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.