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April 23, 2005

We B-Girls...Hear Us Roar

A B-Girl Rocking a Crowd (just a sample)...>

YO! YO! Yo, check it out, the above photo is not from tonight's festivities, but I wanted to capture the movement, the artistry, the B-Girlisms, and the awe of the crowd in an image for ya'll because I can't rest until I blog about today's and tonight's events.

Big ups to the folks at Moxie Salon, who selflessly donated their time, energy, skills and $ - donating $30 for each haircut all day today to B-Girl Be. The most incredible, elegant, and talented Desdamona, Sarah White (and her sweet, beautiful daughter), B-Girl Seoul who all rocked during the day; plus the myriad of women who repped onstage including Pavi Elle, DJ Jen, and so many more. Not to mention DeAnna Cummings from Juxtaposition Arts, who DID HER THING curating the gallery exhibition and bringing in awe-inspiring artwork from South Africa, Germany, Puerto Rico, Kansas City, Phoenix, Switzerland, and of course the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

We had an amazing crowd at Intermedia Arts - men, women, children, babies, mothers, grandmothers - everyone having a good time. Gotta shout out the God, I Self Divine, and his beautiful Wife & Sun; his family was most definitely in the house and his son is a young B-Boy in his own right who took over the floor after B-Girl Seoul rocked. I have to give the most sincere thanks to the DJ, Stage One, who for not a lot of dough (shit, it's a fundraiser people) came out with ALL his equipment - tables, speakers, mixer, cables, crates, the whole nine - and ripped shit not only at the Gallery but at the La Bodega afterparty. Yo, on the strength, tonight a DJ saved my life. Stage dropped crazy dope joints that I ain't even expect to hear, plus he loaned his tables to the DJ Lady Luca, a dope female DJ who was most definitely in the house. Luca played all my favorite old-school funk classics. It was so serrrrious I had to take a break from taking money at the door slash checking IDs to jump up and break for a few minutes!

The brother of one of the ladies who rocked at La Bodega (sorry I don't know her name!) came up to me & Desdamona during the afterparty, stopped, shook our hands, and was like "Man, thank you, thank you guys man, women in , I love this, I love all these women in hip hop, I didn't know this was here like this, man, thank you. That's my sister up there, that's my sister. Thank you." Even that alone was enough. Rachel's video installation had heads checking so serrrious, EVERY man and boy in the spot was like, "who's that woman", "what song is that she's singing", "who's that female rhyming there", "can I buy an album from that woman", "where can I find out more about her"... YES!! YES! That's what the fuck I'm talkin about!! THANK YOU for appreciating the immense and irreversible beauty of who we are and what we do! Just to get some acknowledgment, it makes a difference.

And that's what it is. It feels different, somehow. Because, today, things are different. I don't know how much funds we raised, but I do know this. We raised the roof. We raised the dead. We raised people's consciousness. We raised awareness. Everyone who walked into Moxie, Intermedia Arts, or La Bodega learned something today - about Hip Hop, about women, and about themselves. The team behind B-Girl Be IS Hip Hop. We ARE feminism. Not the Hip Hop you read about in magazines. Not the , they're studying in the universities. When we say we're "on the ground," we really mean that shit. Rachel is on the ground, aiming her video camera up to catch the perfect shot. B-Girl Seoul is on the ground, spinning on her back, shoulders, arms and head. I'm on the ground, kneeling down to show two little girls named Tiana and Nesra how I do my graffiti handstyle and my ghetto flowers.

They said Hip Hop was dead. They said females are bitches. They said women are hoes. They said it couldn't be done. They said we couldn't get along. That jealousy or envy would stop us in our tracks. That we weren't capable of thinking for ourselves. That we were wishy-washy and couldn't make our own decisions. That we were weak. That we are just here to make babies, or to be seen and not heard.

We said, fuck them. We said, we're going to do a two-month long celebration for, by and about women in Hip Hop culture. We decided to deconstruct their misogyny, stereotypes, and false negativity; and to reconstruct them into something positive for young women (and young men) to begin to build a foundation on, so that they may have a future. We said, we can do this. Then we said nothing at all. 'Cause we said it, we meant it, and we here to represent it. This is not that bullshit. This is not some theoretical hypothetical pie-in-the-sky ten-year plan.

We did this TODAY. It had to be this way. Everyone has a mother. Respect that. Respect that today is Earth Day. There are no coincidences. Keep an eye out, and an ear to the street, for what's about to unfold. It'll be the end of Hip Hop as you know it, 'cause starting today, we B-Girls are taking it back. And if anyone don't like it, they can step up front...we can battle for it, all skills to the table. Step up front, 'cause anyone who tries to stop this movement will get bumrushed by a team of bad, beautiful B-Girls; battled; and broken down to their very last compound. That's no threat...it's a promise.

Happy Earth Day,

1 B-Girl in a Million

April 19, 2005

Fear of a Red Hat

Be afraid...Be very afraid.

It's like the KKK, but with stoopid red hats instead of white hoods. I think. I dunno, I saw some of these weirdos at the Greek restaurant a couple of months ago. We took a flick with the cameraphone, but it came out mad fuzzy, just a lot of red and purple and white/beige/pinktoe. So, while totally searching for something else online, I randomly by sheer happenstance ended up on the "official" website for these skeezers... Here's a quote, for the unitiated

"'The Red Hat Society began as a result of a few women deciding to greet middle age with verve, humor and elan. We believe silliness is the comedy relief of life, and since we are all in it together, we might as well join red-gloved hands and go for the gusto together. Underneath the frivolity, we share a bond of affection, forged by common life experiences and a genuine enthusiasm for wherever life takes us next.' - Sue Ellen Cooper, Queen Mother"

Okay that sounds like a bunch of fuddy-duddy slash bourgiousee bullshit. I was middle age when I was 9, since it didn't seem like I'd make it to 18, and I certainly didn't greet that shit with verve or elan. Humour, maybe. So, whatevs, in case you have a morbid curiousity, or a lot of time on your hands, or you've seen strange women wearing big furry/feathery red hats with non-matching purple/violet/amethyst getups and must know more on a need-to-know basis, go here. Or don't. It don't make me none, regardless.

I Love it When a Plan Comes Together!

Word to Sha Rock, We Can't Be Stopped...>

U remember the old ads for Reese's? There's peanut butter in my chocolate!? Wait, there's chocolate in my peanut butter?! Basically.

The Princess of the Poem, Desdamona, has this lovely new song I love called "All the Lovely's (Women In Hip Hop)". She posted it on her Myspace blog, but the song was only partially complete, she's still crafting her poetic perfection. She and I were fucking around at our B-Girl Be meeting earlier, and we came up with this crazy couplet

Culturally Illiterate
Spiritually Deaf
Holistically Retarded
Lyrically Inept

Obviously we're two great tastes that taste great together. So then I was thinking to myself, hmmmmm, where ARE all the lovelies at? I put pen to pad and decided to drop science. Here's to a champion-sound collabo!!! I present to you, dear readers, the place where the lovely things are...

All the Lovely's (women in hip hop)

Where are all the lovely's at?
Could it be maybe that they're way laid back?
Cause they wanna be down but the train's off track.
Where they at?

Balance broken
Tits and ass token
Only good for steady fuckin
or product promotin
Where are all my bitches and hoes?
boujee ass broads with their turn'd up nose
This is how it goes and it just keeps on goin'
We have almost been written out of history
providing mystery to the female spirit
following the mystery is fear, afraid to hear it
Can't relate to the voice of the prolific mate
but can't wait to cast bait
securing the grind date
All the pretty girls wait on the sidelines
One half of the other
only seen as a groupie, rhyme dime
Settling for hip hop lovers, under covers
hoping someday their voice will be discovered
They question and I wonder, "Where are all the lovely's at?"
Why is is stated as fact that girls just can't rap unless they fall into the gender roll trap?
Shit, I don't believe that
This is the deal for all the arrogrant
Your oblivion is ignorant
Actin' like she ain't signifigant
Like your voice is the only one that's relevant
Put in place balance
necessary to all life
just one step on the path to get it right
Take insight, something some are lackin in
It doesn't take away your manhood just because you start listenin
All the women I know who write rhymes in their spare time are so muilti-dimensional you wouldn't believe what's inside
No one's takin the time to really find out
It's all speculation of groupie status and the pressure of doubt
Well, I'm bout to call all the ladies out
if you write lyrical spirituals and this hip hop miracle is more than just music to you let me hear you say, "Where are all the lovely's at?"

desdamona HTML©

I said where are all the lovelies at?
Could it be that the bridge called rap
Was built over and across their back?
Ladies got more skills than that
Wise wisdoms speakin on it
The antithesis of wack
So where they at?
Are my lovelies backstage without a pass?
Did they catch the pimp train
Down the twisted hoe track
No that’s not it so let me
Bring it back
To where the lovelies are at
Where they at
Where they at

See lovely ladies
Birthed the babies
Who gave birth to most of these MCs
Some were unlucky in love
Burnt out by lust’s disease
Yet we’ve been lovely
Since Adam and Eve
That lovely mama
Should’ve had a daughter, ‘cause
Man was made in lovely’s image
But through sin he was wicked
Used smokescreens to weave wizardry
Now the media projects negative imagery
So that a bitch in the mirror
Can be what we see
But where are all the lovelies at?
They right here behind me
And they got my back
Believe we ready to rock
And put the train on track
Lovelies make babies
And we don’t make war
We just rise far like shooting stars
How we got this bad rap
It’s just bizarre
Lovelies is who we are
Back in the day
Before bitches began
We made civilizations
Which begat nations
The birth of our frustrations
Savages took our lovely feast
And fed our children
To the belly of the beast
But today’s a new dawn
All that shit will cease
The only thing they’ll remember
Is what the lovelies call Peace

See the lovelies gave birth
To most of these MCs
Created all the rhymes
They use to R-A-P
So next time you twist your lips
To call a lovely a bitch
Please, just stop and freeze
Then get down on your knees
Bow down to all the lovelies
Then somebody scream
Where are all my lovelies at
Could it be maybe
That they’re way laid back
Cause they wanna be down
But the train's off track.
Where they at?

Miranda Jane HTML©

April 18, 2005

That's Just My Baby Daddy...>

By Any Means Necessary...>

Now that I'm old, I've been re-examining a lot of old relationships. My findings are that a) some of what I considered relationships at the time were possibly more quasi-relationships and/or "only good for steady fucking". Or b) those who kept passing me by. And c) there are those that I kept passing by. Furthermore d), a couple who've let bygones be bygones. And there's the shortlist (none of the above). I keep it updated. It's the list of men, who in a few years when the expiration date on the eggs is almost up, will be under consideration for the sought-after title of "my baby daddy". That's a joke, actually, because the men on the shortlist are men, not boys, but actual real true-to-life men who take care of their children, help raise them, and maintain positive relationships with the mothers of their children (and those who don't have children, would do all of these things in theory). Does that mean I won't be a single mother? Probably not. But at this rate, I'd rather have some support, respect, protection, balance and guidance than a diamond ring big enough to cut through safety glass.

Who knows? Maybe something unforeseen will take place before I have to access the shortlist. Maybe not. One thing's for sure. I have a plan B.

April 17, 2005

100% Pure Fuckery

I Wish I'd Never Heard of "Wiscompton"...>

Hmmm. How to say. Went to a show last night at a local spot "The Dinkytowner". Minneapolis is a college town, I guess would be the excuse. My homegirl Desdamona did a fine set, with a live band backing her. DJ was cool except he played too much mf doom for my taste (note that any doom records played = too many). Some crazy punk/Hip Hop hybrid band played first, they were good, lead rapper rocked, lead singer rapped sometimes but sang just like Justin Timberlake. Not as bad as it sounds. Seriously.

So, the bad part. It all started when I looked behind me and saw some trucker hats (always a bad sign) on the table. Then t-shirts. They read "wiscompton". I was apalled. I was disgusted. I was mortified. I was unmoved. I was unsurprised. I was disgusted. Definitely disgusted. Have you ever been to Madison, Wisconsin? It's decidedly NOT just like Compton. I hated the group performing who I guess also own the wiscompton merch. It's the kind of thing where you have to put up a photo and a complaint on your blog about it, but you'd never give them any pub by mentioning their name. Which I don't remember anyway, If I ever knew last night. One thing about not drinking or smoking, when you used to smoke and drink a lot...it makes a bad rapper even more glaringly wack sober than he may or may not be if you were high. Or at least mellow.

So yeah, wiscompton bad. Not bad meaning good. Just bad.