Tag: hip hop

May 15, 2008 / / Uncategorized

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)

Read the Post Quoted: Kimala Price on Hip-Hop Feminism and Choice

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. Read the Post Hip Hop & Patriarchy: My Struggle with Mobb Deep

by Guest Contributor Duniya, originally published at Muslimah Media Watch

Although still a male-dominated realm, women have been an important part of the hip hop world both as artists and consumers. Anaya McMurray, in her journal article* Hotep and Hip-Hop: Can Black Muslim Women Be Down with Hip-Hop? explores the relation of Black Muslim women to hip hop music and asks the question, “Can Black Muslim women be a part of hip hop and Islam?”**

McCurray says that unique spaces in the discourses surrounding Islam are often ignored, consequently ignoring certain groups of Muslims, including Black Muslim women. Black Muslim women have become “agents in negotiating Islamic faith and hip-hop culture.” She aims to examine the ways in which Black Muslim women create unique spaces and negotiate Islam and hip hop in their music, as well as ways in which society represents Islam and hip hop which marginalize Black Muslim women. She does so by discussing the works of Erykah Badu, Eve, and herself as Black Muslim women hip hop artists.

When speaking of Erykah Badu we find out that the Islam McMurray tells us Badu follows is that of the Nation of Gods and Earths, or Five Percenters. Five Percenters are those who follow the teachings of Clarence 13x, a former member of the Nation of Islam. Five Percenters do consider themselves Muslims but not in the religious sense – in the political sense. Therefore, many mainstream Muslims do not consider them Muslims. And in reality their beliefs have very little in common with Sunni or Shia Islam. McMurray tells us how Badu does create a space for Muslim women in her songs by rapping about Five Percenter practices – practices which encourage men and women to remain within their respective, traditional roles. Beliefs which seem quite sexist but ones which Badu says are quite flexible, in her music. However, as Five Percenters have so little in common with mainstream Islam, and in fact consider themselves a part of a political movement rather than a religious one, using Badu to represent Muslim women in hip hop struck me as false advertising. She does not, from my understanding, represent the religion but rather the political movement.

The situation of Eve is not so clear. She has been quoted as saying that she finds Sunni Islam beautiful but cannot follow it properly. McMurray argues that, according to her calculations, Eve is a Muslim woman, though even McMurray admits she cannot be sure. McMurray reads Eve as a Muslim woman. Eve refers to Allah in her work as well as thanks Allah on her CD credits. Additionally, McMurray tells us that her own personal communications indicate that she is Muslim. McMurray makes an interesting observation about people’s assumptions about Eve and her religion. In one song Eve says “I thank Allah every night and pray there’s no turning back.” In many online lyrics sources this line is written as “I thank the Lord every night and pray there’s no turning back.” McMurray tells us that people, on all sides (within and without) just cannot fathom Eve as a Muslim so would never assume that she would use “Allah.” She tells us that people have never even asked the question of her being Muslim despite her use of “Allah”. Read the Post The Muslim Women of Hip-Hop

May 7, 2008 / / Uncategorized

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

May 6, 2008 / / Uncategorized
May 1, 2008 / / Uncategorized