IT'S THAT F-WORD AGAIN
I Might As Well Tell U Who I Am...>
I wanted to post this brief question and answer session for ya'll. An educator by the name of Tracey Salisbury, who came all the way up to B-Girl Be from the University of North Carolina, is putting together an online course on Hip Hop for the fall semester. She's dedicated an entire section of the curriculum to Women and Hip Hop, and has her tech team putting together a "Hip Hop feminist/scholar" virtual roundtable as we speak! Her students will be able to click on each scholar's name, and in my case, they'll be linked to some of my online articles and editorials, as well as P2P. I love that she's doing this because she's one of the few people who acknowledges the Hip Hop scholars who DON'T have PhD's, as well as the ones reppin' Hip Hop for what it's worth within the "Ivory Tower". DOPE SHIT.
Without further pontification...
What is your view of hip-hop feminism?
I embody Hip Hop Feminism because of my politics, activism, and heritage. My Grandmother, Audrey Tuffli-Fuss, founded the first "ad-hoc" women's studies department at CSU Long Beach which eventually became one of the first women's studies departments at a University. I am a staunch activist when it comes to preserving Hip Hop culture, and as an editor and writer I've strived to portray artists and their work in a manner that is historically accurate. Hip Hop is my culture, my life, and my family. Within that culture there lurks a dichotomy and often a disconnect between Hip Hop and Rap, men and women, Commercialism and Consciousness, and even Black and white. As a woman who comes from a generations-long herstory of feminism, I am careful to include women in Hip Hop whenever and wherever possible in articles, book chapters, lectures, discussions, my blog, and even personal conversations. Women in Hip Hop are responsible for SO many "firsts" and half the Herstory will never be told. But for the other half, I've dedicated the better part of my life to Hip Hop, to feminism, and to supporting the growth and development of women within the Hip Hop sphere. I consider myself a wise woman warrior who's fighting a war against silence, misogyny, misrepresentation, sexism, rape, harassment, discrimination, and historical genocide. By any means necessary, through my words and actions, I support women who are working toward this common goal.
What is the greatest issue concerning women and hip-hop?
From my perspective, the greatest issue concerning women in Hip Hop is that misogyny and sexism are rampant throughout the music business and the business of music. Furthermore, this has been a problem for upwards of 20 years; so there is much work to be done to clean up the dirty history and misrepresentation. Images of women in Hip Hop have hit an all-time low, with the only slots available for female MCs falling under the category of Hoe-Hop and Stripper Rap. As women, we must financially support ALL female Hip Hop and Rap artists who do not fall into this "tender trap". Furthermore, we MUST NOT support those artists, male or female, who serve the other side and rhyme to reinforce stereotypes, perpetuate misogyny, and/or hoard wealth for themselves. By this I mean a total Girlcott of radio, TV, CDs, DVDs, films, and any other consumption where women refuse to spend their hard-earned cash supporting those who are against women, against Hip Hop culture, and against women in Hip Hop especially.
What is the future for women and hip-hop?
The future is brighter than ever from Women in Hip Hop. With ongoing movements encompassing the Spelman College Nelly Girlcott, Essence Magazine's Take Back the Music campaign, the Feminism in Hip Hop Conference at University of Chicago, B-Girl Be: A Summit For, By and About Women in Hip Hop in Minneapolis, and a rise in women in power at CNBC, MTV, and BET; change is in the wind. Feminism is the new F-word, and every woman knows somebody who knows something about it. Artists like Jean Grae, Mystic, Psalm One, Desdamona, Goapele, Misundastood, Rayna Shine, Jewel Brown, DJ Kuttin Kandi, The Anomolies, Earth Everest of Black Elephant, D-Lo, Invincible, and so many more may or may not consider themselves feminists; however they are creating the music and lifeforce to sway Hip Hop back to the days when we were Queens and Ladies, not bitches and hoes. Whenever any of these women picks up a mic, they inspire a younger generation of B-Girls on the rise to do the same. It will be these "fourth-wave" B-Girls and Hip Hop feminists to whom we'll pass the baton; and trust me when I say that they'll be rough, rugged and raw when it comes to respecting and protecting the legacy of Women in Hip Hop.