Hila the Killa: The Viral Creator Promoting a Culture of Self-Sufficiency
July 1, 2022 @ 10:00am
Hila the Killa raps about broccoli, reusable jars and her take on Cardi B’s “WAP” – a “Wet Ass Planet.” The common thread that connects a vegetable, a common sustainable swap and a creative description of the Earth is the global climate crisis.
Hila Perry, the face behind Hila the Killa, is a content creator and “eco-rapper” that’s on a mission to educate the internet on how to curate a sustainable, zero-waste lifestyle. The rapper’s viral presence on social media is now making waves at the Smithsonian Institution. In May, Hila was selected to be the monthly “Futurist in Residence” at the Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building as part of the museum’s ongoing FUTURES exhibit.
A New Generation of Zero Waste Advocates
Hila isn’t afraid to wear a globe suit in front of her 95K followers on TikTok. The creator posts daily videos that often feature Hila in her well-worn Earth costume, rapping about ecology, everyday sustainable tips and her favorite vegetables.
In every verse she writes, Hila told District Fray that she’s here to encourage all people to decrease their waste production and look toward an eco-conscious lifestyle that breeds abundance.
“How do I empower the people who are already on this train of thought, and by doing so maybe get other people to begin to love it as well?” she asks.
Whether it’s encouraging her followers to be “bag bitch” that shows up to the supermarket with reusable bags, or educating the public on the ecological dangers of household chemicals, Hila says, “The idea is to make people feel empowered, to devote their lives to their communities and to the planet.”
The creator’s zero-waste journey started after a visit to the popular Black Rock Desert in Nevada for the Burning Man festival, a week-long celebration of art, music and counterculture. While the festival has faced controversy in the wake of the #MeToo movement, its “leave no trace” policy has been praised for encouraging attendees to conduct a “line sweep” that instructs festival-goers to clean up any traces of man-made waste.
Witnessing the “strange eco-city that Burning Man inspires,” Hila returned home to New York with a newfound awareness for personal waste and single-use plastics. From there, she developed an interest in self-sufficiency culture, and began growing her own food and learning more about ecology and Earth science.
Now, Hila is promoting a lifestyle centered around sustainability through her music and online content. In her song “Future of the Earth,” a product of her residency at FUTURES, the artist raps about the many ways individual impacts can shift a collective response to the climate crisis. In one verse detailing the benefits of organic recycling, Hila explains, “Compost builds a microbial nucleus, nourish the plants that feed the youth and us.”
Hila keeps her content colorful and engaging. The video that accompanies “Future of the Earth” shows the eco-rapper in her element, green screen-style dancing over mushrooms, flowers and a cameo of the Capitol building.
View this post on Instagram
Carving a Unique Space on the Internet
While an abundance of zero-waste and sustainability content exists on TikTok, Hila’s content is uniquely climate “edutainment,” she says.
“I’m trying to make it fun, and exciting, and sexy.”
The artist sees her approach to sustainability education — one that infuses climate education with music and entertainment — as a feasible entry point to those overwhelmed at the thought of changing individual consumption habits.
“People will listen to music, or they’ll dance to music, or they’ll go for a run or whatever,” she says. “And these messages will just kind of seep into their heads.”
Hila hopes her authentic love of all-things-sustainable comes across in every rap she posts online.
“When I make a song about broccoli, it’s because I genuinely love broccoli — I love vegetables and I’m mostly plant-based.”
Ultimately, coexistence with nature requires people to realize the collective impact of shifting individual habits, she explains, because every sustainable swap helps to “create environments that keep people healthy, happy and well-fed.”
“My perspective on everything is that Earth is a big party,” she says. “We’re all here to party and to have fun and be together.”
On Friday, July 1, Hila the Killa will make her debut at the Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building in a special pop-up performance at 5:30 p.m. Follow Hila on Instagram and TikTok @hilathekilla.
Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building: 900 Jefferson Dr. SW, DC; aib.si.edu // @smithsonianaib
Enjoy this piece? Consider becoming a member for access to our premium digital content. Support local journalism and start your membership today.