Monday, August 30, 2010

We've Come a Long Way, Baby, Just to Turn Back Around

I'm watching "My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth About Women in Hip Hop" on BET. The topic comes up about the lack of female MC's today. In the 80's , there were only a few and then the number exploded in the 90's. So, it would seem that women had finally broken into the business and established themselves as serious artists. However, a decade later, there are far less women in the game than before. And what is the reason the MC's themselves give for this disappearance? Women require a lot of hair and make-up maintenance and they are emotional (miss home and have relationship issues).
Are. You. Kidding. Me?
If this is true, I'm mad that labels are willing to let such superficial reasons stop them from signing new artists. And if this is not true (which I suspect it isn't; I think the reasons are so much deeper than that) then I'm mad because these women thought of these superficial, sexist reasons for their discrimination and didn't seem upset about them. I thought hip hop was supposed to be about protesting the powers that be.


The Steel Magnolia said...

I just set the DVR to record that show. Despite the time in which I grew up, I'm not a hip hop head. At all. But I'm feeling your shock, TD. The women (and LL!) were probably the only reasons I ever paid attention to the genre. But perhaps we shouldn't be surprised by the disappearance of women; it's not really about challenging power dynamics anymore, is it? So, naturally, it just bows at the altar of systematic power structures, just like everything else.

Blackwatch said...

Well, I am ...was... no AM a hip-hop head.It's just that now very little actual hip-hop is popular. The women left the game because the talented ones didn't bow down to the racist and patriarchal stereotypes of black women that was/is selling to the white pop audience today. So, only the women that are willing to do "Porn on Wax" as I used to call it, are the ones that will have record deals today.

The sad part about it is that even the so called "matriarchs" didn't really see a problem with Lil' Kim, Foxy Brown and such. It was only the "underground" rappers that called them into question. Anything for a buck I guess.

The Steel Magnolia said...

Okay, now I'm watching the part of the show that you were talking about, TD. What seems weird to me is that this segment of the show comes out of nowhere. The rest of the show up until that point all pointed toward the idea of--indeed, used the words--misogyny, sexism repeatedly. And following those useless comments, one of the women says that the bottom line is that "it's a boys' game." So why those comments about hair and homesickness???? My project on country music is also suggesting a similar issue in that genre. Even when multiple women are outselling male artists by double and triple numbers, the industry still admonishes female artists against high expectations of high sales and is slow is support them sufficiently. It's not even about reality. It's about maintaining power.
Also weird: the whole section about Lauren Hill was as if she had passed away completely. Odd.