and inspired young girls to own their place and stand up tall through their creativity. This has not only created a structural change in the music scene, but also built up a large and powerful fanbase in Sweden. With projects such as KWAAI, marking Femtastic’s elaborate movement across nations, its hard not to recognize their immense commitment and dedication in striving for an equal, liberal world.
Are you in awe? Hell, I wanna go to the salon with Cleo and Kristin Amparo, they’re a magical duo and deserve all the awards, standing ovations, encouragement and sweet sweet loving from the Swedes, as does the director of this video, the Stockholm-based Ninja Thyberg.
Hi Ninja, so please tell us, What inspired you to make the video for ‘Gå på Salong’?
– First off, I love the song. It’s heavy and expresses a strong attitude. It triggered me in terms of how it decodes, transforms and creates new associations. Hair and nails becomes something dangerous and threatening in this context – it reclaims the very spirit of feminine symbolism. The salon stands for something empowering, something threatening, a place that allows organization. It’s interesting how different rooms can create opportunities. A salon is a free zone, where other rules are raised and where utopias can be formulated. To me, this video is all about female community and sisterhood. It also deals with subjectivism, to just be for yourself (and your sisters) instead of ‘belonging’ to some dude.
And with that, we all should pay a visit to the salon at some point in life, if not for the pampering, how ‘bout feeling like a queen for a day?
All photos courtesy of: Alexander Lagergren
Cleo & Kristin Amparo ft. Broke n Tipsy – Gå På Salong