Is it time for a mass metamorphosis of female artists in hip-hop? Women are emerging from cultural cocoons of what has been a largely male-dominated art form. And it rocks!
I’d like to share a quote from Neroli Devaney’s awesome article Why We Should Be Listening to the Female Voices of Hip Hop (2016):
“There is little more refreshing to me as a woman in the United States than seeing another woman stand up, take control, get angry, and rile up a crowd all while being sexy as hell.”
That is where I come in, to share a little insight, experience and mostly my opinion. I wanted to spotlight specifically, women in hip-hop, I feel female artists in hip-hop have extra added challenges. This is not my area of focus musically but women are.
I believe how we act and are treated in life is a direct reflection of what goes out from us, whether conscious or not.
We set examples for our audience on what we stand for or what we believe by the simplest things.
What we wear, say, our attitude, all this portrays something about us to everyone else.
For example: you’re a woman MC/rapper and you have something you want to share plus you can rhyme like a mad woman. But, you feel stuck in a competitive game with the guys so there’s this pressure to act and dress like them.
Is this truly who you (we) are? Did you have a say in how the flow will go, or the overall vibe you want to portray? I do not believe every female artist does.
The pressure to be a part of the group, the crew, or the pack often does not support honest self-expression but is an insular male trend.
We need more female hip-hop creators to redress this imbalance and help create the next phase of hip-hop going forward.
One might argue that women in hip-hop aren’t stuck with wearing camo, chains, baseball hats or pink dreads, and that’s simply the culture. Must they also accept misogynistic male attitudes toward women because that’s the culture?
Of course not, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of negative energy pushing female hip-hop artists to “conform.” And yes, the same is also true in other music genres. The Music Industry is still largely male-dominated, but in hip-hop the ratio of male to female artists is possibly the most skewed toward men.
There’s nothing horribly wrong with any of the above, except the obvious… stifling of artistic self-expression.
We need more female hip-hop creators to help shape the next phase of hip-hop
Hip-hop is such an incredible art form, it has influenced mainstream culture in so many positive ways. And right now, it’d be easy to wag fingers at the hip-hop artists creating negative energy toward women and hold that up as an example of the negative influence of the art.
But that’s just it, art isn’t always positive, or right, or just. It is art.
So, champion the art and artists that are consistent with your values! Vote with your pocketbook. Support those who represent, with their words and deeds, a positive attitude toward women and people in general. Support them with your money, support them with your attention, support them with your love.
If you’re an artist, hip-hop or otherwise, what if you decide to break the mold and do what is uncommon, wear your own expression, be something only you can be… Uniquely you.
As an entertainer, artist, songwriter, singer musician these are things I ask myself and sometimes I too feel the pressure to give into what I think others might want from me. What often helps me is going inward. I ask myself questions like, “who am I and what do I want to share as an artist/storyteller,” daily. What do I want people to know about me, what do I have to say, and mostly what do I leave people with?
Through questions like those above you find yourself. You find your brand, if you will. You are now the explorer and the path-maker, the one who leads the way. People will be hypnotized and inspired by your audacity and courage when you let go and are uniquely you!
To be bold and yourself is where you find the heart and the truth about who you are.That is what, in truth, real artists do. They don’t follow the pack or give in to the pressure to be like anyone else. What trail blazers do is grab hold of who they are, decide what that looks like, then share and express it to the world. This is my truth.
As women (humans!) let’s stop worrying about what other people say and being what others always expect us to be.
For most artists, being fake or unauthentic will not lead to success or fame, and certainly it doesn’t lead to authentic self-expression… it leads to pain. Create your own themes of life! Live into your art, lean into you! Design it and own it, even if the pack says no. Especially when the pack says no!
If you’re a hip-hop fan, support the female artists out there that are bringing the fire! Support the artists that are real about women. Choose who and what your attention and your money promotes!
Here’s a short list of some awesome women artists, producers, beatmakers, and entrepreneurs in hip-hop .
Glenda Benevides – mirrorspeaksthetruth.com. 11-11-18