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.

1 Comment

I really like how you put it when you talked about "broadening the channel that female voices can exist in". It is true that female voices are rarely smothered anymore, however they are often shoved into certain roles and only respected within those roles. I also like how you connected the Durham article with systems of demain and power intertwining with the planes that we find ourselves crossing into.

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This page contains a single entry by egel0047 published on September 29, 2012 5:33 PM.

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