In the early days of hip hop, we see women submerged in the role of the background dancer, video vixen or barely dressed pool party extra. That image is changing, and it is safe to say, women are be-coming just as vital to hip hop as they are to society. Over the weekend, I attended the 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards Red Carpet and Show, and I was fascinated at the number of women present. Women represented as MCs, producers, journalists, managers, wives and friends. According to a Forbes.com, “Hip-hop has evolved since the 1970s […] becoming the most popular genre in the world.” While hip hop music continues to transcend trends, the depth of its impact will ultimately be defined by the feminine energy that is currently prevalent within the culture.
A HAPPY WIFE IS A HAPPY RAP LIE: The red carpet was in a frenzy when the royal couples of hip-hop waltzed in and posed for a few pictures. Gucci Mane and Keysha Kaoir as well as T.I. and Tameka “Tiny” Harris had the journalist enamored. There is something super intriguing about a rockstar who is loved and knows how to love. Wives of hip hop like Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Alicia Keys and others have become symbolic of what is possible. These very public celebrity relationships mirror inner city life speaking to every woman who has ever dealt with infidelity, outside children, prison stents and dreams deferred. The wife in the hip hop love story represents for every woman that has ever loved the bad guy. She is beautiful, submissive, supportive yet and just as gangsta as her counterpart. Her fans are fully engaged making her voice vital to the hip hop love story.
YET NO ONE TELLS A FAIRYTALE LIKE A WOMEN. As media correspondents lined the red-carpet inches apart, I noticed female after female getting awards show coverage for their respective media outlets. Once depicted as nothing more than voiceless video models or b*tches and hoes, women are now the voice behind the story of hip hop. Hip-hop has become our escape from the world. It is our connection to our men and the foundation of our strength. Like a diamond in the rough, inspiring our survival and making us fearless story tellers. BET.com writer Kai Miller says as a hip-hop journalist, she uses her “life’s work to reflect the ugly truths about hip-hop as well as its promising future. I hope to inspire others to join me. Our voices together hold power beyond measure.”
BUT WHAT IS A KINGDOM WITHOUT A QUEEN? Women continue to change the game when allowed to reign. The first ladies of hip hop are taking the industry from sexist to sexy, from urban to mainstream and from vulgar to vital. When Junior MAFIA re-leased “Player’s Anthem: Lil Kim’s risky lyrics and sex appeal spawned worldwide attention. Equally undeniable is the widespread notoriety that Nicki Minaj’s musical impact brought to Cash Money Records. The Queen Bees of rap are not just creating trends, but they are topping charts, making money and changing the landscape of how essential female MCs are to the industry of hip hop.
Inevitably, as hip-hop continues to grow in popularity, the role of women will become more and more visible. Beyond the b*tches and hoes, we are the journalist behind the beat. We are the Queen Bees and the wives that make these Rockstar lifestyle complete and newsworthy. We are making strides as producers and MCs. We are the mothers and supporters sitting front and center, and we are just getting started. No longer accessories, we are vital to the growth of hip hop.
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