Tag Archives: hip-hop feminism

Class Notes: The Black Feminist Politics Of Pleasure

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 3.03.42 PMHey Racializens!

I am still at Stanford (and will be until June.) But I am bringing back an old tradition of doing class notes on some of these ideas.


Joan Morgan, hip-hop feminism pioneer, has been moving her work into conversations around pleasure and sexual politics. Jeff Chang, hip-hopper-about-town and the head of Stanford’s Institue for Diversity in the Arts, asked Joan if she’d like the be the artist in residence for WinterQuarter. Joan agreed and then developed a class called “The Pleasure Principle: A Post-Hip Hop Search for a Black Feminist Politics of Pleasure.”

The Course

“The Pleasure Principle: A Post-Hip Hop Search for a Black Feminist Politics of Power” (CSRE127B) will explore the various articulations of a politics of pleasure in black feminist thought. We will examine classic black feminist texts on respectability politics, the erotic, hip-hop feminism, and dancehall culture, geared toward helping students develop a critical lens for interrogating depictions of black female sexuality and articulations of pleasure in popular culture. Examples include “The Cosby Show,” “Sex in the City,” “Girlfriends,” “Basketball Wives,” “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” “Pariah,” as well as the works of Beyonce, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Tanya Stephens, and Lady Saw. Continue reading

If You Want to Change Society, Close Your Legs

by Guest Contributor M. Dot, originally published at Model Minority

Yes. David Banner said it.

Talk about colored girls, homicide and patriarchy.

You would think that Capitalism, the fall of the stock market and the price of rice were controlled by who we had sex with.

What if a white man sat on that stage and said that?


David goes on to say that “Most of these men sell dope because they want to impress you”. So wait, if we stop having sex with D-boys then they are going to get jobs at Mc Donalds?

I think we need more labor and gender theory. Continue reading

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Homicide When the Patriarchy is Enough

by Guest Contributor M. Dot, originally published at Model Minority

These days and times are trife for Black women. You will rarely hear me speak from the stance of victim-hood, as I try my hardest to keep agency on mines.

My rationale is that as long as you are reactionary, someone else will always be setting your agenda and you will not gain any sustainable traction.

However the skin issues, sexual access issues have been on my bird lately.

The sexual access issues arose at the DJ Spinna Party on Saturday. I was standing with Filthy near the bar debating how long it is going to take Spinna to play Shook Ones or Who Got the Props. There were two clusters of white women there. In each group there was one women wearing a veil. They were toasted. Light-weight Girls Gone Wild toasted.

For the past six or seven years, New York City clubs have been making extra cake by throwing bachelor/ette parties earlier in the evening from 8-11pm with the regular party running from 11-3am. However there tends to be carry over, which is what I think happened Saturday. My homie K-boogie confirmed this later that night as she went to a bachelor party at the same spot last week.

So, I am standing there, minding my own business and a woman walks by me to order a drink. She apparently was a bachelor/ette party attendee, stripper or both. Either way she was lit, blond, and hootered out.

The first time she passed me she complemented my earrings.

(My earing game is mean.)

Second time she rubbed past me.

The third time, I was leaning over talking to Filth, so his ear was toward me, and she kissed me near my other ear. Continue reading

Dysfunctional Ping Pong

by Guest Contributor M. Dot, originally published at Model Minority

I like Judd Apatow. In fact, I think it was a year ago that I wrote about how he convinced me that I should do stand up.

I have written about him here, here and here. I thought about this while reading Brandon Soderberg’s post on how Judd doesn’t like Hip Hop.

On one level, I enjoyed the fact that Soderberg’s post was analyzing how hip hop was being used as a vehicle to allow Apatow’s largely white characters express their vileness at the expense of hip hop.

On another level the post was incredibly misogynistic. I will deal with the two issues separately.

Soderberg’s general thesis is the Apatow uses hip hop as a vehicle to allow the characters to express the most vile things about society which implies that this is what hip hop represents in our culture. He cites a Apatow’s use of hip hop in “Walk Hard” and “Knocked Up” and “40 Year Old Virgin” as evidence. Full disclosure, I haven’t seen “Walk Hard”. He writes,

Recall the intro to ‘Knocked-Up’ which uses Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s classic ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ (Armond White: “white boys clowning to Old Dirty Bastard’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”) with emphasis on Dirty’s “Ooh baby I like it raw” hook to make it really obvious and funny what this movie’s already going to be about. Think of the constant hip-hop slang used by everyone but Steve Carrell’s character in ‘The 40 Year-Old Virgin’ and how it’s essentially used to represent just how vulgar and crass everyone’s become and how stupidwhite people are for adopting any part of this culture.

He also goes on to write that,

In the Apatow and company universe, which is one that despite all the blowjob and weed jokes is incredibly conservative- dumb critics say this is why his movies “have heart”- rap music and culture are one of the biggest signifiers of how low things have sunk and how distant people are from their “real” emotions: Rap as ruiner of everything.

I think that the situation is a bit more complicated than that.

I would argue that the vileness ( hyper violent masculinity, hypersexuality) in hip hop started off in mainstream society, was adopted by minorities and is reflected in hip hop. Furthermore, it is being used by Apatow via the characters in his movies to express dysfunction, albeit flippantly.

There is a tendency to separate the pathology of the mainstream from the pathology from the hood, however, at the end of the day they will always be connected.

It is one big dysfunctional ping pong game.

Now for the misogyny in Soderberg’s piece. The misogyny is there period point blank and it sat there glaring at me. In the following excerpt, Soderberg intended on describing how hip hop is used as story support for a scene, and that unlike country music, it isn’t presented with empathy. He writes,

Leslie Mann’s bar-slut in ‘Virgin’ is speeding home, too drunk to drive, blaring and singing along to Missy Elliot’s ‘Get Ur Freak On’, which is sort of real-drunk white sluts love Missy Elliott- but it’s sort of the icing on the cake for why this girl’s so terrible. It’s not presented with any of the sympathy given to a whiny loser who collects action figures, rides a bike, and hasn’t ever dropped his dick in a pussy.

While his intentions were to point out the discrepancy between Apatow’s treatment of hip hop versus country I couldn’t help but notice that the term slut was used not just once but twice
in the same sentence. Was that necessary? Was he trying to be provocative?

The second thing that stood out to me in that paragraph was the phrase “and hasn’t ever dropped a dick in a pussy”.

What? P*ssy’s aren’t sitting around like ashtrays waiting to receive a deposit. A p*ssy isn’t a garbage can, basketball hoop or an ATM machine waiting for a deposit. P*ssy’s are attached to people.

These people are women.

(All bold emphasis M. Dot’s.)

M.dot is a blogger based in Brooklyn and the Bay Area, she can be reached at m.dotwrites@gmail.com

Quoted: Kimala Price on Hip-Hop Feminism and Choice

Excerpted from Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology, “Hip-Hop Feminism at the Political Crossroads: Organizing for Reproductive Justice and Beyond”

During discussions with other women of color about reproductive rights, sometimes I am confronted by a sista who insists that women of color have not been actively involved in the contemporary women’s movement or the reproductive rights movement, much less have been leaders in these movements. That is simply not true. Although the media may have promoted a select group of prominent white women as the faces of American feminism and reproductive rights, African American, Latina, Asian American and Native American women have a long history of being tireless advocates for abortion and reproductive freedom. It is a little known and under-documented history.

In 1969, for instance, flamboyant lawyer and activist Florynce “Flo” Kennedy was part of a team of lawyers retained by the Women’s Health Collective and 350 female plaintiffs to repeal New York State’s abortion law. That court case was a precursor to the 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the United States. Many of the earlier black feminist organizations, such as the National Black Feminist Organization and the Third World Women’s Alliance, advocated for abortion and reproductive rights. The late Shirley Chisholm was a strong advocate for abortion rights and was an early president of NARAL (then called the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America.) She argued,

    To label family planning and legal abortion programs as ‘genocide’ is male rhetoric for male ears. It falls flat to female listeners, and to thoughtful male ones. Women know, and do so many men, that two or three children who are wanted, prepared for, reared among love and stability, and educated to the limit of their ability will mean more for the future of the black and brown races from which they come than any number of neglected, hungry, ill-housed, and ill-clothed youngsters. Pride in one’s race, as well as simple humanity, supports this view. (Chisholm 1995, p.391)

Continue reading

Hip Hop & Patriarchy: My Struggle with Mobb Deep

by Guest Contributor M.Dot

It’s challenging to criticize hip hop publicly.

My rationale is that Hip Hop gets hammered by the popular media, so why should I contribute further to it?

When given more thought, I see this as a poor reason to avoid criticizing anything. As an athlete I know criticism is feedback and nothing is improved without feedback. Professor evaluations are feedback. Customer service evaluations are feedback. Feedback is in many ways the oil that greases the improvement machine.

However, my reluctance to criticize may also be related to the tendency within the African American community to avoid airing our dirty laundry. On balance, I also know that dysfunction
flourishes when concealed out of sight.

As a teenager and full-fledged hip hop head, I never listened to Miles because I learned that he beat Cicley Tyson and was unapologetic about it after reading Pearl Cleage’s “Mad at Miles.” I bumped Coltrane, Roach and Blakey, but no Miles. One day, a few years ago, a film Professor and jazz lover who I respected, asked me how could I avoid Miles and listen to so much hip hop?

It was then that I began to see that I would have some reconciling to do regarding gender and hip hop. Continue reading

Essential Reading – Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology

by Latoya Peterson

So, I grabbed Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology over the weekend and I cannot put it down. Seriously y’all – every spare minute I spend pouring over the pages. While this one is more intellectual than Chickenheads (which makes it a little less accessible) Gwendolyn D. Pough, Elaine Richardson, Aisha Durham, and Rachel Raimist brought it in this collection.

I’ll be posting excerpts a little later, but I just had to share the table of contents:

Forward, Mark Anthony Neal

An Introduction of Sorts for Hip-Hop Feminism
, Gwendolyn D. Pough

Section One

B-Girls, Femcees, Graf Girls and Lady Deejays: Women Artists in Hip Hop,
Rachel Raimist
Proven Presence: The Emergence of Feminist Politics in Cuban Hip-Hop, Sujatha Fernandes
Sista’ Outsider: Queer Women of Color and Hip-Hop, Eric Darnell Pritchard & Maria L. Bibbs
With Style and Grace, John Rodriguez
This DJ, Shaden Tavakoli
Beyond Every Ceiling Is the Sky, Darlene Anita Scott
Less Hustle, More Flow: The Role of Women in Hip-Hop Culture, Beatrice Koehler-Derrick Continue reading