When director Napolean Lewis, better known by some as NAPO, asked if I had ever listened to King avriel, I replied "No, who is he?" I didn't say "Who are they?" or "No, who is that?", but "who is he?" While that probably would have been most people's response, to begin to understand the message to King avriel's "Freedom", one must think beyond unyielding gender boundaries
Although short enough to be a teaser trailer, the visuals for "Freedom" are riddled in code and underlying context that explore gender binaries. Aside from that lies very good music. King avriel may have a tone reminiscent of an early 90's New Jack diva, but croons with a distinguishing kind of soul and passionate intensity.
Hailing from L.A., Avriel Epps has seen her share of Stardom; countless modeling gigs, various studio appearances lending talents to the likes of budding artist like Chance The Rapper and rising star J.Cole. As a teenager, she even lent her voice to the popular cartoon show, "Hey Arnold!", but let her tell it and none of that means anything. Keeping her feature appearances exclusive and future collaborations sealed away from those who inquire allows the music to present the message before her celebrity does.
Why "King" and not "Queen"? While the easiest response to that question may be "Why not?", in an essay on her tumblr, she explains:
The song explores my first time experiencing true empathy. Calloused by the way I had been treated by men in my adolescence, I had to fall in love with a man who was deeply affected by the pressures of living in a patriarchal society to realize that the struggles that men face are just as important, valid, and harmful as the ones that women face. We simply struggle in different ways, and with different amounts of power...Essentially, the video is about confronting my recent decision to challenge gender norms publicly, which resulted in the changing of my name to King avriel (purposefully with a capital “K” and lowercase “a”).