“Ma, I don’t want to go to law school. I want to rap.” Those are the words most immigrant parents dread hearing. But in 2009, artist Dutch ReBelle did exactly that and never looked back.
Born Vanda Bernadeau in Hinche, Haiti to a Haitian mother and Haitian-Dominican father, ReBelle never felt she fit in to the normal standards surrounding her. After her mother fearlessly fought with the Haitian government to get her into the U.S to join her awaiting father, ReBelle’s journey through music began in Mattapan, MA.
While most young girls were into boys and beauty, ReBelle was intrigued by the hip-hop magazines that would come for her male cousins and would rush to read them before they got home while watching hours of BET shows like “Rap City: The Basement”. Heavily influenced by southern Hip-Hop artists like Outkast and Trick Daddy and reggae artists like Vybz Kartel, ReBelle began fusing her poetic skill into freestyles to impress her male counterparts during rap battles.
While on the Dean’s List at Pennsylvania State University, ReBelle began to feel like nothing she was good at really mattered. Her friends back home were dying, her best friend was shot and she began running into trouble with the law. ReBelle soon promised herself she would pursue her creative passion after graduation and if she showed no progress within the year she would go to graduate school.
Months after graduation, ReBelle released a 15 minute teaser tape called “The AppeTeaser” followed by her debut mixtape “Beauty vs The Beast”. It quickly gained the attention of her city with tracks like “I’m Ill” and “Beantown Shit” which soon became a Boston anthem. Her relentless hustle earned the support and respect of her city and she was named the “Best Female Hip-Hop Artist” by the New England Music Awards.
Within a few months, ReBelle earned national attention for her electrifying performances at major festivals such as SXSW, A3C and the Brooklyn Hip-Hop festival. She was soon featured on hip-hop publications such as The Source and The Smoker’s Club which further fueled her fire towards international exposure earning her the title as “Queen of the Bean”. XXL magazine described her rise as “spearheading her way into blogs because of her poetic style… lyrical bravado…and fiery talent”
By 2012, ReBelle’s national impact became clearer than ever. With the release of her “Married to the Music” EP, ReBelle’s video for “Sunday Morning” was featured on MTV’s Rap Fix Live. With the release of more visuals for cuts like “Stop It” and “Freddie (Set It Off)”, it was evident that ReBelle was blazing a path for herself as a “ReBelle with a Cause” as named by The Boston Globe.
In 2014, ReBelle displayed her ability to mix introspective punch-lined filled lyrics and heart pounding production with her “ReBelle Diaries” project. Months later, ReBelle’s record “Coolin” was featured in the A3C Volume 4 Compilation album, she was named the Boston Music Award’s “Best Hip-Hop Artist” and was honored with the cover of the Improper Bostonian’s Music Feature issue.
ReBelle’s latest release “Kiss Kiss” is currently available on iTunes as she prepares the follow-up project “Bang Bang” dropping this year.