Brown Sugar: Ladies and Hip-Hop
12 December 2011 Brown Sugar
Ladies and Hip Hop: part 1 of 2 part series
Disclaimer: There were no men injured in the making of this article, we love men here at Brown Sugar 😉
Ask a music lover when they fell in love with music and the look in their eyes will let you know they found real love. Even reading people talk about music gives you an idea of just how deep their love runs. What’s funny is it doesn’t matter if you talk to a man or a woman a music lover is a music lover. This lead me to wonder why there still seemed to be such a difference between men and women in the music industry, especially in hip hop. I decided to interview a few key women in the hip hop scene here in Hampton Roads and hear what they thought about how women are viewed and treated in the local music scene.
I decided to interview a prominent DJ, an emcee, a radio personality, and a marketing events impresario. Gangalee is an amazing pioneering lyricist in VA. DJ Erika B is a deejay in demand on the east coast. Keja Davis is a marketing expert in Hampton Roads, the DMV, and beyond, and Dominique the Diva is Hampton Roads newest female radio personality. These women range in age and experience but one thing they have in common is that they thrive in a male dominated industry. I asked them everything from when they fell in love with music (yeah I know its just like Sid Shaw in Brown Sugar, hey that’s my inspiration lol) to whether or not they felt like they were held to a different standard than their male counterparts. We also spoke to Fresh Radio’s creator DJ Bee on his thoughts about women in hip hop.
When did you fall in love with music?
Keja- “…my mom gave me an a.m. radio when I was 5 and I would listen to it every night before I fell asleep.”
Dominique- “I can’t even remember when I fell in love with music … [it’s] always been a part of my life…”
Erika B- “ooooooooooh on the TLC Tip Circa ’92. I remember songs before that year but TLC is what made me be glued to music.”
I asked the ladies how they felt being told they were “good for a woman” was a diss or something different-
Gangalee- “I do think so [it’s a diss] because women can do anything men can…so why should we have to be segregated.”
And then Gangalee said this- “…GIRLS ARE BORN HIP HOP BABIES SOME TURN IN TO VIDEO CHICS OTHERS TURN INTO EMCEES AND CEOS!” — That’s it in a nutshell isn’t it? It’s a choice what you do with your love of hip hop and how you’re perceived, isn’t it? I wanted to ask a male for his point of view. Fresh Radio’s creator shared this –
Brown Sugar- Do you think true success and respect is possible for females in the music industry?
Bee- I think it’s possible…I wish the percentage of possibility was higher!
Brown Sugar- In your opinion is there something naturally masculine about working in the music industry?
Bee- It’s an industry where assholes rise to the top…I think females would put more feelings and emotions more than men will into the game. It’s an emotionless industry.
Emotionless? Hmmm so apparently women’s innate predisposition to displaying emotions is a problem in the music industry. Don’t tell that to Diddy, Big Red (5 heartbeats) or Drake, all have definitely displayed emotions in the past but hey Wayne also wore jeggings. Not saying women don’t have a more overtly emotional side but6 I don’t think it’s any more liable to get in the way than any other music industry insider.
In part 2 of Ladies and Hip Hop Brown Sugar explores what it takes to stay on top and advice from the ladies and Bee on how females can thrive in this cut throat industry.