Hip hop ladies

Beyond the mainstream of 'gangster pop', Nino argues hip hop can be - and is - feminist

Nino, 7 May 2008

A so-called 'feminist' group from a student union attached to my local university ripped their own eyelashes out recently, to the delight of the on-looking public. Not literally, of course... But that's how it appeared from where I was standing in my painted trainers. They frolicked round the city like a bunch of 12-year-old Rainbow schoolgirls, smacking stickers on random people's backs. The oh-so-inspirational logo printed on this waste of plastic and glue? "Think you're fit".

First off. I believe that 'the feminist' is possibly the least-fulfilled stereotype on the planet. To be honest, most of the legit feminists I've come across turned out to be the most stunning, powerful and honest people I have ever met.

The thing which really pissed me off about the branding of these stickers smack in the middle of my 'Not Bad For A Girl' t-shirt, was that they were creating an organisation which basically ripped itself so the rest of the public felt no need to do so. They were there, under this group name, which would usually suggest politics, soul, truth and revolution. And they were saying, actually, you're right. We lasses aren't particularly bright or influential. So we've made an organisation to rip ourselves further. Come watch us giggle and prance about to shitty house music.

I don't fucking think so.

Feminism and hip hop are in the same sneaker. Misunderstood, blamed and stalled by the ignorant

And to any ignorant fool in the city this is now what they regard as the feminist representation of my ends. Na-ah.

I come from a background where I have spent my entire life trying to find a group to 'fit in'. Yet still wanting to be different. I have found that community. It's a worldwide community. About peace, unity and having fun. It welcomes any race, gender, age, religion, language... It encourages individuality and expression. Working hard to utilise talents which become passions which lead to success. We call it hip hop.

A feminist. Who likes hip hop.

If you're laughing here, I know you are way outside my box. You haven't even made the effort to lift the lid. Because like the pathetic government and media, you will easily, discriminate, stereotype and judge with no research, no proof and no understanding of your own.

Feminism and hip hop are in the same sneaker. Misunderstood, blamed and stalled by the ignorant.

Yes, mainstream 'hip hop' use girls for nothing but shaking their arses and throwing cash at some wannabe outlaw. That's why true hip hop heads do not believe mainstream 'hip hop' is hip hop at all. It is merely gangster pop.

I'm sick of being judged as a failure as soon as the term 'hip hop dancer' is used

A fake brand which sells. And one which the government literally funds and exposes to the masses so then youth of a similar background can follow 'fiddy's' example. Buy a gun. Shoot their bredrins. And the gov have an excuse to put these youth down further. And cut down their opportunities even more.

Real hip hop defies this. Guns, bitches and bling were never part of the four elements. And never will be.

Few of my close friends are female. Purely because I'm so fuelled and focussed on hip hop. It basically runs my life. I'm a bgirl, krumper, juker, graffer, drummer, youth mentor, writer, promoter and activist. And there are few positive women in hip hop.

But those that are. Are fucking incredible. Because they have all had to work ridiculously hard to get where they're at. MC Lyte is an obvious high flyer among all of us. Bgirl, emcee, entrepreneur. She is beautiful and talented. She has accomplished so much. She has soul, integrity and faith. She does not shake her ass in some twatters vid or sleep with rappers.

Bgirl Hanifa Hudson... Sofia Boutella... I know a few other women/lasses who work on this similar attitude. Working in this same city, with some colourful results. All of them successful. All of the talented, respected and strong. Yet, with the words hip hop attached to their name they are automatically evaluated as jokes.

Take Channel U. It provides amazing opportunities and outlets for street souls all over the U.K. Yet 75% of the video content consists of untamed emcees surrounded by girls in thongs, cars and bling. Don't flick just yet... Wait for it... Once in a while. A decent track appears, together with a more than decent video.

And here we are. Not only have the emcees retained some dignity. But so have these so-called 'video girls'. We see bgirls, krumpers, flatlanders, graffers, singers, skaters. All who actually have a talent and are not afraid to express it.

I'm sick of being judged as a failure as soon as the term 'hip hop dancer' is used.

Don't wait for someone to slap a sticker on you saying you're fit to make you feel you've reached your potential.

Many rappers who I have worked with or interviewed give me the same answer.

In fact. It's an answer most men would give. If a girl acts like a hoe. She'll be treated like one. But if she demands respect. She will receive it. If you still wona be the hottest girl in the club. Shaking your ass will hardly make you stand out and get a fair reception. 6stepping, windmilling and hopping about on one arm however produce some truly brilliant results.

Don't expect everything to come to you on a plate. Don't take the easy option, because the rewards are not half as mint as when you work hard. Be yourself. Discover your talents and passions and nurture them. Set yourself no limits. Always aim for that spot on the wall a bit higher. That punch a bit stronger. That headspin a bit faster. That vocal a bit smoother. Whatever you do.

Don't wait for someone to slap a sticker on you saying you're fit to make you feel you've reached your potential. Wait till that sticker says "you're talented", "you're different", "you're you..."

The world is yours. Only the rhythm will show you the way... Just let your soul do the talking.

About the author

Nino

Nino is a German-Asian bgirl, drummer, artist, writer, runner, filmmaker, youth mentor and hip hop activist in Bradford, West Yorkshire. She works for leedshiphop.co.uk, britishhiphop.co.uk, dropmagazine.com, Traffic magazine, INQ, Bradford Youth Service, BYDP Youth Fusion, Socialist Worker, Love Music Hate Racism and the Women Working Towards Excellence OneLives project. She believes real, pure hip hop can provide equality, integration, success and expression for anyone open minded and focussed enough. Together with Lid(drum n bass drummer) she runs a non profit youth organisation - Bradford Rhythm Riots. She wrote this piece aged 17

Author's Articles | Author's Website

  • The F-Word Feeds
  • #
  • #