Hip Hop Feminism at St. Paul Central High School

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I went to a high school with 1,999 students at St. Paul Central High School. The demographics were very diverse. There were numerous whites, African Americans, Asians, and Somalians. The one place in the building where people from each group came together was in the Blackbox Theater. In the blackbox, everyone was able to perform (through music, acting, or however they chose) in a way to express themselves, their opinions, and their troubles. This is the first place that comes to mind when I think of hip hop feminism in the Twin Cities.
In the Blackbox, numerous ethnicities and groups of students performed on stage, but in my opinion, the pieces that reflected Hip Hop Feminism stood out the most to me. Girls of all demographics (but predominantly African American girls) would get on the stage and either rap or perform spoken word about the troubles they were going through in their lives. The world was their stage and the audience was there to listen and reflect. Themes ranged from childhood abuse, sexuality, unhealthy relationships, to racial issues they faced. This was their time to rise above and gain power over the situation, to own their voice. As Aisha Durham stated in "Using Living Hip Hop Feminism: Redefining an Answer to Rap," "Hip hop gains its popularity from its oppositionality and from its complicity in reproducing dominant representations of black womanhood."
What was nice about the Blackbox was that no one criticized or judged. Everyone had the rights to their own thoughts and opinions. Hip hop feminism is a powerful movement for women of color to go against the status quo and tell it like it is for themselves; to stand up to subjectivity, harassment, and mistreatment. That can be a hard thing to do. Going to a school and being able to witness this movement in action, where there was no judgement, is something I'll never forget. Hearing those girls in a blackbox setting telling it like it is and using their voices to gain power and respect is a much different experience and view of hip hop feminism than listening to female rappers on the radio or television, at least in my opinion. Everyone should experience a performance like this at some point in time.

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I really enjoyed reading this because things like diversity do not really exist where I'm from. The fact that you got to experience such a diverse and artistic high school is amazing! It seems like it gave you an amazingly positive outlook on both hip hop and hip hop feminism!

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This page contains a single entry by amlan009 published on October 2, 2012 9:44 PM.

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