September 25, 2008

If You Are in NYC...

PREEMPTIVE EDUCATION :: Language, Identity & Power

Conscious Women Rock the Page
Presented by JLove Calderon, Elisha Miranda, Sofía Quintero, and Marcella Runell Hall

In this session, participants will be introduced to a cutting-edge practical implementation of Hip-Hop content and pedagogy in the form of the new book, “Conscious Women Rock the Page: Using Hip-Hop Fiction to Incite Social Change.? This session seeks to introduce attendees to the upsurge of feminist popular fiction utilizing Hip-Hop culture to raise substantive issues including race, class, gender, sexual orientation and culture. The four authors have teamed up to develop a curriculum based on three popular Hip-Hop novels to engage communities on the issues and themes that their books raise and to inspire action. The authors will read brief excerpts of their works, co-facilitate a sample activity from our curriculum and discuss how participants can harness popular fiction to raise consciousness and promote activism, especially among young women who may not identify as either feminists or activists.

To get registration info for the entire weekend of workshops and activities, please email Program Director, Parker Pracjek at or call 212.352.3495. Scholarships available.

Presented by Urban Word NYC, Hip-Hop Theater Festival, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, & Human Development and the Center for Multicultural Education & Programs at NYU.

For more on JLove Calderon, visit
Email her at

February 04, 2008

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS for The Womanhood Learning Project

Dear Hip-Hop Ladies, organizers of Hip Hop Events for Females, supporters and friends!

The Hip-Hop Association (H2A) is working on a women's initiative entitled, Womanhood Learning Project. This is a two-year study that explores women's roles and leadership positions in different sectors within Hip-Hop culture and the community.

This project is intended to bring unity within women in Hip-Hop by creating a space to learn, build, and bring about concrete change through an online platform - , a book, a case study, and a marketing campaign empowering women around the world.

We want to declare 2008 "The Year of Hip-Hop Ladies" and among other things want to create an events calendar with all your events for females in Hip Hop, so we can promote each other's activities.

Continue reading "CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS for The Womanhood Learning Project" »

We B*Girlz – The Summit – Berlin – August 2008


4 weeks of workshops, panels, screenings, and exhibitions

January 16, 2008

The Current Theme Song

Jill Scott
"Hate on Me"

If I could give you the world
On a silver platter
Would it even matter?
You'd still be mad at me

If I could find in all this
A dozen roses
Which I would give to you
You'd still be miserable

In reality, I'm gon' be who I be
And I don't feel no faults
For all the lies that you bought
You can try as you may
Break me down but I say
That it ain't up to you
Gon' and do what you do

Hate on me, hater
Now or later
'Cuz I'm gonna do me
You'll be mad, baby
(Go 'head and hate)
Go 'head and hate on me, hate on
'Cuz I'm not afraid of it
What I got I paid for
You can hate on me

Ooh, if I gave you peaches
Out of my own garden
And I made you a peach pie
Would you slap me high?

What if I gave you diamonds
Out of my own womb
Would you feel the love in that,
Or ask "why not the moon"?

If I gave you sanity
For the whole of humanity,
Had all the solutions
For the pain and pollution

No matter where I live,
Despite the things I give,
You'll always be this way
So go 'head and....

Hate on me, hater
Now or later
'Cuz I'm gonna do me
You'll be mad, baby
(Go 'head and hate)
Go 'head and hate on me, hate on
'Cuz I'm not afraid of it
What I got I paid for
You can hate on me

You cannot hate on me
'Cuz my mind is free
Feel my destiny
So shall it be

December 28, 2007

Friday Poetry Blogging - YouTube Bootleg Edition

Ursula Rucker - What A Woman Must Do

Jessica Care Moore - I'm A Hip Hop Cheerleader

Suheir Hammad - Not Your Erotic, Not Your Exotic

Mayda Del Valle - To All The Boys I've Loved Before

July 19, 2007

Oh Foxy... [our work must go on]

B-Girl Be Press - Vita*MN


July 10, 2007

Have You Heard?

In honor of the recent B-Girl Be, the panel I'm speaking on tonight, and the constant questions of who are you listening to, here's some suggestions:




June 27, 2007

Making Headlines, Making History!


Read the LAVENDER cover story HERE


Read tge CITY PAGES covere story HERE

June 26, 2007

Where Will I Be? At B-Girl Be!

This week[end] is B-Girl Be!

Full Schedule is available HERE

The gallery work looks amazing:

I'm really excited to see my girls Rosa Clemente, Sistaz in Rhyme, Medusa, Maria Isa and so many more ladies!

May 24, 2007

Upcoming B-Girl Be Fundraiser

Even though I'm not curating B-Girl Be, I urge you to support and to attend this event:

B-Girl Be: The Movie Premiere

Thursday May 31, 2007; 7 & 9 PM
at Intermedia Arts; $7 ($5 youth)

Be the first to view the two-hour documentary of B-Girl Be 2006 and get your own copy of the DVD hot off the press for only $20! Two showings will be available so we can pack the house and raise some funds to support this year's B-Girl Be Summit, June 28-July 1, 2007 at Intermedia Arts.


February 28, 2007

Listen and Learn [please get your read on...]

I've been getting a lot of "I'm writing my thesis about women in hip hop..." emails lately. I always tell them to check the Women In Hip Hop Resource list (I'm going to do an update soon).

Here are some (that write about my work and other important off the suggested reading list:

Total Chaos
Edited by Jeff Chang

The Vinyl Ain't Final
Edited by Dipa Basu and Sidney Lemelle

Check It While I Wreck It

Gwendolyn Pough

Hip Hop Matters
S. Craig Watkins

When Chickenheads Come Home To Roost
Joan Morgan

The Hip Hop Education Guidebook
Runell, Puerta, Diaz

and coming soon:
Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology
Editors Pough, Richardson, Durham and Raimist

Also, start listening to some *great* music. check these ladies:

Toni Blackman





Kuttin Kandi




Check this resources, organizations and other great sites:

Tools of War

Hip Hop Archive

Hip Hop Lives Here

Yahoo Hip Hop Feminism Group

and that's just a taste!

November 10, 2006

B-Girl Be is Back

BGB girlz got skillz.jpg

B-Girl Be: GIRLZ GOT SKILLZ—November 16, 2006
Black Blondie, Desdamona and Maria Isa

Minneapolis—Intermedia Arts presents, for the first time on the same stage, some of Twin Cities' hottest female hip hop artists coming together to support B-Girl Be: A Celebration of Women in Hip Hop’s 2007 Summit scheduled for June 28-July 1, 2007 at Intermedia Arts. GIRLZ GOT SKILLZ brings together Black Blondie, Desdamona, and Maria Isa for one night at Babalu in the Minneapolis Warehouse District. All proceeds for this event go to support the artists and B-Girl Be 2007. B-Girl Be is an annual summit and series of events, workshops, exhibits, and performances that celebrate women in hip-hop. The mission of BGB is to influence and inspire leadership to change the perceptions and roles of women in hip-hop for current and future generations.

Thursday, November 16; 9:00 pm to midnight
800 N. Washington Avenue
612.746.3158 / 612.281.9970
$10 door
18 + / 21 to drink

Black Blondie has shared the stage with internationally acclaimed artists such as The Coup, J*Davey, Vitamin D, Sage Francis, Lyrics Born, and Luna Angel as well as local talent including Rhymesayers artists Brother Ali and I Self Devine, and Doomtree (P.O.S). Black Blondie was a featured artist in the 2006 B-Girl Be Festival: (A Celebration of Women in Hip Hop), in the annual Midwestern Hip Hop’n Harmony Festival and in the Sur Seine International Music Festival. Black Blondie was nominated for R&B Artist/Group of the Year for the 2006 Minnesota Music Awards, and they were awarded “Best Band Name? for the City Pages 2006: Best of the Twin Cities. They were voted number two (missing number one by only one vote) in the Citypages’ Top 10 New Bands Poll: “Picked to Click 2006.? They have been featured guests on Minnesota Public Radio and “Fresh Air Radio: KFAI? and have appeared on show.

Desdamona is the Premier Female Hip Hop Artist in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis / St. Paul) but not only is she making moves as an MC she has been creating opportunities for many other Twin Cities Artists for 10 years. Desdamona is the 4 time winner of the MN Music Award for Best Spoken Word Artist and in 2005 she was nominated for 4 more MMA's (Best Spoken Word, Best Hip Hop Recording, Critics Choice, and Artist of the Year) Currently, she is promoting her first full length release, "The Ledge". This project is a combination of spoken word, hip hop and song with world music and hip hop music as a backdrop. She worked with the legendary Reggae musicinas Sly & Robbie on this project as well as other producers from the Minneapolis and Philadelphia areas. Desdamona got hooked up with Sly & Robbie through their manager, and opened for their group, Black Uhuru at First Avenue, in 2000. Since then she has been writing, perfoming, organizing and building a broader fan base. She has toured throughout the US, and traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii for GirlFest 2004, where she performed, taught workshops and WON Hawaii's biggest poetry slam competition. Desdamona helped to produce the Twin Cities First Women in Hip Hop Summit called, B Girl Be Hip Hop summit in 2005. Planning has begun for 2006. for more info. Now a member of Hecatomb, Desdamona is working on collaborations with crew members and writing new material for future releases. She is also currently in the recording stage of her next release, "Hymn of the Human Spirit" on Fuzzy Slippers Productions.

Born Maria Isabelle Perez Vega to Nuyorican parents and raised on St. Paul's Westside, Maria Isa is a vocalist, songwriter and performs Afro-Puerto Rican music Bomba and Plena with a mix of Hip-Hop, R&B, and Reggaeton. She is currently attending McNally Smith College of Music, returning to Minnesota after a semester at Columbia College Chicago. Maria Isa teaches song and vocal instructions to children at El Arco Iris Center for the Arts in St. Paul, while performing with the folklore group "RAICES"(roots). Performing since she was a young girl, Maria Isa was inspired by the artistic values of Mila Llauger (her aunt) Evaristo Rodriguez (mentor), and the many Fania, Motown, and Ol'Skool Hip-hop played by her family. "We're (the family) are like the Boricua My Big Fat Greek Wedding, except we say WEPA instead of OPA!" At the age of 7, Maria Isa was invited on stage with Salsa singer La India and given timbales sticks from the late great Tito Puente. From then she knew she wanted to be reaching others by being in the light and behind a mic. She thanks Los Nativos member Felipe Chautli for believing in her and being a guiding hand in opening many opportunities. She also acknowledges Melisa Riviere (Maria Isa's manager and president of Emetrece Productions) for educating and opening more doors. Isa's words express who she is: a female activist recognizing her heritage and culture as a "Boricua de las Ciudades Gemelas" (Puerto Rican from the Twin Cities). She flows her opinions on the political movements that take place and errupt from the USA owning Puerto Rico. Through her voz (voice) and Spanglish tracks Maria Isa hopes to reach those who are on the same mission as her..... to place the truth in the textbooks and to teach people of all ages what is being missed in the classrooms. Quoting the Young Lords Party "Siempre Pa'lante," Moochie (da girl on da block aka Maria's nickname since an infant) remains to tell others, "although bad things attack us, there is always good that can come out of a situation.. we gotta keep learning something new every day about the world and moving foward. Paz, Salud, y Felicidad."-Maria Isa

October 24, 2006

Landmark for Women In Hip Hop Industry


The Source, Dave Mays, Benzino Ordered To Pay Former EIC $14.5 Million

The Source Magazine, Dave Mays and Ray "Benzino" Scott must pay $14.5 million dollars to former editor-in-chief Kim Osorio, after a federal jury in New York found she was fired in retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment and gender discrimination on the job.
Read On...

October 11, 2006

We Got Issues: young women + empowerment project


August 31, 2006

If You're In London Next Week...


Nobody Knows My Name is screening in London for this magazine:


You can view a clip here, on my website.

Here's your official invite:


More info on their website:

August 09, 2006

The Many Uses of MySpace

My girls used to get mad at me for not having a myspace. I got one ages ago and rarely logged on, so then I got flack for that. Des would tell me about all the people exposed to her music, the CD sales, the bookings... great, but I'm not an artist trying to sell my art. MJ would talk about all the people she would connect with from old friends to hip hop fam around the world, but I can barely keep contact with my immediate circle. Still, I kept adding friends, replying to messages, posting a few comments, and put a couple photos up. Once in a while I connect with some friend (from real not online life) and it would be cool. I do continually get the yo shorty, u fly messages, which i promptly delete. But, lately I find I am a very happy myspace member (one of 53 million I hear).

For my women in hip hop circles it has been a great way to connect, share work (music, photos, art), and publicize events. I find that artists who rap, write, poetry, dance, paint and perform, like to do just that. They don't want to spend hours of time maintaining a website or don't have he money to pay for a host, or a web designer, or just aren't interested in any more hassle than life already holds. But, most if not all of these artists have myspace pages. The pages are form entry filled and give you a basic design but many of these ladies have ventured out to the myspace page designers that customize the look, spit out the code which gets copied and pasted in the myspace forms. Easy!

Now I find I also have new answers to students and folks who ask me "Where do I hear women rappers? Where can I buy Invincible's indie ep? How do I know about female rappers who aren't on BET?..." I find I just direct them to my blog which links directly to these ladies myspace sites (sidebar links). I also compiled links on my homepage that directs visitors to this site as well.

Most recently, an old friend from my hometown *Middletown, NY!* hit me up on myspace. I hadn't spoken his name in years but have often thought back to my first "date" to the Orange Plaza (a suburban mall that had been replaced by a massive galleria but I saw here that its' been redeveloped). He wasn't my date, he was the unofficial date of my bets friend Jen, who I forced to come along. He and my first "boyfriend", the first boy I kissed, in like 4th or 5th grade. Oh goodness, I just realized my daughter is going into forth. I'll always chaperone trips to the mall. So I guess he found me randomly through my myspace page. How? Maybe searching Middletown, who knows. So I found an old picture of him and posted it on his comments. I loved to take pictures even back then:

the boys in the yard, Chorley Elementary school, May 1984

... and as I write my myspace praises this hits my myspace inbox:

Hello, I was just going through your profile and your picture got blood jumping around in my veins like a ball on a roller coaster...

and this is why I still hate my myspace too.

August 02, 2006

Call For Papers - Women In Hip Hop

Conference: Wellesley, Women, Hip-Hop
Saturday, October 28, 2006, Wellesley College

Female hip-hop enthusiasts rejoice. This fall, Wellesley College presents its first ever one day symposium on women in hip-hop. This event will celebrate the successes and contributions of women in hip-hop through keynote speeches, art exhibitions, film screenings, and special performances.

This conference will move the dialogue about women in hip-hop forward, past the conversations about video girls and Eminem lyrics that have been taking place for years. This conference will give voice to new topics and new directions in hip-hop, and examine the way we think about hip-hop and its intersection with gender and sexuality.

If you are interested in presenting research, a paper topic, facilitating a workshop, moderating a panel, or otherwise contributing to this conference, please submit an abstract to by September 22, 2006. Some travel accommodations for presenters can be met.


Don't forget to visit my WOMEN IN HIP HOP LINKS page. Artists, blogs, conferences, knowledge... I'm working on updating all the time.

Email me
your webpage if you are a women in hip hop who would like to be added.

July 25, 2006

B is for... ??? oh BET

so i was talking about a new book / dvd project with the super homegirl and working on a hip hop feminism entry for the encyclopedia of sex & gender (due in a few days that will be published on Macmillan in 2007). we were poking around the internet and found this "FOR THE FELLAS" on


so B-GIRLS, huh? it's a BET online section called FOR MEN.


B-Girls as in:
big booty girls?
bikini booty girls?
bootylicious girls?

"i don't think it stands for breathtaking" says MJ, "or beautiful, unfortunately and definitely not beloved". OH BET. how about beautiful? brilliant? brazen? bright?

is this all that BET Girls stand for?


there is a link on the comments page to "Report post as offensive". How about we report the whole site, station, and genre of eye candy / dimepiece / skin to be deaded or at least put on a pay cable channel where it belongs?

In the Minnesota Women's Press Miranda Jane writes "To be a B-Girl" --> "Originally, B-Girl meant break girl or Brox girl. Breaking is the generic term for what is formally considered B-Boying or B-Girling by hip-hop purists, used to describe the style of dance stemming from hip-hop culture which emerged in the South Bronx during the early 1970s. Toay, the term B-Girl has grown to encompass women who are directly involved with or heavily impacted by hip-hop culture."

Click the image to watch a short VIDEO:

don't let BET (mis)inform and (mis)educate you, these are real B-GIRLS!:
Asia One
Break Girl
We B*Girlz (Martha Cooper book)
and so many more...

---> RESOURCES on Women in Hip Hop HERE


July 10, 2006

Links (of my emotions)

I'm really happy to read this - NO MORE UNCUT!

I'm really excited to see this - Heart of the Game
except review says: Documentaries should ask questions, explore subjects and universalize the story. "Heart of the Game" does none of these; it's too much game, not enough heart.
Still, I think it will be a great teachable moment.
May be good for this class I'm teaching in the Fall.

I'm really intrigued about this - short film made of just STILLS


I'm doubtful about this - Now that Lil Kim is Free Will She Fight For Other Prisoners?

I'm trying to feel content reminiscing about timing, listening to-
"Say Yes" by Floetry

I'm energized listening to this - YerbaBuena


I'm happy to be finally working on my entries for the ladies crew, check us out:

When Old Becomes New

So I receive an email from miss Mona from the Hip Hop Association inviting me to screen at the Black Filmmaker Magazine Film Festival. She asked for press links and stills and all the things I should have organized and easily accessible but for some reason I've been lost for the last couple months years. So I grabbed a couple links: uri=/journals/the_velvet_light_trap/v053/53.1editors03.pdf

and even found a video clip that I never saw before. How do I not find these little clips until like a year later?

Lookie here:

July 06, 2006

Call For Papers (on Hip Hop)

Call for Papers: Hip Hop and the Academy
Winter 2006: Popular Culture in the Academy: A Home for Hip Hop?
Deadline October 1, 2006

In an effort to engage teenagers in their learning, teachers are increasingly turning to popular culture for alternative texts and topics. Should educators use popular culture and hip hop as teaching tools? How do you feel when students are the experts? What contemporary texts have worked best with your students? How do you handle lyrics and lines that push at the boundary of school-appropriate material? How can we help students take a critical stance towards media images and advertising campaigns? California English is interested in publishing stories from your classroom describing how popular culture can be used as a springboard for deep and authentic learning.

Please send all submissions to California English editor, Carol Jago. Articles should be limited to 2,500 words. Please submit manuscripts via email to

+ + +

California State University in Northridge and University at Albany invite your papers concerning "Feminism, Race, Transnationalism & HipHop", they "especially invite submissions that highlight global and transnational perspectives on women, hip-hop from around the globe, and other forms of popular music." Deadline is Auggust 5th, see below for details.

Special Issue of Meridians
Women, Hip-Hop, and Popular Music

For a proposed special issue of Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism on the subject "Women, Hip-Hop, and Popular Music," we invite critical essays, creative work, and interviews or conversations with music artists/practitioners from a variety of disciplines, practices, and cultural scenes. Music may be broadly defined to include spoken word, dub poetry, DJs, low- and high-tech innovations, etc. We especially invite submissions that highlight global and transnational perspectives on women, hip-hop from around the globe, and other forms of popular music. We also invite submissions that highlight music from the past and other historical issues that shed light on contemporary music scenes. High priority will be given to submissions that utilize critical race feminist analyses.

Subjects covered may include but are not limited to the following:
- popular music and feminist consciousness (performers, political activists, lyricists, producers, compilers of music CD/albums, club and radio DJs, etc. who engage in “feminist? and social justice issues).
- marginal pop music personas (e.g. Enya, Zap Mama, Sade, Me’shell Ndegeocello, Ani Difranco, Björk).
- historical recoveries and research of women’s popular music in the past.
- marginalization of women musicians (including vocalists and rappers) in music industries and/or academic studies.
- representations of women in popular music, the media, public performances, etc.
- music at the movies (marketing of movie soundtracks, silent movie era, movie portrayals of music artists, Bollywood playback singers and item girls, etc.).
- local artists, global markets, world music scenes (cross-cultural efforts by women music artists to increase their profiles, cultural appropriations, and/or globalizing trends).
- appropriation of women’s music (male and/or mainstream takeover of female music expressions).
- hip-hop, popular music, and the prison or military industrial complex.
- teaching hip-hop and popular music in the feminist classroom.

Essays should not exceed 9,000 words or 35 pages, including all endnotes and references (typed and double-spaced, using Chicago style); abstracts should be 150 words.
Please send email attachments in Word format

R. Dianne Bartlow
California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8251
Phone: (818)677-2097

Janell Hobson
University at Albany, SUNY
1400 Washington Avenue, SS 341
Albany, NY 12222
Phone: (518) 442-5575;

July 05, 2006

Lots of B-Girl Be (2006) Press Links

medusa performs at first ave

Star Tribune - 5 Ways the Ladies Can Save Hip Hop

1. Lose the bling, the Cristal, the Sean Jean, etc.
2. Bring back the poetry and passion.
3. Bring back the politics, too.
3. A little singing would be nice.
4. Do the Kanye.
5. Put the guys in the tight booty shorts and G-strings, with water splashing on them and submissiveness written all across their face.
(i count six, but that's all good)

Insight News - Female Hip-Hop Dancers CONVERGE on Minneapolis

City Pages - Ladies Nite and Roxanne Shante

Minnesota Public Radio - The Backstory on a B-Girl

Minnesota Women's Press - Dancin' to the b-girl beat

Back to Business

It's been a wonderful break but now it's back to work - writing papers for incompletes, writing/revising papers for exams, editing and building webpages.


- Got another WoSt faculty member blogging and built her some personal web pages. Go Richa!

- B-Girl Be

I didn't do too much. Spoke on a panel on hip hop scholarship with Dr. Roxanne Shante. She was definitely the highlight of the weekend for me personally.


Spent much of the weekend listening to her speak (my favorite quote on rap videos/tv shows/movies: It's not How I'm Livin', it's how I'm lyin'!, and just hanging out with her and her beautiful daughter. My Tiana and her Tajai even busted a rap at the open mic while Roxanne and I were on a panel. Of course while she was saying: my kids don't do hip hop. Yah right, hip hop moms raise b-girl babies.

Beautiful ladies, lots of energy, and just good vibes this weekend. I only filmed Tiana painting. Usry handled the filming and the flicking and promises me a link to all his photos soon.


Tiana's highlights were playing and painting, of course:

Medusa, Asia, Pam, Des, and Maria Isa put on a phenomenal show.

April 26, 2006

Check This: The Vinyl Ain't Final: Hip Hop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture

I just got word that my contributor copy of THE VINYL AIN'T FINAL Hip Hop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture is en route!


The anthology is edited by Dipannita Basu and Sidney Lemelle.

This is the publisher's description: In the preface of The Vinyl Aint Final, Robin Kelley exclaims Hip Hop is Dead! Long Live Hip Hop, and the rest of the contributors in this edited volume respond by providing critical perspectives that bridge the gap between American-orientated hip hop and its global reach.

From the front lines of hip hop culture and music in the USA, Britain, France, Japan, Germany, Hawaii, Tanzania, Cuba, Samoa and South Africa, academics, poets, practitioners, journalists, and political commentators explore hip hop -- both as a culture and as a commodity. From the political economy of the South African music industry to the cultural resistance forged by Afro-Asian hip hop, this potent mix of contributors provides a unique critical insight into the implications of hip hop globally and locally. Indispensable for fans of hip hop culture and music, this book will also appeal to anyone interested in cultural production, cultural politics and the implications of the huge variety of forms hip hop encompasses.

The Table of Contents:
Foreword by Robin D.G. Kelley

Introduction by Dipannita Basu and Sidney Lemelle


1. For the People, TRIBUTE, and REDBONE. by Umar Bin Hassan

2. A Rap Thing, On Rapping Rap. and For Mario: Homeland and Hip Hop, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

3. Hip Hop: As a Culture and Generation by Dipannita Basu

4. Nobody Knows My Name and an interview with the Director Rachel Raimist: A Female Hip Hop Film Maker by Dipannita Basu and Laura Harris

5. From Azeem to Zion-I: The Evolution of Global Consciousness in Bay Area Hip Hop by Eric K. Arnold

6. Head Rush: Hip Hop and a Hawaiian Nation On the Rise. by Adria L. Imada

7. War At 33 1/3: Culture and Politics Across the Afro-Asian Atlantic. by Sohail Daulatzai


8. Deathening Silence: The Terms of (Non) Political Commentary Rap by John Hutnyk

9. 'Keeping it Real in a Different Hood: African-Americanization and Hip Hop in Germany by Tim Brown

10. Africa on Their Mind: Rap, Blackness and Citizenship in France by Veronique Helenon

11. Cuban Hip Hop: Underground Revolution by Annelise Wunderlich

12. Between Our Islands We Dance: Hip Hop and the Samoan Diaspora by April K. Henderson

13. Negotiating Ethnicity and Authenticity in Tokyos Club Harlem by Rhiannon Fink

14. Globalization and Gangster Rap: Hip Hop in the Post Apartheid City by Zine Magubane

15. 'Ni Wapi Tunakwenda: Hip Hop Culture and The Children of Arusha by Sidney J.Lemelle


About the Contributors


February 10, 2006

Today's Handout


Today I'll be speaking in this course - ENGL 3180 Contemporary Literatures and Cultures

Here's today's handout: hip hop terms that I wrote for women from this book.

November 07, 2005

What do u think?

"In the twenty-plus years of hip hop history on record, a period that has produced black vocalists Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston, Anita Baker, Tracy Chapman, Mary J. Blige, and Erykah Badu, there are no women who have contributed profoundly to raps artistic growth. Aside from Latifah and Salt-N-Pepa, MC Lyte has recorded for over a decade and Yo-Yo has garnered some respect. (Missy Misdemeanor Elliot, a rapper, singer, and writer from Virginia, has emerged in the late 90s as the multifaceted female in the form and is becoming a seminal creative force). Yet I would argue that if none of these female artists had ever made a record, hip hops development would have been no different." NELSON GEORGE

tell him what you think about that -

October 23, 2005

ask and she shall receive

so a few hours ago i ask for someone to give me a beat and my call is answered. i received a copy of La Bruja's Brujalicious. indeed, it is both deliciosa and the classic bruja that i've loved over the years. this sista is an amazing talent - the rap, the song, the shows, the onscreen skills. i have to make a narrative film just to cast her and show the world.

boricuas and beats, something to ride with (and for)


August 10, 2005

Calling All Female DJs & Mocha Works Marketing




We want to hear your mixing and scratching ability, quality of song selection and if you know how to get the crowd rocking!

Send us your material or contact info to be considered:
Mocha Works Marketing
c/o AMP, Inc.
Po Box 340846
Rochdale Village, NY 11434

or e-mail


August 06, 2005

Merger of the Minds (and some of my favorite ladies)

Subject: The Hip-Hop Association Acquires VERBALISMS Magazine
For Immediate Release:

August 1, 2005

The Hip-Hop Association Acquires VERBALISMS Magazine
Non-Profit to Add Bourgeoning Property to It's Expanding Media Initiative



New York, NY The Hip-Hop Association (H2A) has acquired VERBALISMS Magazine, the quarterly glossy print publication dedicated to women in Hip-Hop culture. The magazine acquisition, finalized in July of this year, was a first for H2A says Rolando Brown, Director of Brand Development. "With VERBALISMS we've gained an additional opportunity to continue working directly with a group of our most important community members. It's with great pleasure that we support bringing balance to the culture so that we may successfully create positive ways to utilize its power."

Over the last three years H2A has been responsible for a series of community building, media, and education initiatives, including producing the internationally renowned H2O [Hip-Hop Odyssey] International Film Festival and the highly successful H2Ed [Hip-Hop Education] Summit. In 2004 alone both events garnered the support of over 5,000 Hip-Hop community members, including 144 varied educational organizations, and over 100 video/filmmakers.

VERBALISMS began as a monthly e-zine in 2002 and made its print debut in spring 2005 subsequent to an overwhelming international online readership. The magazine will move its offices from Chicago, IL to New York City, while its editor-in-chief and founder, Raquel Wilson, joins H2A as Director of Marketing and Retail Merchandising.

"What H2A does to redirect Hip-Hop is in direct correlation to VERBALISMS' mission, so moving under the umbrella of the Hip-Hop Association was a natural partnership, " says Wilson.

The online edition of VERBALISMS will continue to be updated monthly while a new print edition is being readied for spring 2006.

As the only magazine about women in Hip-Hop, VERBALISMS provides an open avenue for conversations and debates on how women impact and are affected by the politics, revolutions and lifestyles of the culture. Each issue explores and unites the ideas and sources that shape the mainstream and underground movements of Hip-Hop. VERBALISMS is an irreverent, fresh perspective not found in any other lifestyle, culture or music magazine. For more information about VERBALISMS, please visit the website at

About the Hip-Hop Association (H2A)
Founded in March 2002, the Hip-Hop Association (H2A) was formed to facilitate, foster, and preserve Hip-Hop culture. Its mission is to use the culture as a tool to encourage critical thinking, social change and unity, while empowering communities through media, educational, and community building initiatives. For more information about H2A, please visit their website at

Maranda Moses
Tonic Media
Montreal, Quebec
t. (514) 481-1689

+ + +

Subject: Watch Me Grow: VERBALISMS Seeks Young Women for Feature

VERBALISMS Magazine is looking for young, female community builders, entrepreneurs and social activists changing history in the U.S. and abroad.

If you know a young lady, under the age of 18, who stands out in your community, then please send a short email telling us about her.

Please forward info to

August 05, 2005

Get We B*Girlz


Miss Rosen Editions and powerHouse Books are pleased to announce
an exclusive offer to b-girlz around the world:

a 20% discount off the purchase of We B*Girlz,
signed by photographer Martha Cooper
(offer good through October 31, 2005).

Please visit for more information.

July 25, 2005

nobody on DVD


for years now many people have watched nobody knows my name . i decided years ago to distribute the film educationally through women make movies . the tape has sold to many, many colleges across the country and the world. the film has been written about in many places and i continue to do interviews on radio, online, and in print about it. i get so many emails every week (still), asking to buy the film on DVD. recently a japanese DVD distributor that distributes freestyle has offered me a contract. i want to accept it. i realized my contract with women make movies is up in sept. and it's a ripe time to do a US release. i've been in contact with a couple distributors. so in preparing for this next step, im gathering and editing. please help me find artists who want to get their work out there.

for the updated DVD release i am SEEKING:

- INSTRUMENTALS for the film (preferably by women producers, but any FREE hip hop beats will be lovely)

- SONGS by women for the film (again, anything DONATED, any artist interested in getting their music out there strictly for the promo)

- SHORT FILMS, MUSIC VIDEOS, FEMALE BATTLE FOOTAGE / BONUS FEATURES for the DVD (again, anything DONATED, any artists/aspiring filmmaker interested in getting their work out there strictly for the promo)

- T-LOVE's CONTACT (see her info below) please, please, please help me find her. i need to get photos, video and just a general "what is she up to now" piece for the new updated film ending.

Email me for more info and mailing address to send work to.

? ? ?

what do you think? should i update the endings (that's why i need to find T-Love, to figure out where in the world she is now) and release on DVD? please let me know what u think. ideas u have. what you'd like to see on the DVD. artists that i should be talking to, to get their music, beats, videos or short films on the DVD.

? ? ?


b. Tauna Taylor-Mendoza, California, USA. Long-serving female rapper T-Love made her name on the Los Angeles underground scene during the 90s, although lack of recognition led her to relocate to England when she came to record her debut album. T-Love grew up in South Central, Los Angeles, and began rapping while she was still at school. She signed an abortive recording contract in the mid-90s as part of Urban Prop, a duo formed with fellow rapper Suggah B, and during this period also performed with the Heavyweights crew. Her infatuation with hip-hop led to paid employment as a journalist, promoter and label boss, and she resumed her performing career in 1998 with the release of her debut EP, the nine-track Return Of The B-Girl. Issued on her own Pickininny label, the EP and most notably the wickedly biting track "Wanna-Beez" made some noise on the Los Angeles underground scene but failed to promote T-Love to the wider market. The rapper relocated to London, England at the turn of the century, and set about writing and recording material for her debut album. Long Way Back, a resolutely old school collection that harked back to the soul and jazz-based production sound of the Native Tongues Posse artists of the late 80s, was released through the Astralwerks label in 2003.

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.

Thursday, April 28, 2005 12:01 a.m.

On April9 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 clich 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

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.


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, 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, 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 ofwe 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.


1. We condemn David Mays and Benzinos response to the suit. The notion that Osorios sexual history (real or imagined) has any bearing on whether or not her claims are legitimate is ludicrous. Michelle Joyce and Kim Osorios 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 Shes promiscuous, so she couldnt 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 Benzinos 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.


The Undersigned

April 20, 2005


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 musics 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 womens 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


Gwendolyn Pough is an Associate Professor of Womens 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. Durhams 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 Americas 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 -

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

Gwendolyn D. Pough
Womens Studies Program
Syracuse University
208 Bowne Hall
Syracuse, New York 13244

March 27, 2005

another B-Girl event!

I can't find a website for this but I've heard of some of these b-girls. After the peer pressure to join myspace [mj, found this flyer on there], I'm starting to see the value in it.


March 25, 2005

female flavor - @ the point, bx

FEMALE FLAVOR at The Point, The Bronx


2ND ANNUAL WOMEN IN HIP HOP FEMALE FLAVOR CONFERENCE (BRONX) 1 pm - 9 pm @ The Point 940 Garrison Avenue Bronx, NY 10474.

Session 1 Concurrent Workshops: 1 pm -3:30pm Creative Writing & Filmmaking with Chica Luna's Sofia Quintero & Elisha Miranda. Honoring Your Creative Voice with Toni Blackman. Snap, Pop & Lock with Snapshot & Wanda of Tru Essencia.

Session 2
Workshop from 4 - 5:30 pm: Minding Your Business: How to Make Your Art Your Career with Marla Teyolia (Luminating Works). 5:30-6:30 pm Pat's Kitchen Dinner Party in honor of Pebblee Poo, with an introduction by Henry Chalfant; unveiling of Pebblee Poo Installation. 7-8:30pm Open Call Female Flavor Talent Showcase, hosted by La Bruja! To attend a workshop, dinner party or to perform in the talent show: register now at, 718.542.4139x28. The dinner and Talent Showcase welcomes an audience of all genders and backgrounds.

Workshops are for females only and no artistic experience is necessary. Attendance: $15 for 2 Workshop Sessions/$5 donation for Talent Showcase (no one will be turned away for lack of fees). Info courtesy of Angelika Peacock and Patricia Wang.

Images by MARTHA COOPER from last year:

SHOUTS to: my lil bro eli for connecting me with vivian wen li who sent me the footage of these ladies painting that will be in the video installation at B-Girl Be , opening April 22nd at .



March 24, 2005

ladies droppin' science

FEMALE HIP-HOP! these ladies in germany are really putting it down!

they put together this amazing pdf. called "droppin' science" go to their site and download it!


March 04, 2005

Take Back The Music!

Hip-hop Portrayal of Women Protested
Movement grows into national 'Take Back the Music' campaign

By Rose Arce
Thursday, March 3, 2005 Posted: 10:51 PM EST (0351 GMT)

Editor's Note: The following report includes graphic language that some readers may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.

(CNN) -- The hip-hopping street party was in full swing, college kids talking, laughing and listening to the music.
Asha Jennings, 21, wasn't joining in. She and her girlfriends were confronting college party-goers in Atlanta, Georgia, challenging them about what they say is a nasty cultural shift, the transformation of hip-hop from a musical forum into a misogynic rant.

Jennings and her group pushed men -- and women -- at the party to think about how their support of the hip-hop industry perpetuated images that hurt the black community.

"I want people to start thinking critically about how these images affect black women today," said Jennings, a Spelman College alumnae and now a law student in New York.

"We're telling people [black women] are bitches and hos and sluts and not worthy of respect," she said. "And that's exactly how society is treating us."

It all began last April when Jennings organized a cancer fund-raiser at Spelman, where Jennings was a senior at the time, and invited hip-hop artist Nelly, whose sister has leukemia. Someone pointed out his video "Tip Drill" and Jennings was upset. Here are some of the lyrics:
"I said it must be ya ass cause it ain't ya face I need a tip drill." A "tip drill" is an unattractive woman who has sex for money.
"Now mama girl you gotta friend that don't mind joinin' in
Now baby girl bring it ova let me spit my pimp juice."
"You lookin' good in them shorts but they look better on the floo'."

Jennings and other Spelman co-eds threatened to protest the event, and Nelly cancelled. The movement grew, and suddenly Jennings and her friends found themselves part of a national campaign called "Take Back the Music" -- sponsored by, and featured in the pages of, Essence magazine.

Essence magazine is partially owned by Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.

The movement has sponsored two town-hall forums and had another planned for New York in March. It was also the topic of a National Public Radio program, and an ongoing column by Stanley Crouch, who writes for the New York Daily News.

The image created by these kinds of lyrics is an image of women that "tends to be objectified, degrading, very stripper-like. And it's not that that is wrong, but it becomes wrong when there's no other quality or image that we have to choose from," said Michaela Angela Davis, the fashion and beauty editor of Essence.

The problem, said Davis, is that the image of the black woman portrayed in many hip-hop videos has become the pervasive image of black women. And, according to Essence research, the main consumers of hip-hop are young, affluent, white men. She fears that society as a whole is getting a "sick" image of what black women are all about.

"That sickness is becoming the psyche of young women. Who they are in this culture, where they fit, what their value is, or their lack of value, because if this is the only image that they see of themselves in a pseudo-glamorous way, meaning if they look at a fashion magazine there's no girl that looks like 'Tamico on the block' [an average black girl], but in the videos there is," she said. "But they see them in this one objectified way and it's hurting them."

On Nelly's video, men throw cash at women's crotches and, in one scene, a man swipes his credit card through a woman's buttocks.

Nelly's representative did not return CNN's phone calls, but in comments made to Essence in the past about Jenning's movement, he said: "I respect women, and I'm not a misogynist. I'm an artist. Hip-hop videos are art and entertainment. Videos tell stories; some are violent, some are sexy, some are fun, some are serious. As for how women are shown in the videos, I don't have a problem with it because it is entertainment...

"No one knows what a particular woman's situation is, what her goals are. Being in that video may help her further those goals. Several women who have been in my videos have gone on to do TV appearances and movies. No one can dictate other people's choices and situations."

At an Essence-sponsored forum at Spelman in February, industry executives were asked why this has become hip-hop's female side. Bryan Leach of TVT Record and Michael Llewellyn of Black Entertainment network walked into a hornets' nest, where hundreds of young women accused them of making money by deriding them.

"Again at the end of the day those that tune in on to our network ... are doing so by choice. If there is something that you see that you don't want to see, simply don't watch," Llewellyn told the women. "I am not a gardener, but I am not leading a crusade myself against Home and Garden simply because I am not a gardener. Simply, I just don't garden."

Both of the executives acknowledged that the bottom line is business and that hip-hop is making fast, big money. But many of the women said they aren't after censorship -- they're after diversity. They want to see different images of women.

"I have to sit in front of these young men and women everyday who buy these CD's, who don't look at me as competent, as good as them," said Jennings. "They look at me like a tip drill, so I have to stand up and over-exert myself to prove myself, and that's not fair."

The young women also say they won't be silenced by their black male peers, many of whom accuse them of just helping out a culture that derides black men.

When Jennings and her friends shot back, one young black student from Morehouse College blamed it on the women who agree to appear in the videos, commenting: "If you have females constantly perpetuating the images that they talk about in those songs you just can't sit here and get mad at the men, you know what I'm saying."

But the women pressed on. If hip-hop is to form the image of black women in popular culture, these women insist they'll have a say in it.

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.