So recently a Black hip-hop legend-producer, songwriter, and record company owner talked about his concern that hip hop was now being led by “strippers rapping”.
“Let me just say this:
- Male rappers,
- Music executives,
- Owners of Black tv networks,
- Owners of record companies,
- Entourage members,
- AND all their friends have made not a small portion of their wealth off of sexualizing the bodies of Black women.
in spite of the protests from Black women.
Now that Black Women like Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, and Megan Thee Stallion are rapping, starring in, headlining, writing, producing, marketing and therefore keeping the bulk of the profits, sexuality in hip hop is a “concern”.
While these rappers aren’t responsible for bringing female sexuality to hip hop-shout out to Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, and Salt n Pepa-this new generation of women is definitely more sexually open and willing to provide a whole body’s worth of visuals to back up their lyrics.
Ohhhhh, if only you knew how much name-calling Black Women endured when we brought up sexuality in hip hop from the earliest days of hip hop.
Because hip hop began as music that accurately expressed the sentiments of many silenced Black & Brown voices.
The great thing was you could dance to it too.
Somewhere, almost from nowhere, videos with scantily clad women started showing up on cable after midnight. On stations targeted at young Black people.
Then the next thing you knew, people knew songs strictly off of the amount nudity in a music video. The nearly nude women were selling the song anyway, but not making most of the money.
Let’s note, these women were making a name for themselves and some of the male rappers too. But for a fee and not the good portion of the money.
Not just that, as always in all genres of music, a sexy woman could get your cover a second look back when record stores were still a thing. Ditto for the red carpet, public appearances and spaces I don’t even know about.
Booty shaking has been moving record sales for a very long time now.
Since at least the 1990s, there were ongoing protests and boycotts that went on for years against a certain Black network who would not stop showing the now infamous and most barely-there music videos created. Keep in mind, many mainstream networks banned the videos.
Male rappers started making extremely sexualized videos just for the honorable media hype of making a video that was banned. Meanwhile, the voices and concerns of Black women were ignored & ridiculed
One of the most powerful Black women in all the lands, Oprah Winfrey herself, tried to have a discussion about it on her long-running and popular talk show. Next thing you know, Oprah was labeled a “sell-out”. But most of them they wouldn’t come on her show to say it.
Oprah has put her appreciation for hip hop out on front street time and time again. But folks will always remind you about that “time” she dared to call out someone for using the term “bitch” or “hoe.
Still to this day, if some Black men call themselves “insulting you” they might call you C. Delores Tucker.
Some people despised this Black Civil Rights activist who spoke against sexually explicit lyrics in Rap/HipHop they put it on vinyl.
Eminem even rapped a really vulgar line about her that I’m certain wouldn’t make it in today’s social media-fueled world.
Confession, I’m on record as being a fan of many of Eminem’s songs. In fact, Old Skool Hip Hop is one of my favorite genres of music.
I love it. I work out to it.
I write to it. I clean to it.
I drive to it. I de-stress to it.
I reminisce to it. I love me some Old Skool Hip Hop!
But this love has felt a tad abusive sometimes.
So, maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think I am.
Time, people, and business models change. The middle-man took the cut.
I’m cheering on these new young female MCs.
May they reign, make y’all dance, and make all of the money.
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“We’ve been there, experienced that. Trauma, Pain, Abuse & Rape. These are the lessons that we brought back.”
–Tonya GJ Prince has been a leading subject matter expert (SME) in domestic violence and sexual violence.
For over 25 years she has helped people heal, prevent, and overcome domestic and sexual violence.
In order to accomplish this mission, she founded several diverse & inclusive platforms designed to allow Survivors to use their own voices including;
WESurviveAbuse.com, SurvivorAffirmations.com, & BraidtheLadder.org.
Tonya is an author, activist, advocate, Survivor, speaker, counselor, & mentor.
B.S. Organizational Management & Development/Bluefield College
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