In a big day for Thai hip-hop, dissident teen rapper Danupha “Minnie” Kanateerakul, aka Milli, became the first Thai solo artist to take the stage at Coachella for a performance that left her fans hungry for more.
Emerging before a backdrop of LCD flames, hip-hop sensation Milli, 19, officially went global early Sunday local time when she played the first weekend of Coachella in Indio, California, as part of a lineup of Asian talents signed to the label 88rising.
Milli performed a mashup of some of her fan favorites like Mirror Mirror and Sud Pang but stole the internet’s heart by eating from a dessert plate and howling at the crowd, “Who wants mango and rice that is sticky?!” before exiting the stage.
Soon after the performance, Milli stans were echoing her cry of “One thing, I didn’t ride an elephant!” across the internet and transfixed by her live eating of the iconic dessert.
Apart from #MilliLiveatCoachella trending on Twitter back home, another hashtag rising to the top since Sunday was, of course, #MangoStickyRice. Social feeds have been overwhelmed by people showing off their mango sticky rice dishes.
Milli has grown in prominence not just for her sharp verses and dazzling visuals but also for her subversive confidence and defiance of authority. Milli told Coconuts in a 2020 interview that is what her fans respond most to.
“I saw every reaction to videos for my songs, and I saw them smash their keyboard although they don’t really understand what I’m singing … What is amazing about music is that the attitude put into it can be perceived without language as a barrier,” Milli earlier told Coconuts in an interview.
Last year she became the first and only Thai celebrity to be charged with criticizing the prime minister. She paid a THB2,000 (US$60) fine.
Milli has nearly 2 million Instagram followers and closed her set by asking for more.
At the time of publication, Thai officials have yet to brag about Milli’s smash hit and her potential “soft power” at Coachella as they did in 2019 after a set there by the more conventional – and less controversial – superstar Lalisa “Lisa” Manoban, a member of South Korean K-pop group Blackpink.
After this story was published, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Monday afternoon said at a presser that the government will push for mango and sticky rice to be recognized on the UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list.