100 Women We Love

photo by Sophia Wallace
Shante Smalls
Smalls, founder and organizer of Peace Out East, is rocking more than just the mic. In its 4th year this October, Peace Out East is an annual queer hip-hop festival that Smalls hopes will “make a viable artist community” and put NYC on the map in terms of avant-garde, LBGT beats. Shante and her partner, Dutchboy, make up the duo BQE—look for their upcoming album, Dime and Dutch, to be released this year. Despite the queer focus of her career, Smalls is happy just to be who she is and let the labels fall where they may. “I’m interested in making music that is honest for whatever moment that I’m in,” she says. “When it needs to be political it’s political, and right now it needs to be all the time.” –SD