September 2012 Archives

Blog 2: Hip Hop Feminism in the Twin Cities

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Before reading the Peoples and Anderson articles, I really had not thought of or heard of hip hop feminism. I did not think that the two ideologies could go hand in hand. Whenever I think of hip hop, the first thing that pops into my head is the hyper-sexuality of women, and I do not associate that with feminist ideals. The Peoples (2008) article gave me a very good idea of what hip hop feminism is truly about with the quote " hip-hop feminism might be best understood as a means of reconciliation and reclamation on the part of young black women in the U.S. trying to create a space for themselves between the whiteness and/or academically sanitized versions of university based feminism". It really stood out to me that hip hop feminism relates mainly to black feminism. After reading the previous articles on the origins of hip-hop, it makes sense to me that hip hop feminism would focus on black feminism, but I also feel there is an emphasis on feminism as a whole. Although women of different cultures are affected by anti-feminist ideologies in different ways, I feel there are many anti-feminist ideals that affect all women. I think it is extremely smart for women to express their feminist ideologies in hip hop since hip hop has become such a major part of the American life and culture. I like the idea that women in hip hop can use it as a dialogue with the men in hip hop, to express their thoughts and feelings on what the men are saying and doing to the stereotype of black women. Hip hop has created and reinforced certain stereotypes of black women, and women in general. It is powerful for women to fight back with hip hop. Peoples (2008) talked about the idea of a dialogue. The dialogue is described as having three main issues of "the constitution of black feminist identity, black feminist approach to engaging in hip hop, and relevance of contemporary black feminist activist strategies". Hip hop feminism is not a way for women to portray themselves as victims of a masculine ruled society, but it is a way for women to express how strong, independent, and powerful they are.
When I think of hip hop feminism, I think of female involvement in the hip hop scene. There are some hip hop males who promote feminism in their work. Until I had discussed the idea of hip hop feminism with a friend, I had no idea that Atmosphere had songs promoting feminism. After this conversation, I proceeded to google Atmosphere and feminism. An article from the Harvard Crimson (2008) discusses Atmosphere's involvement in feminism. It states that the song "Dreamer" promotes and emphasizes feminism.
Along with Minneapolis Artists promoting hip hop feminism, there is the B-Girl Be summit, which started in 2005, that brings light to hip hop feminism in the cities. It is a program that not only allows girls to showcase their talent, but to become educated on the topic. Women of all cultures and ages join together to share knowledge and experiences of hip hop feminism. The core mission of B-Girl Be is to inspire female leadership for future generations.

The video I chose to go with this blog is basically an overview of what the B-Girl Be summit is about.

Hip Hop Feminism in the Twin Cities-Blog # 2

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When I first began to think about this prompt, I really had no idea as to where one could find hip hop feminism in the Twin Cities. The topic of hip hop feminism is something I had not been exposed to prior to beginning this course. So how was I supposed to know where to find hip hop feminism?? My first somewhat naive thoughts went to hip hop radio stations, hip hop dance clubs, hip hop murals painted around the city.. but I knew there had to be more to hip hop feminism in the Twin Cities than that.
The first place I chose to start my search was to educate myself more on hip hop feminism. I came across many writers questioning the existence of hip hop feminism today and comparing it to that of the second generation hip hop feminists. This was an idea that prevailed throughout our readings on hip hop feminism. Peoples, in "Under Construction" cites Zooks and Morgan as "arguing that second-wave black feminism has failed to address the current realities and needs of young black women." In this same article, Peoples concludes however that hip hop feminists of different generations are more similar than one may think and in fact they are all fighting for the same thing-to grow in their identity and fight the sexist portrayals of black women in today's music and videos while empowering women of this culture. The concept of hip hop feminism is further explained in an online article titled "Hip-Hop Feminism: Still Relevant in 2011?" by Akoto Ofori-Atta. In this article, the author writes that hip hop feminists are similar to the idea of feminists we know in that they advocate for women's rights and empowerment. The difference is in how they aim to achieve this-through the use of hip hop music, dance, art and politics.
Now armed with a better understand of hip hop feminism, I can begin my quest somewhat more educated and somewhat less naive towards hip hop feminism in the Twin Cities. I started brainstorming different places and searching the internet for ideas. And wasn't it ironic what I came up with to write my blog on. The one place I have chosen to highlight as a place pervasive with hip hop feminism is right here at home at the University of Minnesota! The idea of hip hop feminism here at the U fits with what Adrienne Anderson writes about in "Word". She speaks of how it wasn't until college that she truly saw a movement happening. She says "it seemed as if hip-hop spurred a new student movement... political movements among African and African American students melted seamlessly with hip-hop." This idea shows that college is a place for young adults to step out of their comfort zones and truly be heard. It also shows that hip hop is a means for expression and a voice to those of the hip hop culture.
There are so many outspoken, empowered women of the hip hop culture on our campus who are using their voices, music, art, dance, etc to be heard and to establish their identity beyond the sexist image portrayed. If someone were to attend our class, they could easily see an example of this in Professor Isoke and many of the students participating. Our class also highlights another illustration of hip hop feminism alive and thriving on campus. How many colleges and universities would offer such a class, completely dedicated to hip hop feminism? And to see the wide variety of people in the class, searching to learn more and to educate ourselves in order to empower and be empowered. I also read about a former U of M Feminist Studies PhD student quoted in an article called "Hip Hop's Lone Ladies Call for Backup" named Rachel Raimist, who is also a hip hop film maker. She was also involved in a three-day hip hop festival held on at the University of Minnesota in 2010 called "From Vices to Verses: A New Era of Hip Hop and Action." This research also led me beyond campus and opened up to me the wide variety of hip hop festivals, celebrations and movements here in the Twin Cities area such as the annual Twin Cities Celebration of Hip Hop held at First Avenue and MayDay Hip Hop and Arts Festival held at First Nations Center.
I began to realize that this list could go on forever, exemplifying the prevalence of hip hop feminism here in the Twin Cities that continues to exist and expand today.

http://blogs.citypages.com/gimmenoise/assets_c/2012/04/552033_151887764936788_100003466968931_192539_1214316034_n-thumb-300x494.jpeg

Female Agency & Feminism in Hip Hop

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Immediately when I think of hip-hop feminism I think of contesting the hatred and misogyny that litter the lyrics of rap. But hip-hop feminism has more to offer than that. It creates a "space for young black women to express their race and ethnic identities and to critique racism" as well as "a site...to develop their own gender critique and feminist identity" (Peoples 21). It's about contesting the only given channel that women can exist in hip-hop and giving women agency in whatever form they choose. Whether by adopting a trickster method and embracing one's own sexuality, as Lil Kim has done. Or by using hip hop as "a generational and culturally relevant vehicle" (Peoples 25) to express critical analysis, empowerment, and resistance.

Hip hop feminism to me is about taking back female agency in the hip-hop culture and broadening the channel that female voices can exist in. Because we live in a world where we do not only exist in one plane; race, gender, ethnicity, geographic location (among other things) are all intersectional and effect the way that our representation is constructed. Patricia Hill Collins discusses in the Durham article how these constructions are linked to systems of domination and power. And how power is very intertwined with these representations of the self in and outside of hip-hop.

I am not very well connected to the hip-hop feminism that exists in the Twin Cities. However, since I live with a roommate who goes to McNally Smith, the name Dessa has been thrown around frequently in my house. Dessa fuses slam poetry in rap to create a very unique existence for herself in the cities' hip-hop and hip hop feminism scene. Brother Ali also comes to mind and he raps about topics that intersect race, homophobia, able-ism, politics, and masculinity.

Location

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After watching the Nicki Minaj video in class and having thoughtful discussion, I wanted to draw on something that initially caught my attention in her lyrics during the first video viewing. It appears that location is very crucial to Nicki and in this video as she chose to include visual themes that are culturally relevant and important to her. But in the lyrics to "Pound the Alarm," there is a clear contradiction to the location being depicted versus lyrical content. The lyrics that create this contradiction are:

.."Skeeza, pleeza, I'm in Ibiza.."

The realization that Nicki is singing about a place that is so far removed from the chosen location to film the video made me feel a little more of something for Nicki. Ibiza is an island located off of the coast of Spain and is known as being one of the largest party cities in the world whereas Trinidad and Tobago is an island nation located in the Caribbean. There is an obvious divide in how she wants to be depicted, and how her lyrics have been influenced by others in favor of clubbing music and money making. I thought there was a little glimmer of feminism and power reflected in the decision to film the video in her home country which loosely follow lyrical context. This was very interesting to me and I just wanted to point out the locational differences in lyrics vs. visual.

Hip-hop Feminism in the Twin Cities

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"Hip-hop feminism[...]is not a pinup for postfeminism put forth by duped daughters who dig misogynistic rap music and the girl-power pussy politic of empowerment." (Durham, 2007, 305). Following this thesis, hip-hop feminism reaches far beyond just music or even feminism, meaning that hip-hop feminism can be found here in the Twin Cities wherever activism lies. I find it on the graffiti on the greenway between Cedar-Riverside and Franklin, at First Avenue seeing THEEsatisfaction, the Women's Center at the University, The UWOC on campus, and our class. Asking questions and critiquing is part of what Peoples calls "the hip-hop feminist agenda". She describes this agenda as a person who uses the critique to materialize a new individual, social, and political agenda (47). The key message to defining hip-hop feminism is not that it lies just within music or "black" "feminists".
That being said, it's important to acknowledge the musical hip-hop artists that preach feminist and dissenting ideals, mainly POS, Dessa, Doomtree, Atmosphere, etc. There are also art galleries run by women, like SooVAC, where artists from non-normative backgrounds are validated via showcase. And of course, the above mentioned graffiti that can be found all around the city.

These are all forms hip-hop feminism because they critique homophobia, capitalism, sexism, and racism. All of these forms of hip-hop found in the city are indeed hip-hop because they occupy spaces that patriarchy tells them they shouldn't, and value many voices and embrace the value of different situated knowledges.
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Blog 2 Hip Hop Feminism

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To me, hip hop feminism is grounded in the experience of being a black female, speaking from the self outward in regards to hip hop and everyday life. Bringing to surface and combating intersecting forms of social oppression such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, homophobia, classism, and capitalism especially in regards to hip hop.

What stood out to me in the readings was in Whitney Peoples article, Under Construction, on page 24. How she shed light on mainstream rap music, how it markets ideas of "blackness" to mainstream America. These ideas of "blackness" represent racist, sexist and homophobic ideologies and images that generate economic value. Furthermore, these images represent ideas of black males and inherently violent and aggressive. These images are marketable because we live in a homophobic, sexist and racist culture. Similarly, black women are marketed as hypersexual and submissive. This was evident in the Nicki Minaj video: very sexual appeal, sexual and submissive lyrics.. must I continue...

What makes me somewhat sad actually, is how people, young girls who look up to Nicki Minaj and other sexualized figures. Nicki does not represent black feminism. She is buying/conforming into mainstream ideologies:racism, heteronormativity and especially sexism. My point here is not to 'bash' Nicki, to point out how 'bad' she is. Rather, to shed light on mainstreams societies ideologies that women have to be hypersexual, submissive and etc to be able to be popular world wide, rich. This process is due to capitalistic standards, market human bodies according to certain ideologies. In this case, sexism to the max.

As for hip hop feminism in the twin cities... I wish I knew! Soul Friday is a Queer women of color event. It takes place at Hells Kitchen first Friday of every month. However, it is called Soul Friday, but most of the women there are white... O Minnesota! Also, the Gay 90's has a hip hop dance floor, but, I don't think it has much to do with hip hop feminism. Dessa is a great artist in the cities. She performs poetry, spoken word, raps and teaches music. She is also apart of Doomtree.

Hip Hop Feminism According to Morgan

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After reading, discussing, and viewing hip hop feminism in this Pop Culture Women class, I have been given the ability to describe what hip hop feminism means to me. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines feminism as and organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests or the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Although feminism and hip hop feminism go hand in hand, I believe that hip hop feminism is grounded in the black feminist thought and hip hop feminists use the popularity of hip hop to give recognition to women of color. I also view it as the lived experience of being a black female and using their stories to help make a movement. One quote by Durham stating, "Hip-hop feminists recognize hip-hop hegemony in this movement, and use its popularity to turn a spotlight on the social conditions of women of color," was appealing to me because it describes how I view hip hop feminism. Hip hop feminism is important because it is clear that much more needs to be done because African women are oppressed at every level in the power structure and the liberation of women has the potential to change the whole structure and the way it functions. A key component that stood out to me in the readings was a statement that Durham made in "Home Girls Make Some Noise," and it was, "In both spaces, young black women seemed to have no voice. Hip-hop feminists - whether donning the label or not - are the voices from both traditions." Durham's point in saying this is that hip hop feminists are the voices that need to change what is going on and allow black women to have a voice.

One community space that one can find hip-hop feminism in the Twin Cities would be right in my hometown of Champlin, MN. Here there is a female hip-hop team that meets weekly to come up with new performances to perform in many different crowds. One crowd in which is my high school, Champlin Park High School. They perform here in order to display hip-hop feminism and make a difference in the way in which black women are viewed. They make the point that they do have voice and can make a difference through their performance. Their performances are always a crowd favorite because they have such a lasting effect that resonates throughout the room.

Race, gender, ethnicity, and geographic location figure greatly into hip hop feminism. Males view hip-hop feminism differently than women. No doubt about it. Women are the ones trying to make their voice more dominant than the males, which are why males and females view hip hop feminism and feminism differently. Geographic location makes a huge difference because throughout the world, hip-hop feminism is viewed differently. In some locations, black women seem to have more of a voice than at other locations. Thus, why hip-hop feminism is more dominant in some areas, because they are still trying to get their voice out there. Race also plays a dominant role because each race views hip hop feminism slightly different. Although it varies from individual to individual, I believe that their race also has a small effect on their view of it.

Here you will see my hometowns women's step team which strongly displays hip-hop feminism.

some people think Nicki Minaj is a feminist

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In class tonight we pretty much dismissed Nicki Minaj as a feminist for some very valid reasons, but I had remembered reading this article about why she is a feminist. I don't know if I agree with all the points the author is making, but I think it's an interesting read.

Why is Hip-Hop Feminism so hard to find?

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I think the concept of hip-hop feminism is essential for changing the sexist, racist, and homophobic parts of the world we live in. As evidenced in the readings, the fact that women of color are both invisible and at high risk for various health/social ills (HIV/AIDS, poverty, eviction, disenfranchisement, etc.) they have the most to gain from feminism. Peoples defines feminism as, "a political movement and the mode of analysis aimed at addressing the social, political, and economic inequities that plague the lives of women and girls world wide" (Peoples, 33). Hip-hop, as a genre that appeals to a wide range of people but also especially women of color, becomes a strategic platform. If feminism is the message/the lens and hip-hop is the vehicle, then, to me, it is an incredibly important, powerful, and valuable combination.

Even though as a white female I don't think I am black feminist hip-hop artists' main demographic, I still love the motivations (solidarity, calling people out on racist, homophobic, sexist BS, women expressing themselves creatively, etc) behind the art. I especially love Salt'n Pepa and Queen Latifah for their ability to speak strongly and seemingly remain true to themselves. They can talk about real issues and still maintain their female (but not sexploited) essence.

B-girl Be seems to be the most concentrated place to find the specific combination of hip-hop and feminism. It is a weekend long celebration of all female things in hip-hop. My search for hip-hop feminism in the Twin Cities turned up disappointingly little. In terms of specific artists the best I could find was the Nancy Drew Crew. I found this to be a little problematic though because the only thing about them that is true to hip-hop's origins is that they rap. What is cool is that they identify specifically as queer-feminists. They see hip-hop as a great vehicle for getting people to think critically about important issues like the environment, sexuality, body image, etc. So, in terms of race and perhaps geographic location, they don't exactly fit the bill but in terms of growing the genre of feminist hip-hop they're doing great!

Relating to Hip Hop

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My past with hip hop is minimal at best. I grew up in smaller towns south of the cities, lived in the country, showed horses, and spent thirteen years in 4H. I had no experience or real understanding of urban struggle or life and the hip hop culture. I was raised on classic rock, alternative and a blend of most everything excluding hip hop. The only hip hop I was exposed to growing up was mainstream radio hip hop, which is obviously only an incredibly small sliver of hip hop as a genre. As a kid, with heavy influence from my parents, I went so ar as to actively dislike hip hop, and didn't think of it as music. As a kid growing up with a slightly agrarian lifestyle there was just nothing for me to relate to or enjoy at the time.
Over the years my exploration and appreciation of hip hop has expanded greatly. I've become much more interested in hip hop over the past year and a half. The hip hop I had previously been exposed to had been the heavily urban, "thug lifestyle," drug centered hip hop that was incredibly unappealing to me. However, in college and through friends I began to find hip hop that was so much more than that. I began listening to Macklemore, Dessa, Doomtree, P.O.S and other artists who don't embrace the "thug" part of hip hop, and spin it their own way. Much of their music is relatable to the everyday person's struggle, and more than occasionally you can hear echoes of social justice and intellectual themes in their work. Before these type of artists, I was unaware that hip hop could be so intelligent. I'm aware that they aren't the first hip hop artists to create work like this, but they are the first ones I've encountered. I had always felt like an outsider when it came to hip hop, not entirely unwillingly though. It was an are of music I very consciously chose not to interact with. Over the past year and a half though I've put my foot in the door, and though I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm an insider, I would say I'm much more comfortable within the space.

Twin Cities Hip-Hop Feminism

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There are a few people and places i like to go to to get my feminist listening and performing needs met. One person i respect greatly is Hiedi Barton Stink she is a trans woman radical hip-hop artist who is always critically reflecting with society and offering ways to promote change. She throws a wrench in the machine. Other Hip-Hop feminists i enjoy are Maria Isa and a new artist i'm just getting familiar with called B-Dot Croc. While Maria Isa is more strongly political with her messages B-Dot Croc offers more personal experiences and strives to inspire and motivate young women. Amy Sacket is also cool. i have worked with her when i danced in B-Girl Be in 2010. She offers new insights into the Hip-Hop lense currently she made a video with Brother Ali that's worth checking out. Also she will be putting on th "joint project" with other artists this thur and friday at intermedia arts ($15).

Intersection of Homophobia and HipHop

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I found this article a little while ago, and while it doesn't necessarily pertain to what we're discussing at the moment (hopefully to come!) I found what Brother Ali to say really interesting. In the article he discusses his use of the word "faggot" on his debut album and how he confronts his earlier self and hypocrisy.

"My use of the f-word more than a decade ago in the song "Dorian" off Shadows On The Sun continued to echo in a space in which I no longer dwelled. That word and that mind-set would continue to be perpetuated through me, a man who had grown to understand more, but whose actions had left an indelible print that could not be erased."

He ends the article by stating that "racism and homophobia are social diseases" that haven't been treated, just mutated into a coded language that masks hate speech.
Read the original article here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brother-ali/hip-hop-homophobia-_b_1864676.html

Hip Hop Feminism

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Coming into this class I honestly didn't really know what to expect. I figured there were going to be some controversial issues that would be discussed and most likely people would get defensive and argue but as I sit in class and listen to what others have to say I am finding out more than I could have ever imagined possible.

At first I didn't really know/understand how feminism and hip hop could go together. I watched music videos and saw how women were degraded by only being used as a sexual commodity rather than a women who had thoughts, ideas and her own opinion. I thought there was really no way that these two could really go together. As I read the articles for this week it made more sense of what it really is. Hip hop feminism is about bringing various women's voices together and supplying a sizeable space to challenge the phobias and isms that are silenced and marked invisible but still have an impact on and influence women, particularly African American women.

There was a particular passage that stuck out to me as I was reading "Under Construction" by Whitney A. Peoples. It was,

"Issues of hyper-visibility and invisibility are two sides of the same coin; being rendered invisible relegates black women to a subhuman status, while hyper-visibility renders black women as almost superhuman. In either formulation, black women are battling for recognition of their subjectivity or, as the Combahee River Collective stated, 'to be recognized as human, levelly human, is enough' (Combahee River Collective 1995, 234)."

I think this quote gives good reason why hip hop feminism even exists. Women need to be seen as another human not just some sex symbol in a music video or a woman without a voice. Deborah King gives could analogies and I can really understand what she is trying to say because she uses simple examples.I really respect Deborah King and what she has to say because she has seen it first hand.

deborah king

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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I got this in my e-mail today and thought it would be fitting to share with the class just in case any of you didn't receive the Undergraduate Newsletter!

This kickoff event for Domestic Violence Awareness Month features performances by and interactions with local artists and social justice activists, including local hip-hop artist and National Poetry Slam champion Guante, University of Minnesota students and members of the surrounding Twin Cities community. There will also be open mic, digital story-telling, and artwork. Wednesday, October 10, 6-9 p.m., The Whole, Coffman Union.

Ain't Nothin But a She Thing

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Since I have joined this class, my definition of hip hop feminism has definitely shifted. I
didn't come into this class knowing much about this type of feminism, but I assumed it involved women with feminist ideals using hip hop to express their feelings on related issues. After the readings, I now know there are different variations of hip hop feminism. In general, the meaning of hip hop feminism to me is breaking through the stereotypes of African American women that hip hop tends to portray in order to gain a new level of respect from both the public community and privacy of their homes.

With that being said, there was a point in the "Under Construction" article that was only briefly mentioned but I find to be a key component. This component is based off of a quote from Joan Morgan, who argues that we should not only point fingers at rappers when there are women who are showing up willing to degrade themselves as well as the females they are representing in these rap videos. I think it is important to pay attention to these details because if we, as a society, only focused on the rappers and ignored these women, we would make little progress. I also found the explanation of different generations of feminists interesting as well as the changes made to feminism based on dynamic social changes appealing. Using hip hop to engage younger women and girls of color is, to me, such a creative and brilliant way to keep the feminist movement moving forward.

With this shift in feminism in effort to adapt to modern times, I was surprised to find that there weren't too many community spaces that one can find hip hop feminism in the Twin Cities. If there are, they sure aren't easy to find. However, I thought the posting on the UThink blog about the hip hop summit was a great example of a community space that can be considered a valuable platform for hip hop feminism.

Lastly, I have a firm belief that race, gender, ethnicity, and geographic location figure a great deal into hip hop feminism. It seems as though if a type of person is more marginalized in these areas, the stronger desire they have to resist against it. With African American women typically being automatically marginalized in two of these areas (race and gender), they become a great example of how their standing in these areas play into hip hop feminism. I also think it is important to recognize the impact that geographic location has on hip hop feminism because geographic location is the foundation for the amount of hip hop culture these women are surrounded with.

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This picture of Joan Morgan really represents what I believe is hip hop feminism because she has a way of explaining the components of this movement unlike that of other journalists.

I <3 B-Girl Be

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I imagine Hip-Hop feminism as a political and social movement that uses the cultural power of hip-hop as a venue to express the values of the feminism. I enjoyed the discussion of feminism as a way to educate women on how to critique their own portrayals in rap music. Peoples uses a quote from Gwendolyn Pough "give young women the tools necessary to critique the messages they are getting". I feel like having these tools would put women in a place to break down the effects of the derogatory messages in rap music. Although I feel feminism should not end there, opening up a critical dialogue like the one Pough describes would be wonderful.

Different regions of our country will have put a different priority level on feminism and more specifically hip hop feminism. Areas that are homogenous, like most suburbs, seem to have a lesser population of marginalized individuals so hip hop is not so strongly needed for expression. Cities or areas with larger and more diverse populations will have a larger number of marginal groups. I had no idea what the local TC feminist hip-hop scene looked like until I Googled it and everything I discovered was wonderful. Hip-hop feminism is found through the work of local twin cities artists like Dessa and Desdemona. Desdemona worked with a group of other women to start up the B-Girl Be program through Intermedia Arts. B-Girl Be works to recognize women's contributions to hip hop. The mission statement for the program reflects what I imagine hip-hop feminism should look like.

When women have space to explore, create and perform, a diverse resource of female role models and mentors is unearthed for the next hip-hop generation of both girls and boys.

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This One's For The Ladies

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When I read the prompt for this assignment, I immediately thought of Dessa. For those of you who don't know, Dessa is a member of the Minneapolis hip hop collective Doomtree. She is the only female member of the collective, and is of white and Puerto Rican descent. Dessa represents my idea of hip hop feminism.

To me, feminism is all about representing women in a way that breaks the mold of the patriachy, a way that breaks down the barriers and suppositions that society has about the way women are, the way women should be, and the way women should be treated. To me, hip hop feminism is bringing women from a position of submission and objectification to a place of equality in this art form. In an ideal world, we wouldn't have to ask what hip hop feminism means because the demands of the hip hop's female movers and shakers would be met. In Morgan's article she states "it is crucial that [female hip hop artists] not be viewed as naive but rather informed and empowered."

I think that Dessa is a good example of conscious hip hop feminism. She writes about things that she thinks are important to her, and though some are about equality and being powerful, some are about her personal experiences. She writes like she is an equal to every other artist in the game, but she acknowledges the perceived inferiority of women in the sphere of hip hop. In "Bullpen" she sings:

it's been assumed I'm soft or irrelevant
cause I refuse to down play my intelligence...
forget the bull in the china shop
there's a china doll in the bullpen
walk with a switch, fire in her fist
biting at the bit
swing at every pitch
coach put me in like

She acknowledges her femininity, but her fire as well. She lets everyone know she is a force to be reckoned with, and to me, that's what it's all about.

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My view on hip-hop feminism

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Hip Hop Feminism at the U of M

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To me, hip hop feminism means giving a voice to the voiceless- women. This can be done through art, poetry, rap, music, dance, etc. It also is done so in a way that does not objectify women or turn them into a commodity. Something that stood out to me in the Whitney Peoples reading was the quote, "blacks served as commodities- objects purchased, controlled, and sold by others" (23). This quote grabbed my attention because colored women are turned into commodities in the hip hop realm without people even realizing it. Of course there is the issue of appropriation as well. People try to steal the culture without any appreciation/acknowledgement of where the culture originated from. Hip hop feminism challenges appropriation and commodification in order for women of color to be seen as intelligent and successful as the white male. However, people of all races and genders may participate in this movement for equality.

Last year I went to a Voices Merging open mic night for the first time. For those of you who don't know what this is, it's an on campus group in which people share their talents (usually dancing, singing, and most popularly, poetry). This is done to promote "Urban rights." The dominant genre for Voices Merging is slam poetry, a form of poetry that sounds something like rap. I've attached a video of Voices Merging so you may enjoy the talent too! Anyone is invited to open mic nights, which are help on campus every Monday. Go to http://voicesmerging.webs.com for more information.

Hip Hop Feminism: B Gurl Be

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To me, hip hop feminism is the emergence of the female race into a genre of music that has been dominated by men since the dawn of its birth. It's telling/showing women you don't have to dance in a risque fashion or in a way that is sexualised to be hip hop. That it's about expressing yourself and dancing in a way that makes you feel good. Not only through dance, but expressing yourself through graffiti, break dancing, MCing, and DJing.

People wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size;
... it's in the reach of my arms,
the span of my hips,
the stride of my step,
the curl of my lips.

... it's the fire in my eyes,
and the flash of my teeth,
the swing in my waist,
and the joy in my feet.

... it's in the arch of my back,
the sun of my smile,
the ride of my breasts,
the grace of my style.

... it's in the click of my heels,
the bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand."

- Excerpts from Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

I found this quote on the intermedia arts webpage. I thought it was a good representation of how dance is reflective of who you are, and how you represent yourself. One of their programs is called B Gurl Be, which celebrates women in the world of hip hop. They have a variety of workshops, classes, and day camps. A couple include;Hip hop history, culture, and creation. Which shows boys and girls the power of authentic hip hop through dance, vocals, graffiti, and spoken word. It explains how hip hop is a radical form of social commentary, community engagement and protest for communities of color. Another class, Project Girl: A girls guide to de-mediafying her life, lets girls express their reactions of the world around them through rapping, writing, speaking, and painting.
I think hip hop feminism is a huge step forward in the viewpoint of women in this genre. Showing the world that females roles in hip hop goes way beyond the stereotypical image of poping, locking, and dropping in booty shorts.

Country Girl at Heart-Blog #1 entry

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I would have to say that my ears didn't hear a beat of hip hop until about age 13. I grew up in small town Minnesota, on a dairy farm, where the most common music I heard was country western and the sound of cow's mooing. It wasn't that my parents condoned hip hop music, it was just not something we grew up with or that was prevalent in my "culture" so to speak. I do remember as my older siblings started high school, they began to despise country music and instead began listening to more contemporary forms of music. As an elementary age girl, I did not understand their quest to be "cool" and listen to alternative music.
When I was around the age of 13, my family moved from the farm to the "big city". It was there that I began listening to hip hop music on the local radio station. I would listen to it in the shower and loved the beat, the lyrics, the sound of the music in comparison to the country twang I was used to. I also remember this was the era of burning CD's, and my older brother had a 2Pac CD that I burned a copy of and loved to listen to over and over.
Now, I would consider myself an "outsider" to hip hop. I do not listen to it very much and would admit that I am somewhat ignorant and unaware of the strength and meaning it carries in its lyrics, the beauty of its beat that I cannot seem to feel, and the power that it can create in those who understand it. Although I have not lived an easy, well-to-do life, I have also not had the struggles that are portrayed in many of these songs. It is difficult for me to relate to and therefore I do not find much enjoyment in listening to hip hop on a daily basis. However, I can appreciate it for what it is and what it holds. But this image below is a bit more of my style:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-hGWFJh7Cu3o/TndRlAqdy4I/AAAAAAAAAa0/xVNLRxJItRo/s1600/01a.jpeg

GWSS 3306 Syllabus

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Hip Hop Feminism in the Twin Cities - Be girl Be Summit

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Every year in the Twin Cities there is a Be girl Be Summit held by Intermedia Arts. This summit is a weekend celebration of women in hip hop. Along with this summit held, there are also performances done weekly by a dancer and choreographer by the name of Amy Sackett. Most of these performances are held in South Minneapolis on Lyndale ave. The summit is designed to be a family friendly show and allow the community and young girls to participate.There are dancers of all skills levels present at the event giving them the opportunity to perform as well as network and/or connect with potenial mentoring prospects. This summit also serves as a chance to show positive female role models in the hip hop scence, showing a stark contrast to the popular vision of sex driven music videos.

Walnut Street Hip Hop

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The first thing that comes to mind when I think back on my first memory/experience with hip hop is a girl named Brittany. Brittany was another girl my age that grew up down the street from me in rural Southern Minnesota, but we did not connected as friends until we entered into the 6th grade. Brittany had spent much of her time around her older brother and his friends who had introduced her to artists like Nelly, 50 Cent and Eminem (not to say all of these would constitute as hip hop) and I had spent majority of my life listening to rock music in the car with my parents or watching reunion tour programming on the PBS. I was a stranger to the term hip hop.

For my 12th birthday Brittany had purchased me a CD and I knew it was a CD before I opened it by the way she wrapped old newspaper tightly around it. 50 Cent's Massacre album was Brittany's birthday present of choice endowed to me, and I had no familiarity with this artist or specific genre. The thing that struck me about this album, and we still laugh about it today was the fact that she purchased the album at Wal-Mart. At the time, Wal-Mart (and I'm not sure if this has changed) was only allowed to sell censored material. So there I was, a young 6th grader with a censored 50 Cent album which was intended to be an explicit expression for a much older audience. I still have the album somewhere in my stacks of CD's and every time I come across it, I laugh to myself. 50 Cent is my main man when it comes to first memories of hip hop.

Class Demo

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http://youtu.be/JLYC7ltxOrk

(Blog one) My first exposure to hip hop

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I was born in South Korea and I wasn't exposed to hip hop music in my childhood. There were no one how introduced me to the hip hop except one my friend who was a classmate of high school. she used to listen to pop songs, especially American hip hop music at that time. My first exposure to hip hop occurred at my age of 17. On day I asked her what music she used to listen, and my friend let me listen to a music which was American hip hop. I wasn't familiar with the song. I was little surprised because it was too fast and rhythmical music, but I liked it. My friend gave me the file of the song and I used to listen it sometimes with other songs on the way to go to school. The music was Loyal to the game song by 2Pac.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm4M6AkSYzg

I wasn't able to understand what it was talking about but I like the rhythm so much. Few days later, I searched the music video of this song in Internet, but it wasn't able to find MV. Anyway I became familiar to hip hop music with this experience. I am planning to go to B.O.B concert on October. I still love hip hop music!!

Discussion and resistance

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I was born in Nairobi, Kenya, so my first exposure to hip hop was to the Kenyan derivative of American hip hop. This occurred at a fairly young age - around 8 or 9. Given what I perceived to be its primary audience, the "big kids," hip hop - to me - seemed no more than a cool fad. But contrary to my hypothesis - that interest in hip hop was mainly superficial - the big kids seemed to be enjoying the music for more than just the rapid, barely intelligible speaking, and lack of catchy, easy-to-sing-along-to tunes; the fact that I couldn't determine what this mystery quality was made me feel like an outsider.

My Relation to Hip Hop

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As a child, I moved around alot, and I mean ALOT. When I was in fifth grade, I moved to Pasadena, Maryland which is about twenty minutes outside of Baltimore. I had never really heard any hip-hop music before and I actually don't recall ever hearing that the genre even existed. Once I moved to Pasadena, I noticed that the kids listened to a very different type of music that I was unfamiliar with. I was immediately entranced by the beats. Once I heard an initial few songs, I was hooked. I spent hours on the computer in my basement, looking up different artists, songs and albums. I remember Nappy Roots being one of my favorite artists, particularly because of their album Chicken, Watermelon and Grits. I would blast music at all hours of the day and I would wake up like twenty minutes earlier than I had to for school every day so that I would have time to eat my breakfast on couch and watch MTV music videos before my parents woke up. Neither of my parents are fond, nor have they ever been, of most of the music that I listen to. I immediately felt a strong connection to the genre and was surprised to see how much the music impacted language, fashion, politics and art. I never felt like I was an outsider in the world of hip hop because I felt like the majority of the music was made to be enjoyed be everyone and the messages were real. I think I feel like an outsider more now listening to hip hop than I ever did growing up. The messages in the music have seemed to have changed quite a bit and I don't feel like I get such positive vibes from the actual lyrics anymore, but I still love the music!!
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Country Grunge meets Hip Hop Girl

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I grew up in a rural area of South Jersey where there were more cows than people and everyone listened to country music. With a few exceptions, like my father, who had a collection of 80's punk/grunge vinyl records that I was fed a steady diet of through my adolescence. Being raised in these two environments didn't leave much room for exposure to hip-hop. On the first day of 8th grade I met a new girl from North Jersey who listened to hip-hop, lots of hip-hop. The first song I ever heard wasn't on the radio or through MTV, but through this girl singing at the top of her lungs. After becoming friends with her I was finally emerged in the hip-hop world. I considered myself an outsider then and I still do today.

My First Experience with Hip-Hop

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Being a white boy raised in the suburbs of LA, I did not have a lot of experience with hip-hop growing up. As a child, the bands that were popular among my peers were locals, such as Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers. I myself was never interested enough in music to actually buy albums or even decide what kind of music I cared for, so I ended up listening to whatever cd's my sisters had. Although it was, for the most part, bands like Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers, one of my sisters had The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and it became one of my favorite albums.

I grew up in a very conservative area, and was exposed to a lot of sexism growing up. I found it frustrating and stupid (especially when my parents didn't let me play with my sisters' dolls or watch The Powerpuff Girls), so I became more interested in feminism and women's rights. This is what made me appreciate Luaryn Hill. Lauryn Hill, like many other artists, sung about sex and relationships, but was perhaps the first artist I had heard that did not do it in a sexist way. "That Thing" was not just about how some men use women for sex, but also about how some women use men for sex. I appreciated the way her album criticized sexism, which was a stark contrast to the rampant sexism in other rapper's music (such as my eldest sister's Eminem albums, which I did not care for).

Additionally I appreciated the religious imagery in her album. Her lyrics weren't about how the Bible is true and Jesus is cool. It was about religious hypocrisy. It was about how people will use religion to gain power over others, instead of using it to help them. "Forgive them Father" in particular resonated with me, as it was about giving these people, and asking God to give these people, forgiveness.

Lauryn Hill is the person that made me realize that hip-hop (and music in general, really) can be about positive things, rather than just sex and relationships and partying. Although I didn't seek out hip-hop as a result of Lauryn Hill, I did appreciate it more.

Who I am in Relation to Hip Hop and How it has Shaped Me

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My views and experiences with hip hop have greatly transformed throughout my life, let alone transformed me. I remember I was in the third grade and my dad had just picked me up from school. I turned on the radio and wanted to listen to Radio Disney but accidentally turned to 101.3 KDWB. I remember only hearing this annoying noise where people talked really fast in unpleasant rhythmic beats. I had never heard hip hop or rap before this, I only listened to pop. If I couldn't follow the beat or understand what was being sung, I didn't listen to it. It was when I was 13 years old and was enrolled in dance classes, as well as submerged into demographically diverse junior highs and high schools, when I started to realize that these music genres weren't noise, but were individuals expressing themselves through spoken word in a rhythmic way that was meaningful to them and allowed them to freely express themselves. Walking down the halls of high school with students free style rapping in the stairways made me realize how important hip hop and rap were to self expression. Dance has also deepened my understanding for the two because it has helped me find my own voice, beat, and rhythm within the genres as well as other genres.hip hop.jpg

My Introduction to Hip Hop

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To be honest, I can't remember exactly when I was introduced to hip Hop. For as long as I can remember it has been in my life. I grew up in Buffalo New York in the late seventies and early eighties. I can remember listening to all the greatest pioneers of this genre. I guess I can start with how much my brothers used to listen to and emulate Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five and Eric B and Rakim. I know for sure the first song I ever learned the words to was Lotty Dotty by Slick Rick. Dougie Fresh also brings back fond memories. I can recall standing around in crowds in the Hood with somebody's Box blaring as the dancers took their turns break dancing on the card board we all circled. On days when nobody was dancing and the Boom Boxes were off, we were entertained by the freestylers. It was all East Coast!!! In fact the East Coast-West Coast beef was getting started. I can recall the first time I actually listened to NWA and hated it. On the other hand, when Boyz in the Hood came out in 1991, my cousins and I snuck into the movie because we weren't old enough to see it without an adult. When the movie was over we took the train to the Mall. It just so happened that Ice Cube was there for a concert in our fair city. I actually still have his autograph on the back of my movie ticket which I will share with the class Tomorrow. But I guess my favorite artists are the females who ruled the era. Queen Latifa, MC Lyte, Salt N' Pepa, Ms. Melodie, all the versions of Roxanne, I really can go on and on paying homage to those like Run DMC, Kurtis Blow, Big Daddy Kane, Afrika Bambaataa, Zulu Nation, Fat Boyz and so on. I guess, the question I could answer best would be, "When didn't you know Hip Hop?" The answer would be easy, Never!!!

My Relation To Hip Hop

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I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin so I didn't really hear hip hop until I got into high school. I come from a town that is very redneck and so I mainly listened to country music but I do remember the first time I heard a hip hop song.

My path to hip hop

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blog one

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My first exposure to hip hop is that it was the music that the mean popular girls at my middle school listened to. I was an sheltered, awkward, bookish kid thrown into a world with these worldly twelve year olds who knew all the swear words. I remember we had a Health and Fitness class every week, which was already terrible because it meant sweating and talking about bodies, but then it was made even worse because we were allowed to listen to the radio and it would always be mainstream hip hop because that's what most people wanted to listen to. At that point in my life I purposely decided not to listen to rap music because it's what the mean girls listened to and I didn't want to be like them.
While that position helped me survive middle school, I've since expanded my horizions and now listen to quite a bit of hip hop, especially indie and local hip hop, and I've fallen a little but in love. I have spent a ridiculous amount of the last year listening to or just thinking about Doomtree. You should all watch them go be awesome and steampunk!

Blog #1

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Growing up in a household mainly listening to Chinese music, I wasn't exposed to hip hop until I was in middle school. I actually still remember the first rap song I listened to, it was quite popular on MTV (back when they actually played music). It was Just A Moment by Nas ft. Quan:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-btJF4q3tI

I actually remember thinking, "Wow, this is actually good music with meaningful lyrics." But as time went on and the music scene changed, my views changed as well. Now the only hip hop I hear are about (sorry for the cliche) sex, drugs, and money. It may be because of my friends' tastes in music, oops. Even at the beginning of my hip hop exposure, I felt that it was funny for me, an Asian girl, to be listening to rap music. So when I was younger I used to listen to it privately every once in awhile. Although I'm older now, I still feel odd listening to this type of music because I feel like there is no relation at all, but it doesn't mean that I don't enjoy it!

My first exposure to Hip Hop through dance

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When I was three years old my parents put me into dance class because I loved to be on stage. Soon after, I was competing in dance competitions all over the U.S. A large part of competing in dance is expanding your knowledge and learning new styles of dance at conventions. When I was five I attended my first dance convention where I was taught a Hip Hop dance. This was my first exposure to Hip Hop, but it would not be my last. Although I do not have any knowledge of what song I danced to I know that it made a big impact on me. From that point on, I started competing in Hip Hop dances and I did until I graduated from high school. I am excited to be in this class because it will give me a sense of connection to a part of my past that I miss greatly and a more in-depth look into how Hip Hop was made and the revolution that surrounded it.

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My relationship with Hip-Hop

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I grew up in a smaller Wisconsin city with very little diversity so hip-hop was not something I was constantly aware of as a young girl. However, growing up in the 90's it was almost impossible to not be exposed to hip-hop in some shape or form. I saw it in movies and on TV but was never able to analyze the reality behind it. I listened to groups like Destiny's Child and TLC but probably did not understand the meaning behind the lyrics they were singing. I was always aware of rappers like Slim Shady and Snoop Dogg but it was not until middle school when I began hanging out with more guy friends that I was introduced to hip-hop icons like Dr. Dre. and Wu Tang Clan. My first hip-hop show was M.I.A. and I have continued to see several hip-hop shows since for example, El-P and Killer Mike. As I grew older I began to research hip-hop on my own and reading books like "Can't Stop, Won't Stop" in order to learn about the history of hip-hop and where its roots generated from. Hip-hop has a much deeper meaning than people associating it to rapping about sex, drugs and violence. I have learned that hip-hop has been used as a platform for political activism and that there are groups like The Roots that are able to produce aesthetically pleasing music while conveying a meaningful message. I enjoy hip-hop and think that it is really beneficial to our history and our society, I look forward to increasing my understanding of hip-hop throughout the semester.


Hip Hop and Me!

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When it comes to hip hop, I consider myself an outsider. I grew up in the suburbs of Andover Mn, where the norm is to listen to pop music. In spite of my naivety, the genre/culture still fascinates me. A friend recently introduced me to Atmosphere, and that was my first time being exposed to hip hop. I love the depth of the lyrics and the beats. MIA is another artist that I enjoy. When MIA started playing in class, I had the urge to dance. I hope to learn much more about hip hop in this class. This culture is out of my element, but I think it is important to become educated on subjects outside of one's comfort zone.


My Relationship to Hip-Hop

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I was born in 1992, to a suburban white family. Suffice to say that my first exposure to hip-hop culture was not because of them. I have attended public school all of my life and like many others took the school bus. Back in the 90's, all of the cool kids sat in the back of the bus (at least in my corner of the world) and listened to hip-hop. That's my first recollection of the genre. I remember kids having little portable radios and Walkmans, and they would play hip-hop and jam out. For me, hearing hip-hop for the first time was interesting because all of the cool kids were listening to it but my family and parents didn't at all. I remember hearing my parents complaining about "that darn Rap Music" and how kids should not be listening to it. From the start it always felt a little bit rebellious and taboo, so naturally, I liked it. When I would hangout with friends I was all about the music, but when I was at home I pretended like I had never heard it before. As I've grown, I have gotten even more into hip-hop and am not in secret anymore. Although I am by no means an expert. My parents have even gotten into it a bit more as well! I think I would probably consider myself to be an outsider still because even though I do enjoy it, I was not raised on it and I don't really live the lifestyle. I think to hip-hop insiders, it is really more than just music. It's sort of a way of life.

The Real Slim Shady

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I was nine years old when I first heard the song "The Real Slim Shady" by Eminem, and I was instantly obsessed with it. I thought it was the most fun song I had ever listened to, and I actually remember thinking that all I wanted in life was to see him perform it live*. I literally compare my love for this song with falling in love for the first time, in that I had never felt so happy and excited and infatuated with the voice that I was hearing through the radio. Seeing as my parents would not buy me the album (stupid parental advisory warning...) I was determined to listen to it every chance I had, leaving the radio on constantly and staying up as late as my nine-year-old self could, just to hear it repeated as many times as possible.

My obsession with Eminem escalated quickly, long before I had much interest in any other hip hop artist besides him. His style was totally different from anyone else on my radar at the time, and even though I didn't relate to much of what he said, I really didn't care because in my head I totally did. (This is why being a kid is awesome.) Growing up, my understanding of the rest of the hip hop world at the time was simply based on whatever Eminem had to say about it. In recent years, however, I have added a few other awesome hip hop artists to my iTunes library, and in doing so I have gained a deeper understanding of the genre as a whole. I have come to appreciate that (surprise!) Eminem is not the only artist who represents what I love about hip hop-- the idea of going against the grain, "not giving a fuck" (his words, not mine), shamelessly saying what others are afraid to say, and doing what it takes to have a good time, whatever that may mean to the individual. I love that hip hop is often not socially acceptable, but at least it's REAL. This is a concept that I really do believe is at the root of why hip hop is so important, not only to me but to society as a whole.

*Don't worry, I did eventually see him perform that song live. So that's taken care of.

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Blog 1: My Relation to Hip Hop

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The first movie that exposed me to hip-hop was "Save the Last Dance," and I was immediately fascinated with the genre's music and dancing. While my sisters were studying the more traditional styles of dance (ballet, tap, etc), I had also been interested in studying dance formally but was turned off by those traditional disciplines. While attending middle school in a small Minnesotan town, a new dance studio opened up that focused on more contemporary styles, namely hip-hop. Though the music was still a bit foreign to me, I was drawn to the intimate relationship that the choreography had with the beats and loved it at first pop-and-lock. Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" was the first song we performed to, and it opened up so many doors to a genre that is now a staple in my everyday music listening. I was not the only one in my class that had little exposure to hip hop music and dance (we were a group of small town white girls), and because of this I never felt intimidated or like an outsider. I'm so glad that my first exposure to hip-hop involved several aspects such as lyrics, beats, and movement, and because of this I have come to appreciate them all and see them as equally important to the genre as a whole. Save-the-Last-Dance pic.jpeg

Being a Dancer and Introduced to Hip-Hop

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As a dancer, I began being surrounded by hip-hop music much more frequently as I aged. The first song I remember hearing that introduced me to hip-hop music was 1, 2 step by Ciara and Missy Elliot. Yes, its old school hip-hop don't laugh at me, but I remember vividly the moment that my dance teacher turned it on in my dance studio and told us that we would be performing to this unfamiliar music. I was so foreign to the rhythm and beat of hip-hop because I was raised dancing to ballet, jazz, tap, and lyrical music. Not only was the music strange, but the movements of dancing to it were too. I was not used to the style of dance and felt completely awkward and felt as though I stood out like a sore thumb in my dance class. Although it was new to me, I loved how the songs beat allowed me to instantly feel as though I could feel the tempo and begin to dance to it. I felt like a complete outsider to hip-hop music and culture when I first had heard it, because I was not used to it and had never heard it before. I was used to hearing either the music I usually danced to or the pop music I enjoyed listening to on the radio.

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Blog 1: hip hop

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Hip hop did not become a part of my life until around the time I started middle school. Growing up, I listened to music that was played on the local radio station. It played the music that was popular at the time. I was first exposed to hip hop music when the music on that radio station switched from artists like N'SYNC and the Backstreet Boys to Usher and Outkast. I was definitely one of those little girls who loved N'SYNC, still being able to recite all the words to all their songs, but I was intrigued by the new music that was being played on the radio. I would say that although I was exposed to hip-hop in middle school, it was not until high school that it became what I listened to predominantly. This could be for many reasons, including that the hip hop being played on the radio were songs with messages that were inappropriate for a 11 year old little girl to be singing along to. It could also be that I was still stuck in my pop-music stage of life. Once I became more attached to the hip hop genre, I did not feel like an outsider. It was what everyone was listening to, talking about, dancing to. I even took a hip hop dance class to embrace the hip hop culture, although that dream came to an end when I realized I was not meant to be a dancer. I became surrounded by hip hop because it became a very popular genre to listen to.
Although I started listening to hip hop and attempted to become more involved in the hip hop culture, I would say that hip hop does not play a very active role in my life. I love listening to the music and finding new artists to listen to, but hip hop does not make me who I am. I cannot say that hip hop helped me to discover who I am either. It may not have played an important role in my life, but I still love hip hop and I love learning more about the hip hop culture and artists.
The picture I am including is of an Usher CD cover. Usher was one of my favorite artists when I started listening to more and more hip hop. If I could choose any artist to represent my relation to hip hop it would have to be Usher. His music was a big part of my first exposure to hip hop, and was the reason why I kept listening to more and more hip hop.
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My mother loves hip hop

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I would not have been exposed to hip hop until late high school if it had not been for my mom. She is all over the place when it comes to music, and I have learned over the years that she often picks the artist that will stick out the most in traffic. She loves blasting Tool on her way to work as an elementary school bus driver. When I was in 6th grade she bought a Black Eyed Peas album and I loved it. There was so much energy in every single song, even the melancholy songs. From there she bought an Outkast album and another Black Eyed Peas album and we would blast them in the car, while doing chores, on vacations and wherever else possible. I had never gotten the impulse to just dance, or even bob to music until these artists were on my stereo. Now hip hop is more than just a beat, I love listening to the stories and the puns in the music. And I love that so many people I know now appreciate the same thing in the music, its a testament to the universal value of hip hop.

My Relation to Hip Hop

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Personally hip hop hasn't had a significant role in my life mostly because I grew up in a predominately white suburb and hip hop wasn't a part of everyone's culture. The first time hip hop was introduced into my life was when I was in junior high and my older sister showed me music that I had never heard before and I ended up really liking it. Growing up I would occasionally listen to hip hop artists such as Chris Brown, T-Pain, Usher, Soulja Boy, and a few others but I didn't consistently listen to them. The clearest memory I have of being influenced by hip hop was when I went to a concert in which Sean Kingston performed. This opened up my eyes on how an artist can impact so many people's lives because of the music they create. I have become to enjoy hip hop music more over the years because it is exciting, upbeat, and can really relate to any mood you are in. I am excited to learn more about the culture of hip hop and I hope to incorporate it more into my daily life. Sean+Kingston.jpg

keepin' it real

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i was first introduced to hip-hop in college (Mos Def and The Roots were big when i was a freshman). i then got involved with the hip-hop community, which lead to sleeping with d.j.s and emcees. One of the biggest was the original d.j. of the Beastie Boys (who graduated from the U of M in English and now makes porn). i didn't realize then that i was talented and could make my own music. i wrote poetry then and continue to make music now. i also performed in B-girl Be in 2010 (dance) and made graffiti (mostly tagging).

Hip Hop in Relation to my life

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Personally, Hip hop has a very active role in my life. It influences the way i speak, the clothes i wear, the way i think and the way i view myself as a young women of color. I am originally from Lagos, Nigeria and I moved to a small, predominately white suburban neighborhood in Minnesota when i was 5 years old. It was a huge change of scenery and I often felt "odd" amongst my caucasian friends, though they were quite inclusive, i never felt like a part of the community. Hip hop provided a safe haven for me, where people looked like me, and shared similar life experiences. My first and most influential encounter with hip hop was Brandy's song "I wanna be down". I was obsessed with her, she was a brown girl with braids just like me! There was something extremely comforting for me seeing a girl that looked like me being successful and impacting the lives of thousands through her music. Hip hop, particularly 90's hip hop helped me appreciate my appearance and planted the seed for my interest in health and educational disparities amongst African Americans.

My Big Fat Hip-Hop Family

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Growing up in a family where hip-hop was embedded into our daily lives, it becomes difficult to pinpoint exactly when my introduction to this form of art was. My earliest memories consist of artists such as Nas, Tupac, and Notorious B.I.G. Because my large family was always packed in the van and on the go, I remember the radio and my step-dad's CD's being the primary exposure to hip-hop throughout my childhood. Although your typical listener isn't a seven-year-old Caucasian, I never felt like an outsider while listening to hip-hop. In fact, it was the one thing that had the power to unite our mixed family at the end of a chaotic day.

I think the first time I realized that hip-hop wasn't something that everyone had the chance to experience was when I started school. I would try to talk to other kids about music, and they looked at me like a deer in the headlights. I remember there being a moment of feeling like an outsider because I listened to Snoop instead of the Backstreet Boys, but I can assure you it only lasted a moment. While other kids were being sheltered from hip-hop, I was drenched in it, and I loved every moment of it. I was being taught to embrace culture and differences, and because of hip-hop I was able to grow up in the suburbs with a very different appreciation of diversity than most. I thank my parents for taking what my friends' parents thought to be "a risk" in exposing me to hip-hop at an early age. It has truly been embedded into many parts of my values and personality.

How George Bush Made Me Like Hip Hop

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George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States is responsible for my initial exposure to hip hop. In 2001, he passed the No Child Left Behind Act, a piece of legislature that began to scrutinize public schools and hold them to certain standards, mandating that schools make "adequate yearly progress" in the form of higher standardized test scores. In 2001, I was a fourth grader, living in a suburban bubble twenty miles northwest of Chicago, and I was the kind of kid who scored well on standardized tests. So well, in fact, that in the spring of my fourth grade year, I scored in the ninety-ninth percentile on my state's standardized test and was placed into a special program for fifth grade gifted and talented students. In response to the passing of No Child Left Behind, my school district decided to bus all of the high scoring standardized test takers from their home elementary schools to the school in the district that would not meet the standards of No Child Left Behind under the guise of that school having the most available classroom space. Every morning for fifth and sixth grade, I was bussed twenty minutes from my sheltered home to a school in the poorest area in my district, an area primarily made up of immigrant families, mostly of Hispanic and Chinese descent. I was finally exposed to something besides Disney Channel radio, and by befriending fifth grade girls that all had mad crushes on Usher and believed that they were the next Destiny's Child, I began to learn about a different style of music. At first my hip-hop tastes were limited by radio popularity, but as I got older and more versed in the internet, hip-hop became a thing of exploration for me. I was never on the inside of hip-hop, but rather an outsider always looking for something different for my ears. And now, ten years later, I'm listening to people like Jay Electronica, Odd Future, and J-Dilla, and thinking of the little frizzy-haired, pre-orthodontic me who wore her Adidas Superstars without laces and innocently and non-ironically brushed her shoulders off. Thanks Dubya!

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Blog 1: My relation to Hip Hop

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I first heard hip-hop when I was in fourth grade. When I was nine years old, my brother was sixteen and drove me to and from school everyday. He played rap artists such as Twista and Tupac, as well as hip-hop artists such as Ice Cube and Biggie Smalls. I looked up to my brother immensely, so of course hip-hop was the most fascinating thing by association. Sitting in the backseat, I saw my brother get attached to the music while driving. The more I listened to hip-hop, the more I felt connected to my older brother. That is the first time I ever remember having an emotional attachment to music. As I grew up and my brother moved out, hip-hop stuck with me because it is the only type of music able to excite and inspire others vicariously through beats and lyrics. Throughout middle school, Eminem was my favorite artist despite his dark themes. Nonetheless, he was inspirational because of all the hardships he has gone through. As I approached high school, I discovered Rhymesayers entertainment. Slug from Atmosphere, Grieves & Budo, and Macklemore are some of my favorite hip-hop artists because of the perfect combination between beats and influential lyrics. Hip-hop has the power to unite different types of people because it is so decentralized, virtually anyone can enjoy it. It invites listeners in with the catchy beats then flips it upside down with thought-provoking lyrics. Hip-hop is important to me because it brings different types of people together; one single person able to rhyme with emotion has the power to draw listeners in and most importantly, relate.

Blog 1: My relation to hip hop

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I was not introduced to hip hop culture until my teenage years. There was a singer called Taeji Seo who introduced incorporating elements of hip hop genre in Korea. He made rap songs by himself and rapped fast, and at that time a lot of people were shocked by his music style. Before long, his music gained sensational popularity in Korea, and I think his songs were the very first hip hop music that I have heard in my life. After entered my high school, I used to listen to American pop music. For example, Eminem was the first hip hop singer that I loved. I even watched the movie 8 miles, and I could better understand hip hop culture after watched the movie. I still listen to hip hop music very often and it makes me exciting and gives strong feeling. My boyfriend also likes hip hop music. Not only does he write lyrics but he also raps. I like to watch him rapping and he sometimes raps for me, not to mention we listening to hip hop music together. To me hip hop culture made a lot of good memories not only in Korea but also here in the US.

Introduction

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306474_4432784947611_1564556183_n.jpgHello, my name is Sophia and I am a freshman here at the U. Although I am uncertain, I am leaning toward a Biology or Chemistry major. To me, justice is a human right, equity, and the aftermath of positive or negative behavior. Unfortunately, most people in the world are insufficient in their deserved human rights. No matter how "good" a person one is, each and every person deserves the essential respect and sovereignty over themselves. Disrespecting people because of race, gender, and sexuality is not only a threat to justice but a disservice to society. Furthermore, justice is what is or should be equitable to all, such as the opportunity to thrive in society regardless of background, or the reasonable punishment after an individual has robbed others of their safety. Justice is so difficult to define because what is "fair" versus what is "equal" are two separate concepts, and deciding what is fair is both circumstantial and in the eye of the beholder. Furthermore, if one is the victim of wrongdoing, it is nearly impossible to compensate for their pain. Regardless, every one in the world deserves the right to succeed in society regardless of statistics or stereotypes. This is a picture of me on The Great Wall of China.

My Stance On Hip Hop

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I started listening to hip hop when I was in middle school, it definitely was my favorite type of music at the time. My friends Tess and Scout would come over after school and we would listen to it all night while we were playing basketball in the driveway. Our favorite was 50 cent- I'll take ya to the candy shop...definitely did not know the true meaning of that song at age 10. As I got older, my love of hip hop diminished and became more of an appreciation. I think it's partially due to moving from Kansas City,MO to Eden Prairie, MN. It's definitely played a lot more there then in Minnesota, where I think country is kind of the genre to beat. Growing up in KC where everyone seemed to listen to hip hop I never felt like an outsider, everyone would talk about new songs coming out from artists like 3LW and Ne-Yo. You would hear it everywhere, playing on car radios, outside of shops, at the YMCA, ect. Even though I don't play hip hop as much, I still enjoy listening to it with a bunch of my girlfriends while we get ready to go out, or to get pumped up to go workout, but I'm definitely more of a country and rock listener now. However, in those few moments when I do tune in to hip hop, I have realized that it's one of those genres that just make you feel good. Whenever I listen to it I forget about school and responsibilities and I just focus on having a good night. One of my favorite memories involving hip hop is when I spent 3 weeks in Tanzania with the Moshi tribe. We were there on a medical trip to treat patients with Malaria, and other tropical diseases, so there was a lot of sickness which, of course, left everyone a little down at the end of the day. However, one night a girl brought her speaker phones and played usher for the kids, him and Beyonce are like the Justin Beiber and Miley Cyrus of Tanzania, we all started dancing and laughing, and they even taught us how to sing some of the words in Kiswahili. It was by far one of my favorite experiences in Africa, and it definitely brought us closer not only to the tribe but as a medical team too.jpg

my relation to hip hop

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I should start by saying that my hip hop knowledge base is small. However, my exposure to it is not. I grew up in a large subrurb outside Minneapolis where any counter-culture would have come directly from my parents, and it did. My mother has never and does not listen to hip hop. My father, however, is much more musically diverse and all my old-school music knoweldge comes as a result of him. My dad grew up in Minneapolis so funk, r&b and motown are close to his heart and that's something he gave to me. Growing up he would make mix tapes with everything from Hanson to Prince to Fleetwood Mac to EnVogue. However, upon thinkning about it, I would have to say my first exposure to hip hop music would have been through the group Salt n' Pepa. My dad is a huge fan of female groups and Salt n' Pepa was a staple on his mix tapes.

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I don't recall feeling alienated by their songs, though I probably should have since none of its contents related to me as a young child. (now I know what they were really singing about it "push it" and "what a man.") I just recall really liking the beat and memorizing every word, which seems a bit inapproapriate for an elementary aged kid. My dad used to tell me how bad-ass he thought the women in the group were, but I didn't know why he thought so, or didn't care to. Only upon growing up and becoming musically independent do I know what he meant.

Intro to Hip Hop

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Hip-hop was first introduced to me in a hip hop oriented dance class I took while in middle school. The instructor was this captivating young woman who had these ridiculous glittery nails and a giant stack of CDs I'd never heard of. I don't remember exactly what she played but I remember thinking I felt really cool for experiencing it. Being that I was in middle school and I was still a stranger in my own body; I didn't really know how to move like the music told me to. Also many of the "popular kids" at school listened to hip-hop and rap (I did not) which created this unattainable realm I felt I couldn't join. So in both regards I viewed myself as an outsider trying desperately to be an insider. I've definitely grown up a lot since then and have found my own outlet that includes a lot of 90's hip hop. So in a way I'm reliving those lost musical tween years. destiny_survivorbrat480.jpg

My relationship to hip hop!!

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I uploaded this picture, because I was born in Virginia Beach where my Dad was active duty in the US Navy. I love the ocean and I find it to be very calming to me. One day I hope to live in a warm climate near the ocean!

My relationship with hip hop!!

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Where I stand in relation to hip hop is about the same as it was in my younger years. I still listen to the music on a regular basis and I love it. Hip hop to me is unlike any other music, it really generates a fun, exciting, and confident feeling. Everytime I listen to a hip hop song my mood is instantly better. This music has also created many great memories for me in my life, with friends, sports and even work.

Blog 1: Back in the Day

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My first hip-hop encounter occurred about 9years ago. Larkin dance studio brought in their very own hip hop teacher. I remember walking into studio 3, the lights were off, spotlights shining, hip-hop music blasting, don't remember the exact song, the teacher got asked to turn it down several times. I had my brand new Nike's on but still as a tall blonde lanky white girl I was far from "funky" and felt so out of place but it was now a weekly required class and I just had to deal and get used to it. Through the years of taking hip-hop class the whole thing grew on me, the dancing, the beats, the words, the genre of hip-hop. Going to big conventions and learning the origins of popping, locking, and breaking and how it came to be the street dancing we have today. I learned to love it and not only by taking class but being more involved with the music. Although alternative is usually my genre of choice I now listen to more and more rappers and other hip hop artists, some of my favorites being Tech N9ne, Yelawolf, Kanye, and Nicki Minaj, anything easy for my to dance to. Through listening to the music I became better and better at the dancing and was finding myself getting called out on the floor to dance again. I no longer feel out of place in a hip hop class although classical ballet is still my thing. I now go out of my way to take a hip hop class and feel 100% comfortable in it.
-Sammi Sue Fleckner

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Blog #1 pop culture women

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Honestly, I don't have too much to say about hip hop. I mean I like it, respect it, but its not a daily part of my life. The first time I was exposed to hip hop is a little hazy. Possibly on MTV, or some film?? My first impression of hip hop is that I found it to be cool and confident, real. I felt like an outsider because I had never seen it before, and it was never a part of my daily life. Especially because I grew up in a predominately white area, unfortunately.. The first time I was kind of into hip hop was when I began to listen to rapper eminem around when I was 13. Other than that, I am slowly becoming more and more appreciative of hip hop culture. Whether this means having friends who are apart of hip hop culture, listening to hip hop and/or black artists (santigold, dessa, atmosphere, spoken word, slam poetry, poetry, jazz-Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, and etc),acknowledging racism and our history, etc.

I chose this image because the part of my life that involves the most hip hop would be my love for jazz, thus, here is a saxophone.

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Back in the Day

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My introduction to hip hop was on MTV during the mid 90's. I was immediately attracted to it. Groups such as Wu-Tang Clan and Outkast were my favorites as a child. To this day Outkast is still my favorite group and seeing Big Boi perform all the songs I'm familiar with at Soundset last year was my favorite show I've ever been to. My brother bought Stankonia when it was released and I quickly learned their back catalog. A lot of my early exposure was through MTV specifically TRL so I can still recite entire albums such as 2001, and the Slim Shady EP and the Marshall Mathers LP. As I traversed through the grades my tastes and exposure grew immensely. My friends were more east coast oriented so artists like Notorious, Nas, and Jay-Z entered my world. Del the Funky Homosapien's album Deltron 3030 is another album that held great influence on me. Blackstar and their solo work I can also get behind. I could go on but I will keep it terse. Hip Hop appeals to me mostly through the combination of slick production and good flow and cadence; I see the voice as another instrument adding to the overall sound. Lyrically I prefer songs that challenge norms or tell stories, and lyrics that differ from some of the negative connotations of 'rap' music, although I have been known to enjoy songs with questionable lyrical content. My introduction was in the mid nineties. -Ian Foster

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Blog #1- Back in the Day...

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I grew up in a rural area where hip-hop was existent, but not catalyst to most daily lives. My first exposure was due to my mother's shoddy VHS taping of "White Men Can't Jump" featuring Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, and Rosie Perez. The soundtrack featured many hip-hop artists and a "rugged" life very much influenced by the hip-hop presence in Los Angeles in the early 1990s. The sensationalistic plot made me feel a bit like an outsider despite my age--their lives seemed very much within a niche and a little excluding. Then came TLC and Destiny's Child on the radio, and eventually "Video" by India Arie became the anthem to my pre-teens. These artists made me feel included or privy to hip-hop because they sounded and looked like me. My relationship with hip-hop has only gotten stronger with age, as hip-hop, rap, and specifically female rappers have become more mainstream.

CLA Test

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Class Demonstration

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Test. I would like to edit blog...yes!

About Professor Isoke...

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Hip hop and hip hop politics is close to my heart and always on my mind. For me, hip hop is a tool for social change. The elements and aesthetics of hip hop influence the way I teach and learn, as well as how I go about building community with progressive and innovative artists and scholars. As a native of Long Beach, California, I have always had an affinity to the hypnotic beats of West Coast and Southern hip hop styles, but I love the beats and rhymes of artists all over the world, especially female artists like Toni Blackmon, Jean Grae, Erykah Badu, Sabreena Da Witch, Boss, MIA, Meshelle Ngedeocello, among many, many others. The artists I respect take important stances against different kinds of social oppression. They creatively interweave resistance into their work. I try to interweave hip hop politics into my work as a teacher, scholar, mother, and community organizer. I am going to upload my book cover which, I think, is a pretty good image of how I have analyzed the social world, including hip hop as a 30-something black woman professor who studies politics in GWSS.
Enjoy!

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