Women are the new Hip Hop

It was fitting that the South Bronx, the birth home of Hip Hop, was the host site for Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen Vol. 3: Back to Our Roots–Environmental Justice, Education Equity, at the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture. Thank God for Twitter. If not, for the up to date, news breaking, event posting phenomenon, I would have never known about the event. Of course, once I had a taste of it I was upset and embarrassed that I missed the first two events.

It was an amazing day of activity and performances on the first brisk and sunny afternoon in March. It would have almost been ordinary, it was just an incredible group of women rappers and break dancers. But, it was more than that!!! The exterior of the auditorium hosted political, cultural and art based vendors, offering everything from books, CD’s and clothes to health screenings, condoms and free HIV tests. Inside the auditorium was a huge audience of mostly youth of color, largely young women. Sprinkled throughout the women were a few young men and some seniors (30 to 40+), like myself. It was empowering to see not only young women expressing themselves in a such a creative and artistic manner but with so much conviction.

The day was filled with wonderful performances by local artists and invited guests from as far as California. Poets, singers, b-girls, rappers and breakdancers filled the stage. Each addressing important topics related to their communities and experiences such as rape, domestic violence, sexism and racism as well as concerns related to street and police violence. Some performances were done in both English and Spanish. Latinas were definitely representing in all forms of performances as well as Black and Asian women. In between the performances were slides displaying graffiti produced by young women of color and during the intermission youth produced media focused on environmental racism, gentrification and a poor education system.

It was one of the most empowering and uplifting thing I participated in all year.

As the issue of women in hip hop has been picking up with the introduction of Nicki Minaj and the disappearances of hardcore women rappers such as Mc Lyte, Queen Lattifah and Bahamadia and even some of the more commercial artists such as Eve, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown and Trinia. Its obvious that the world of hip hop has been missing some of its most influential as well as controversial members. There has certainly been a hole that needs to be filled especially by young women who rip it without tearing each other down or try to out buy the other with Prada and Gucci that they rarely afford to have. Even the academia is getting into the discussion on women in hip hop. Check out the link to Black Women in Hip Hop: Limitation or Liberation? a presentation given by San Francisco State Professor, Dr. Dawn-Elissa Fischer


The discussion of women and rap needs to continue and to make sure you don’t sleep on any upcoming events check out the website for Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen. Learn what they do and how they do it. Slowly, hip hop is getting back to its roots, there is an underground swelling of independent and grassroots artists that are flourishing on the internet and through social media networks. There will be an end to the era of wanna be thugs, fake drug dealers and the boasting of money, cash and women. Then we can focus on the skills ….. http://www.myspace.com/hiphopkitchen



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