50 Years of Misogyny – Can Hip Hop Culture Break From Its Past?
I think it’s almost disrespectful to the women who love and have helped build the Genre to celebrate 50 years of Hip Hop without acknowledging the misogyny weaved indelicately into the culture. Watching Ladies First on Netflix last night, had me in literal tears. When we collectively don’t speak on injustice, it sits with us and is more easily triggered within us. As a little black girl growing up in North Carolina Hip Hop has had a surprising impact on my life. Riding along with my Dad, my earliest music memories are of artists like Too Short and NWA. I grew up watching Video Soul, Yo MTV Raps, and The Basement with Big Tiger.
While I had a father who always treated me like a complete princess and expected the world to treat me the same. I also had a father who enjoyed Hip Hop music and exposed me to it as a young black girl. I think this is one of the women’s biggest battles within the culture. We are exposed to lyrics and visuals that at times degrade us. Then expected to sit on these pedestals we never asked to be created for us. There are men in the culture who consume and praise content that they then turn around and find to be vulgar when applied to a “regular chic.” By regular I’m referring to their mothers, daughters, girlfriends, wives, coworkers, etc…
“We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” – Beyoncé
We all sat back and watched Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B get demonized for WAP while their male counterparts have made far more or at least equally raw music for decades. We celebrate the Notorious BIG who nonchalantly dropped a verse about his friend being a child rapist. Rick Ross is one of the biggest stars in Hip Hop today and we gloss over his sexual predator verse in U.O.E.N.O.:
“Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it/ I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.” – Rick Ross
What’s the problem? Hip Hop Culture is so laced with misogyny that “We ain’t even know it.” I think a Ladies First is not just a beautiful docuseries, it is a great opportunity for other groups to really see inside the women who impact this culture. It’s an opportunity for growth and understanding. Absolute must-watch, and not just because they highlight my favorite rapper ever: Rapsody!