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A Hair-Whipping Kelela Comes Through With '90s Attitude In 'LMK' Video

Kelela is not here to play — she makes that clear from the outset of her new video for the hook-up single "LMK."

Directed by frequent Björk collaborator Andrew Thomas Huang, the first visual from her forthcoming debut Take Me Apart (out Oct. 6 on Warp Records) finds the alt-R&B chanteuse draped in femme empowerment and '90s attitude. Rocking interchangeable wigs and late-night wisdom for indecisive men, she makes a bold nightclub entrance with her girls backing her up.

"We wanted make a video that showcases the multiplicity of who Kelela is and who she has the potential to be," writes Huang in a release.

It's much more than a fashion statement, especially in an industry where black women are often relegated to the sidelines, despite being acknowledged innovators. The message works both ways by the video's end, when Kelela sheds the artifice to reveal herself. Love may be a masquerade, but a casual affair is best played when all parties cut to the chase.

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Rodney Carmichael is NPR Music's hip-hop staff writer. An Atlanta-bred cultural critic, he helped document the city's rise as rap's reigning capital for a decade while serving on staff as music editor, culture writer and senior writer for the defunct alt-weekly Creative Loafing.