« March 2005 | Main | May 2005 »

April 28, 2005

The Wall Street Journal Whoa!

Someone just emailed me that I was quoted in the Wall Street Journal today. It's crazy when my words travel so far.

Here's a link to the article

Here's the full text:
Heedful Hip Hop
Attacks on rap now come from within.

BY MARTHA BAYLES
Thursday, April 28, 2005 12:01 a.m.

On April 9 a young black working mother came to midtown Manhattan to attend a public forum on hip-hop violence sponsored by the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network. The event was prompted by a shootout, one month earlier, between rival rap entourages outside Hot 97, one of New York's leading radio stations.

When the station's general manager, Barry Mayo, recited the cliché that parents should control what their children listen to and watch, the young woman rose to her feet: "I have a 12-year-old son, and I fear for him every day. I don't let him watch the videos, but I can't do it all by myself. I need help!"

Last spring another young woman, a student at Spelman College in Atlanta named Moya Bailey, was moved to protest by "Tip Drill," a video in which the male rapper Nelly takes to a new level the image of African-American women as "rump-shaking" meat available for cash by swiping a credit card between a dancer's thonged buttocks.

Violence and vulgarity are hardly unique to rap. The mainstream is full of gore and borderline porn. But these tendencies are undiluted in rap, which is why many young African-Americans and Latinos who grew up embracing hip hop as a grassroots, multimedia art form now deplore rap as a cynical "neominstrelsy" being mass-marketed not just nationally but globally.

This global twist is new. A decade ago, critics worried that "gangsta" rap was portraying African-Americans as drug dealers, killers, "bitches" and "ho's." Today the worry is international. Essence magazine recently launched an online debate about the image of black women in rap, and according to former editor Diane Weathers, that debate now includes Africans. "They are disgusted by what their African-American brothers and sisters are doing in entertainment," she says. "They wonder if we've lost our minds."

Significantly, these new protests come not as attacks from the outside but as self-examination from within. "Nobody is happy in hip hop anymore," comments Alison Duke, a Canadian filmmaker whose scathing documentary, "Booty Nation," was screened earlier this month at a conference at the Center for Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago . "We've allowed the system of slavery to come back into our communities."

If things are that bad, then perhaps these insider critics should be seeking allies in the larger society. Millions of Americans are fed up with the calculated coarseness that now passes for "edginess" in the entertainment industry, and many (not all) might be willing to join forces with hip-hop fans. Such a broad-based, genuinely diverse movement might actually have an impact. But don't expect it anytime soon--there are three major obstacles in the way.

The first obstacle is the shameless manipulativeness of the rap industry. Present at the Sharpton event were several community activists, such as writer Kevin Powell and youth organizer Erica Ford, who implied strongly that the gunplay outside Hot 97 (in which no one was seriously hurt) was a publicity stunt designed to pump the "street cred" of two rappers, 50 Cent and the Game (both on Interscope Records).

If true, this is a damning accusation. But amazingly, none of the industry representatives on the panel bothered to deny it. Instead, two smooth black executives, Ron Gilliard of Interscope and Kelly G of BET, reassured the crowd that they were "here to listen." Then two "gangsta"-attired moguls, Dave Mays and Ray Benzino of Source magazine, picked a "beef" with E-Bro from Hot 97, thereby reducing the meeting to the verbal equivalent of a sidewalk shoot-out.

Watching this happen was like watching an SUV collide with a bicycle: The big machine (the rap industry) kept rolling, while the little one (the community) got crushed. The industry's primary audience is not black: Between 70% and 80% of all rap CDs are sold to whites. Yet because rap draws its talent and mystique from poor black communities, the executives present seemed to regard sessions like this as nothing more than the cost of doing business.

Mr. Sharpton is a latecomer to this protest, according to Davey D, an Oakland-based DJ and well-known hip-hop commentator. But Mr. Sharpton is welcome, Davey D adds, as long as he aims at the right target: "Instead of calling the radio station and complaining about the artist, we need to ask who's in charge? Who's provoking violence and letting DJs use the 'N' word?"

According to Davey D, some of the younger activists have been reaching out to potential allies in the media, education and social work. But here we encounter the second obstacle to a larger movement: Mr. Sharpton's in-your-face style of politics may attract attention, but it rarely attracts supporters beyond his own narrow following.

The third obstacle is academic feminism. At the University of Chicago conference, "Feminism and Hip Hop," the focus was on "crunk," the Atlanta-based style of rap that casts black men as pimps and black women as strippers and "ho's." Some speakers--notably Ms. Bailey from Spelman and Joan Morgan from Essence--used the language of morality when describing how crunk degrades women. But when the academic feminists weighed in, moral revulsion got bracketed as naive, and we groundlings were instructed to view "Tip Drill" as part of a "hegemonic intertextuality" in which "the structures of racism, patriarchy, heterosexism and advanced consumer capitalism" are "embedded" or "inscribed" (I forget which).

This sort of thing may sustain graduate students through long Chicago winters, but it is not going to advance the anticrunk cause. For one thing, academic feminism rejects something most people hold dear, the traditional family. As one earnest graduate student put it, the late Tupac Shakur was a true artist because his lyrics "cut against the grain of the normative family," an institution she clearly regarded as the root of all patriarchal evil.

One is tempted to ask: Is this really an appropriate standard for judging any form of art? Like posters and cabaret, hip hop is an inherently populist and political art. But it is an art all the same, and it is striking that only one participant, Ms. Morgan of Essence, spoke about it in aesthetic terms.

At any rate, if rap is praised as an attack on the family, then feminist critics are not going to find many allies in either the white or the black mainstream. Yet interestingly, antifamily sentiment was not the dominant message of the conference. That message was articulated by Rachel Raimist, a Minnesota-based filmmaker, who said: "I've worked in the rap industry. I love hip hop. But when my seven-year-old daughter gets up and says, 'Shake it,' I realize something is wrong."

So perhaps there is some common ground here. No movement wants to get between the sheets with its political enemies. But politics makes for strange bedfellows, and unless these new critics of rap are willing to give some credence to the views of those who criticize it from the standpoint of public morality, neither side is likely to succeed.

Ms. Bayles is author of "Hole in Our Soul: The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Popular Music."

Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

April 27, 2005

REACHip-Hop CONFRONTS URBAN BROADCASTERS

Info Courtesy of Christie Z Pabon - toolsofwar@aol.com

An Official REACHip-Hop Press Release
Representing Education, Activism and Community Through Hip Hop
www.HipHopLivesHere.com
email: hiphopliveshere@yahoo.com

April 27, 2005: Join REACHip-Hop at 11 am to confront urban broadcasters and
advertisers at The 7th Annual Power of Urban Radio Symposium being held at the
Grand Hyatt Hotel on Park Avenue at Grand Central Station in Manhattan, NY
10017.

The Power of Urban Radio Symposium, co-hosted by Barry Mayo, General Manager
of Hot 97, will bring together over 300 of the country's leading national
marketers, their advertising agency partners and senior executives from leading
broadcast corporations to discuss and learn how to effectively target urban
consumers.

REACHip-Hop coalition will gather at 11 am to advise broadcasters that the
best way to connect to the urban audience and utilize public airwaves is to
first serve the community interest by immediately ceasing the promotion of racist
and misogynistic content.

REACHip-Hop wants to make it clear to symposium attendees that marketing to
urban consumers should not mean their degradation through constant airing of
the "N" word and other racial slurs as well as misogynistic content. Likewise it
should also not include violent promotions like "Smack Fest" and shock jock
stunts like airing "The Tsunami Song" which had nothing to do with Hip Hop.
Should successful marketing to the multi-cultural Hip Hop community depend on
airing songs that glamorize criminal behavior and glorify substance abuse and
other social ills? Does targeting this demographic necessitate playing lyrical
content which calls women "b*tches" and "ho's"?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) states that it is illegal to
broadcast sexually explicit content from 6 am to 10 pm, but songs with
adult-themes are plaguing the airwaves and targeting children. It is illegal to play
obscene content at any time, yet words like “b*tch” , “ho” and the N word are
used daily on urban radio. Why do advertisers support this behavior and why do
broadcasters think this is acceptable?

Hot 97 (NYC) and Power 106 (LA), both owned by Emmis Communications, are the
#1 urban Hip Hop radio stations in the United States. Emmis sets the pace for
what the other radio stations will do to market more effectively across the
country. Executives at Emmis surprisingly admit they do not understand Hip Hop,
yet continue to promote racist and obscene lyrical content.

"The younger end of the audience is very much interested in these street
records. If Hot 97 doesn't play them, we run the potential at some point of being
viewed by the audience as a sellout......I mean, there are a lot of things
about the hip-hop culture that I cringe about. And look, I'm a 50-year-old white
guy. I don't understand it...I mean, do you understand everything you promote
or that you are about? I don't think so."
Rick Cummings, Vice President, Emmis Communications
Hannity & Colmes Show (FOX News) 3/8/05

"That's the hip-hop culture," Smulyan said. "Do I condone some of the lyrics
in hip-hop music? No. No more than I do Rush Limbaugh's show.....We reflect
contemporary culture."

Jeff Smulyan, Chairman/CEO, Emmis Communications
The Indianapolis Star 3/27/05

"I find it interesting that Rick Cummings admits that he does not understand
Hip Hop culture. I can only assume that this is his excuse to continue to
promote negative stereotypes and sexually explicit content," says Lisa Fager
REACHip-Hop advisory board member and Industry Ears, President. "On the other hand
Jeff Smulyan thinks misogyny and racism ARE Hip Hop culture."

REACHip-Hop founder, Candice Custodio aka DJ Kuttin Kandi explains, "Unlike
Rush Limbaugh's audience, the Hot 97 audience is not made up of adult males,
instead it caters to the youngest demographic - those not mature enough to
always understand the indecent and obscene content."


REACHip-Hop IS ENCOURAGING HIP HOP ENTHUSIASTS, PARENTS & CONSUMERS TO TAKE
ACTION:

1. REACHip-Hop is joining The Council Against Hate Media (CAHM) in asking New
York City to divest their stock in Emmis Communications. Stock in a company
whose radio station broadcasts racial stereotypes and misogynistic lyrics is
not socially responsible. Help us continue to make investors and advertisers
aware of the community's growing disgust with Hot 97's antics. As a result of
Hot 97's poor decision to air "The Tsunami Song", Sri Lankans are asking
President Bill Clinton to speak out against Hot 97. British Parliament has denounced
Hot 97. Al Sharpton, Essence magazine, Zulu Nation, New York City
Councilmembers, KRS One and foreign dignitaries are all speaking out against Hot 97.
EVERYONE CAN'T BE WRONG!

2. ARBITRON: If you receive an Arbitron diary, DO NOT LIST Hot 97 or any
other urban station promoting racist or misogynistic content anywhere in the
diary. If just a mere 3% do not list radio stations which play offensive lyrics,
radio broadcaster's bottom line will be drastically effected. Stations need to
know what you listen to so they can better meet your needs. They respond to
your input by improving their programming. In the New York area Arbitron sends
out over 10,000 diaries for each quarterly survey. Each diary represents
hundreds of households. Arbitron tries to reach numerous zip codes and all ethnic
groups.

3. FCC: File an FCC complaint form at www.IndustryEars.com. FCC complaints
must be placed in a broadcasters public file and will be reviewed when the
broadcaster’s license is up for renewal. Filing a complaint is more legally
binding than sending an email or a letter to the radio station because the FCC is
able to track the complaint and hold the broadcaster accountable.


# # #


BACKGROUND

Since January 2005, the coalition has been centrally involved in the growing
protest movement against Hot 97. With a long history of radio programming that
is racist, sexist, and obscene, Hot 97 produced and broadcast an offensive
parody of the We Are The World song which became known as The Tsunami Song.

The parody included bold racial slurs and unapologetically mocked the deaths
of Asians and Africans. In the aftermath of one of the world's most
devastating natural disasters, Hot 97’s racist Tsunami Song parody was broadcast
continuously for 4 days in late January 2005. Though it was played exclusively on Hot
97 airwaves, it was disseminated internationally via that station’s website.
The song not only offended people across the world, but especially the 5
million people abroad and in the United States. People around the world called for
immediate action against the radio station. In New York, R.E.A.C.Hip-Hop has
been at the forefront of that movement.

On March 4, the R.E.A.C.Hip-Hop coalition held a protest at Union Square in
New York City. The protest generated a great deal of coverage in local and
national media, but most importantly it led to increased support from youth,
artists, politicians, educators, and grassroots organizations. Additionally, the
coalition was instrumental in raising awareness about Hot 97's Smackfest, a
violent and degrading competition in which women take turns smacking each other
across the face for a cash prize. As a result of the coalition's sustained
pressure on the radio station, the office of New York State Attorney General Elliot
Spitzer is currently conducting an investigation into the Smackfest.


REACHip-Hop MISSION STATEMENT:

ReacHip-Hop Coalition is dedicated to encouraging and creating fair and equal
representation of the diversity of Hip Hop Culture, including, but not
limited to; race/ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, sexual orientation,
religion, and disability. We are a pro-active body made up of activists, artists,
teachers, performers, organizers, and individuals all dedicated to positive change
within our communities. We believe Hip Hop’s true legacy belongs to the
people, and we strive to utilize Hip Hop as a vehicle of social and political
justice to promote education, information, and empowerment for the masses, while
preventing the dissemination of negative stereotypes, discrimination, and
violence.


For more information about REACHip-Hop please visit www.HipHopLivesHere.com.

Sign The Petition - Stop Sexual Discrimination at The Source

Please sign the petition against The Source. This is the full text of the petition.

To:  David Mays, Raymond "Benzino" Scott, and Al Sharpton.

BACKGROUND:

After two top female executives at The Source magazine filed a sexual harassment suit against their former employer on Monday, April 11, 2005, the co-owners of The Source, David Mays and Raymond "Benzino" Scott, both responded (on two separate occasions) by impugning the sexual reputation of one of the two plaintiffs, Kim Osorio, the former editor-in-chief of the magazine.

In an April 11th statement reported by www.allhiphop.com, David Mays said:

“It is a fact that Ms. Osorio had sexual relations with a number of high profile rap artists during her employment as editor-in-chief.”

The following day, Benzino was interviewed, also by www.allhiphop.com, and said,

“[Kim Osorio is] screaming sexual discrimination. What we're gonna do is counter sue her because that's totally false because especially when we have record of—we have proof of her having many sexual relations with a lot of the artists that she was actually interviewing a lot. And we will counter sue her for defamation of character and then after that, we'll just let the courts decide it.”

STATEMENT:

1. We condemn David Mays’ and Benzino’s response to the suit. The notion that Osorio’s sexual history (real or imagined) has any bearing on whether or not her claims are legitimate is ludicrous. Michelle Joyce and Kim Osorio’s claims will be evaluated by the courts, but the responses from the Harvard-educated Mays and the self-appointed community leader Benzino certainly seem to indicate that the top staff at The Source condone and reinforce a climate of discrimination against women. Basically, their argument boils down to the classic “She’s promiscuous, so she couldn’t have been sexually harassed,” so the responsibility for the harassment lies with its victim, as opposed to the harasser.

2. While we understand that the music industry is rife with little-discussed sexual perks, we hold journalists to a higher standard. Female journalists in particular have long understood that sexual relations with subject matter undermine any attempts at objectivity, clearly compromise the integrity of the magazine, blur the line between professionalism and personal pleasure and reinforce the sexist stereotype that women write about hip hop only to sleep with rappers. We in no way condone such behavior. That said, we are equally aware that Benzino’s and Mays’ accusations against Osorio are a calculated attempt to obscure the issue at hand: Does The Source engender a climate of harassment that makes it difficult if not impossible for its female employees to do their jobs without feeling demeaned, devalued or threatened?

3. In The Source and other magazines, women of color are only valued as available sexual objects, a relationship that clearly goes back to slavery and imperialism. Yet they are expected to stay loyal and quiet about sexism and injustice in their own house, and when they choose to raise the issue in public, they are again reduced to sexual objects. We are disgusted at the fact that while Mays and Benzino and other community leaders claim to be concerned about injustice, they are clearly exploiting racist and racially divisive stereotypes of women of color.

4. We call on the so-called community leaders who allegedly asked Benzino to return to The Source after he had resigned Friday, April 8, to take a stand against the sexism of both Benzino and Mays. After he put out a press release on April 8, stating that he had stepped down from The Source, Benzino recanted on Monday, April 11, announcing his return. According to the latter release, “Reverend Al Sharpton, executives from Black Enterprise, David Mays, and others insisted he retain his position for the good of the cause.” We are deeply concerned that a community leader like Sharpton, who professes to be seeking a more humane hip hop industry, would align himself with a magazine that so clearly ignores the humanity of women. We urge him to respect the concerns of men and women equally, and to use this opportunity to examine the working conditions of The Source specifically, and the sexism that women who work in music journalism and in the music industry experience on a daily basis.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

April 23, 2005

crawling...

seoul.jpg

b-girl seoul and desdamona open the b-girl be gallery expo

we finally did it. the gallery is up and open. the pary was a sucess. i won't repeat all the beautiful details. the homegirls - mj and des have already done that.

it's a miracle but i got video loop done. and it was a hit. the loop is an hour of exclusive footage of women in hip-hop like these:
bgirlvid.jpg

so people - old, young, white, black, asian, brown, mixed... - waited in line to get into the video room. the loop runs an hour but people were in there for two hours. that's almost overwhelming to me. the footage and edits go back a decase for some of the work. it's been collecting dust on my shelf of tapes (thousands of hours of footage). and now i've put it to work. apparently at the after party people were asking how they could buy it. so "b-girl be: the documentary" is in the making. dvd for sale next fall [cross your fingers]!

another highlight the Moxie cut-a-thon. my beautiful daughter cut off all of her hair. her hair was nearly touching the bottom of her back and now it's in the cutest angled bob. loving it!


moxiegallery.jpg

so the b-girl be crawl is in full movement. check intermedia arts . COME THRU!

up next:
WORKSHOPS>>>>
B-Girl Be Youth Workshops
$5 per workshop (group rates available).
Space is limited, reservations required. Call (612) 871-4444 or email bgirl@intermediaarts.org to sign up.

Lyricism and Poetry with Desdamona (ages 16 and up)
Thursday May 5; 5:30–8:00 pm
We will write about personal life experiences, experiment with collaboration, discuss and listen to work by hip hop and spoken word artists, incorporate chorus/hooks into our pieces ending with a performance of the writing from the day.

Stencils and graf with Amy Swenson (ages 16 and up)
Thursday May 12; 5:30–8:00 pm
I will be showing the variety of surfaces that stencils can go on, the different things that can be used to create stencils and some of the tricks involved when it comes to fixing mistakes and applying an image to a surface. 

Dance with Leah Nelson and B-girl Seoul (ages 12 and up)
Thursday May 19; 5:30–8:00 pm
This session will cover the fundamentals of the various styles associated with breaking, popping & locking. We will start with a warm up that incorporates the basic movements. We will watch some videotapes by funk dance legends Don Campbell and the Electric Boogaloos whose style of movement have influenced current hip hop dancers. We will then create a routine together incorporating all these styles as well as some current hip -hop dance trends and end with a freestyle.

Digital Media with Rachel Raimist (ages 16 and up)
Thursday May 26; 5:30–8:00 pm
In this session we will deconstruct and (re)construct images of women in hip-hop. We will analyze photography, film, music videos, and print media. We will erase the beat, slow down the frame, and discuss why and how these images are so powerful. This is also an opportunity to talk about how you can get involved in documenting (filming/photographing/writing) the b-girl be summit.

DIALOGUES>>>>>
Bring your own lunch to these brown bag dialogues with women in the Twin Cities hip-hop scene.
The Genesis of B-Girl Be: Feminist Collaborations in Practice
Saturday, May 14
Noon–1:00 pm; free admission
Join local artists-activists-academics in the hip-hop movement: DeAnna Cummings, Desdamona, Leah Nelson, Rachel Raimist, Melisa Riviére and Theresa Sweetland.

Open Forum: Women in the Twin Cities Hip-Hop Scene
Saturday, May 21
Noon–1:00 pm; free admission
A space for you to build on local energy and local artists and to discuss ideas to support women in this community.

birthday blessing [en route]

rae.jpg

my birthday [may 19th - same as malcolm x, ho chi minh, and many other people on that level] surprise was revealed! a custom nameplate. ive been wanting this forever. my girl hooked it up.

i feel blessed.

April 21, 2005

hilarious!

Now I don't feel so bad about the "crap" that I have to read to get this PhD...

From CNN.COM
MIT prank paper accepted for publication

BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- Three MIT graduate students set out to show what kind of gobbledygook can pass muster at an academic conference these days, writing a computer program that generates fake, nonsensical papers. And sure enough, a Florida conference took the bait.

The program, developed by students Jeremy Stribling, Max Krohn and Dan Aguayo, generated a paper with the dumbfounding title: "Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy." Its introduction begins: "Many scholars would agree that, had it not been for active networks, the simulation of Lamport clocks might never have occurred."

The program works like the old "Mad Libs" books, generating sentences taken from real papers but leaving many words blank. It fills the blanks with random buzzwords common in computer science. And it adds to the verisimilitude with meaningless charts and graphs.

Earlier this month, the students received word that the Ninth World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, scheduled to take place in July in Orlando, Florida, had accepted the four-page "Rooter" paper. A second bogus submission -- "The Influence of Probabilistic Methodologies on Networking" -- was rejected.

The offer accepting a paper and inviting the students to present it in person in Orlando was rescinded after word of the hoax got out, and the students were refunded the $390 fee to attend the conference and have the paper published in its proceedings.

But they still hope to go, using the more than $2,000 raised in contributions to their prank, much of it from admirers who tested the program on the students' Web site.

"We wanted to go down there and give a randomly generated talk," Stribling said.

E-mails to a conference address and to organizer Nagib Callaos were not immediately returned Wednesday, and there was no answer at the Orlando telephone number listed under Callaos' name.

According to e-mails sent to the students and information posted by Callaos on the conference Web site, reviewers detected several bogus submissions. But the reviewers provided no "formal feedback" on the second paper, so it was accepted as a "non-reviewed paper." Callaos said it would have been unfair to reject a paper because there had been no feedback.

Stribling doubts the paper fooled anyone who actually read it, which keeps the hoax a notch below a famous 1996 prank in which physicist Alan Sokal persuaded a Duke University journal called Social Text to publish a bogus article titled "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity."

But in addition to mocking academic jargon, the prank sheds light on what Stribling sees as a problem: conferences with low standards that pander to academics looking to pad their resumes, but which harm the reputations of more reputable gatherings.

"We certainly exposed this conference as being willing to publish any paper regardless of whether it's been peer-reviewed, which is kind of a dangerous precedent to set," Stribling said. "It's kind of dangerous to be able to pass anything off as scientifically valid."

According to its Web site, the conference featured more than 2,900 papers last year, and a preliminary program for this year's event lists presentations by researchers from numerous universities, including highly respected ones like Northwestern and the University of Texas, as well as companies such as Intel Corp.

But the conference has apparently been targeted by pranksters before.

An Australian computer scientist, Justin Zobel, describes on his Web site three papers that were accepted without comment for the 2002 conference.

One submission was purposefully nonsensical, another submission juxtaposed lines from two different papers, and the third tried unsuccessfully to sabotage itself by claiming, for instance, that the method proposed "does not work at all."


 

April 20, 2005

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Home Girls, Make Some Noise!: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology

Feminism, rap music, and Hip Hop culture, at first glance, do not appear to be likely cohorts. In the male-driven, testosterone filled world of Hip Hop culture and rap music labeling oneself a feminist is not a political stance easily taken. Thus, many women involved with Hip Hop culture do not take on the label of feminist even as their actions imply feminist beliefs and leanings. Much of the strong criticisms of rap music have been about the music’s sexism and misogyny. And much of the attention focused on sex and gender have been in terms of constructions of Black masculinity, and rap music as a vehicle for Black male posturing. A lot of attention has been paid to the impact rap music and the masculine space of Hip Hop culture has on the development of Black male identities. In this volume, the editors strive to understand constructions of Hip Hop feminism, gender, and sexuality in Hip Hop culture, rap music and these in transnational contexts.

We take the stance that Hip Hop is a cultural phenomenon that expands farther than rap music. Hip Hop has been defined by many as a way of life that encompasses everything from way of dress to manner of speech. Hip Hop as a culture originally included graffiti writing, d-jaying, break dancing, and rap music. It has recently expanded to include genres such as film, spoken word, autobiographies, literature, journalism, and activism. It has also expanded enough to include its own brand of feminism. The work of Hip Hop feminist writers such as Ayana Byrd, Denise Cooper, Eisa Davis, Eisa Nefertari Ulen, shani jamilla, dream hampton, Joan Morgan, Tara Roberts, Kristal Brent-Zook, and Angela Ards is expanding black feminist theory and black women’s intellectual traditions in fascinating ways. What started out as a few young black feminist women who loved Hip Hop and who tried to mesh that love with their feminist/womanist consciousness is now a rich body of articles, essays, poetry, and creative non-fiction.

We seek to complicate understandings of Hip Hop as a male space by including and identifying the women who were always involved with the culture and offering Hip Hop feminist critiques of the music and the culture. We seek to explore Hip Hop as a worldview, as an epistemology grounded in the experiences of communities of color under advanced capitalism, as a cultural site for rearticulating identity and sexual politics. We are particularly interested in seeing submissions of critical essays and cultural critiques, interviews, creative non-fiction and personal narratives, fiction, poetry, and artwork. We also encourage submissions from women working within the Hip Hop sphere, Hip Hop feminists and activists “on the ground,” as well as scholars, writers, and journalists. We do not wish to reify the scholar/activist dichotomy, but we want to encourage as broad a discussion of the possibilities of Hip Hop Feminism as possible and we want to be sure multiple voices and perspectives are represented in the anthology. All work submitted must be original and should not have been published elsewhere.

Word Count/Page Limits:

Critical Essays and Cultural Critiques – 25 pages (including bibliography) 6500 words
Interviews – 10 pages/2500 words
Creative Non-Fiction and Personal Narratives – 20 pages/5000 words
Fiction – 20 pages/5000 words
Poetry/Rhymes – No more than 3 pages per poem/rhyme and 3 poems per poet/mc
Artwork – Up to three pieces per artist

Editors:

Gwendolyn Pough is an Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, Writing, and Rhetoric at Syracuse University and the author of Check It While I Wreck It; Black Womanhood, Hip-Hop Culture and the Public Sphere, Northeastern University Press 2004.

Elaine Richardson is an Associate Professor of English at Penn State University and the author of African American Literacies (2003) and the forthcoming Hip Hop Literacies both from Routledge Press.

Rachel Raimist is a Hip Hop feminist filmmaker, scholar and activist. Her film credits include the award-winning feature length documentaries Freestyle, Nobody Knows My Name, and Garbage, Gangsters, and Greed. She is a doctoral student in Feminist Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Aisha S. Durham is an essayist and Editorial Assistant for several cultural studies journals, including Qualitative Inquiry where her performance work is featured. Durham’s dissertation research examining Hip Hop feminism will be featured in an upcoming anthology and documentary about Hip Hop culture. She is a doctoral candidate in the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Additional themes to be explored:

n Has Hip Hop feminism moved beyond the conflicted stance of loving Hip Hop, being a feminist, and meshing the two? What is next? What should Hip Hop feminism be doing?
n Now that we have at least two generations of women who identify as Hip Hop feminist, can we talk about multiple Hip Hop feminism(s), multiple Hip Hop feminist agendas?
n On that generational note, how then does the Hip Hop feminist agenda mesh with the Black feminist agenda or womanist agenda of our predecessors and contemporaries who do not claim a Hip Hop sensibility?
n We know that there are dedicated educators out there who are working in the trenches with no institutional support to bring feminist education and issues of sexuality, sexual health, and emotional well-being to our youth, but how can Hip Hop feminists work to ensure that feminist education is centered in the curricula of America’s schools, elementary through college for both male and female students?
n What are the defining contours of Hip Hop Feminism? If we are of the understanding that a Hip Hop feminist is more than just a woman who loves Hip Hop and feels conflicted about it, what does a Hip Hop feminism look like?
n The continued sexual labor of women of color in a global market place now depending on virtual "mass mediated" sex labor (e.g. music video and pornography) as well as other forms of sex and gendered labor performed by women of color still policed.
n Is Hip Hop feminism simply a US phenomenon? Should Hip Hop feminism have a global agenda? And how should Hip Hop feminism participate in the agendas of transnational feminism(s)?
n What roles can Hip Hop feminism play in combating growing rate of incarcerated woman of color and the expanding prison industrial complex?


For additional information contact:

Elaine Richardson - ebr2@psu.edu

Please send four copies of the submission by July 30, 2005 to:

Gwendolyn D. Pough
Women’s Studies Program
Syracuse University
208 Bowne Hall
Syracuse, New York 13244

April 1, 2005

toes to toes...

listening to tupac "all i need in this life of sin, is me & my girlfriend"... i feel him, except i need to make the rachel remix - "me & my laptop". anyone who knows me, knows that i can't live without technology. my friends make fun of me because i sleep with my laptop, literally. i fall asleep with the laptop on the pillow next to my head. i can't remember life before my mac. i hate to leave the house without a camera, an ipod, something that requires batteries. had a messed up phone but got a new one (t-mobile is the best!) my new phone records 10 sec videos. recorded princess psycho:82862772bb56.jpg and then caught the squirrels on the roof next door. they were getting it on. squirrel porn. weird.

am calling t-mobile to configure this new phone to get me online thru bluetooth. it's also a switchover hassle when i get new toys. thankfully t-mobile's customer service is "fast, fun & friendly" as per corporate standards (unlike sprint [i still hate u claire] and att [the worst devilsh company in the world - 7 hour hold times for operators]). im still trying to make it up the help tier levels (im currently holding at level 2, needing a data specialist (i think that she needs to be a level 3 or 4). a real voice answers he phone.

all is fixed. my ability to connect my laptop stopped at red lights makes me feel that at every second i can be connected to the world. its sad that it takes battery power to make me feel connected but that's just how it is right now.

my sick child laying to my left. her leg is stretched out just enough so the tip of her toe is against my leg. her insurance that i can't slip back out of the bed to go back to my desk. i'm dying to edit and i need to because the gallery opens april 22 - tooo soon. but now she's awake and watching re-runs of er (my kid loves cartoons, full house, and ther fresh prince of bell air [she thinks they are new shows that i know nothing about] but she also loves er, law & order and csi). the more i try to shut off the tv, the more she wants to watch it. it's hard to say tv is bad when i spend so much of my life editing videos to put on tv. looking at her feverish little brown body i can see how sick she really is. her whole body is covered with little fever bumps. poor thing. but she's happy to be in the mama bed, toe to toe touching is always comforting. she is my mini-me and little t is her mini me.
my little t Image.jpg
and her lil t f9b3b35d1900.jpg

still my mind is on the footage. it is amazing - women rapping, writin', spittin', spinnin', flowin'. images of women from around the world - ny, la, seattle, sf, nyc, chile, argentina, minneap/sp, puerto rico... and the looping video of graf walls painted by women around the world. overwhelming. already it's 40 mintues and it's not nearly done.

and it's almost the close to another semester. after this term (fingers crossed that i can catch up and finish all the papers that are due), i will only have one more class for my minor (american studies). then it's written exams and oral exams. i need to sort thru what will serve as "my project". very loosely i am looking at art (specifically film/video, music, performance, poetry) as tools for social change (at least transformative pedagogy). i will either write (and produce a part multimedia dissertation [dvd probably] about all the "sites" that ive been working with: stillwater men's prison poetry group, st. paul central hs: central touring theatre company, b-girl be (and all my work around women in hip-hop), and a new project about hip-hop/activist moms. i will either focus the disseration on one focused site or i will write a chapter about each of these "case studies". the companion dvd would feature footage/scenes/clips that illustrate the points in the chapters.

the moms piece that i'm working on (well, doing a few interviews under a blanket IRB for my American Studies research class with Jennifer Pierce [who rocks!]. i have been interviewing amazing poets, singers, rappers, and just all-around beautiful and creative women, like Sarah White of Traditional Methods it is a very personal and very difficult project. i have plenty of my own "issues" and feelings about motherhood, the balancing act, being a hip-hop family, the images and lyrics on commercial tv outlets. i want to "Take Back the Music" but i don't think moms in hip-hop should be limited to the spaces/places they are discussed now - there is either the reverance (like tupac, biggie and any other famous male rapper's mom) or the many variations of young moms of color (the hoochie, the crackhead, the welfare queen...) who can't raise sons. for me, it's time to expand these caricatures, and broaden the narratives of mothering in hip-hop or as part of the hip-hop generation.

lately ive been wondering why artists either: "grow up" into "more respectable" women (salt & peppa, madonna) [mom's can't be wild and sexual?] / don't share their stories of motherhood (Rah Digga) / disappear (Hurricane G, Bahamadia, Lil Mo, Michel'e, Jaguar Wright / get screwed by labels (Toni Braxton - did u see her VH1 special?) and on and on.... i want to interview moms who are what i call hip-hop moms. not just rap music buying consumers but women who are cultural producers, educators, activists - rappers, poets, painters, beatmakers, filmmakers, bgirls...

my wish list of artist & activist interviews (which is still just a first thougt): Lauryn Hill, Hurricane G, Rah Digga, Jaguar Wright, Bahamadia, Salt, Peppa, Pri da Honey Dark, Kim Osoria, Misa Hylton-Brim, Solange, Toni Braxton, Jada Pinkett Smith (she plays at Medusa's knappy at the roots sometimes), Asia One, J-Love, Rosa Clemente, Delores Huerta,La Bruja, and elders: Afeni Shakur, Sonia Sanchez... so many more.

the project is still in major infancy. i'm not sure my clear lines of inquiry (yes, my research questions). i don't know if this project should focus on personal narratives of mothering - how each mom tells her own story, what is relevant to her and her life experience (i would like to get funded to put cameras into women's hands to document their lives. maybe have the videotape their lives, maybe have them blog or share photos). somehow connect our stories through thematic threads.

still, the spark - to tell my story, our stories - in a way that hasn't been told (at least as i haven't heard), is what is important to me. in nobody knows my name i interviewed lisa, a hip-hop mom (the wife of click tha supah latin and the mother of his children). people got angry at me. who is she? why does she matter? how is she a women in hip-hop? even just from my own life experience helping a man in the industry (being the woman behind every retail report, every marketing plan, every project proposal, but no one ever knowing my name or that i even existed in the business), i know how many women are unpaid managers, are marketing specialists, are promotional masterminds, are making big things happen without credit and without compensation. behind every rapper is a mother, sister, cousin, girlfriend, wife, partner who is helping make the show run. i want to hear these stories. i want to share these stories with the world.

"i'm hungry and i don't want soggy cereal. i hate how it sticks to the bowl flat" she calls. i have to put down the laptop and get this girl something to eat. only 2 more hours until the doctor. hopefully some antibiotics and she'll be hanging off the cieling [literally] again.