Written by Stefanie Carassco
Hon, You're playing yourself
Itís Friday night at a local Hip-Hop club. Everyone in the joint is hyper and sweaty. The DJs have been showcasing their turntable skills for hours. The breakers have been impressing the crowd with their halos and munchmills ever since Run DMCís "Itís Like That" blasted through the speakers. Amidst this excited mess, decked out in their shortest skirts and tightest halter tops, are the notorious chickenheads. They giggle and shake their asses in hopes of impressing a member of the neighborhoodís newest production crew. Itís pathetic, embarrassing, and unquestionably detrimental to the image of female Hip-Hop heads worldwide. This "chickenhead" epidemic is, very bluntly stated, a form of SELF-oppression.
A basic truth: Society judges a group based upon the actions of the majority of its members. Although this isnít always fair, itís life. And unfortunately, the women in Hip-Hop are being represented by Luke Campbellís booty shaking background dancers and the harem girls feeling up on Big Pun in Noreagaís "Superthug" video.
The repercussions of this ironic MISrepresentation are numerous and severe.
First and foremost, the "bitches and hoes" issue. How can we blame an ignorant fan of rap for referring to his latest sexual experience as "an everyday thing", performed by "one of the hoodrats down the block," when he has obviously been subjected to the likes of Lil Kim and Foxy Brown wannabes on a regular basis? His disrespect to women can only be attributed to the lack of decency heís been exposed to.
Next, it has become increasingly difficult for any female in Hip-Hop, whether it be an artist, a knowledge seeker, or just a fan to be taken seriously. As my personal experience has taught me, women cannot walk into a VIP room or go backstage to support their MC friend without having people assume that sheís a groupie. Or his booty call of the week. Finding sponsorship for a female-run Hip-Hop magazine is practically impossible in the United States. Potential customers assume that this magazine is going to introduce the latest lipstick shade that the "Queen Bee" was seen wearing, rather than produce a solid interview with a talented Hip-Hop star.
Bottom line: There are not enough Lauryn Hills and Bahamadias in this culture. We lack strong, intelligent women who are willing to sacrifice temporary popularity and shock value for a lifetime of respect and integrity. Too many women are allowing the media to define them as sex objects. And not enough are encouraging people to see past that formula. Until we ALL decide to make it unacceptable for women to play themselves out in the name of dollar bills, female Hip-Hop heads will continue to find it harsh to come up in this world. Itís about time, people. Elevate your minds.