Is Feminism a dirty word in our culture?
Brown Sugar is written Angie C. @abitofbrownsuga email@example.com
Hip Hop has long worn the crown of misogyny incarnate. Is this still the case, was it ever? Can I be a hip hop lover and a feminist? Can a man who loves songs filled with the word Bi*&h and Hoe truly love me on an intimate human level? I hope so. I think it’s possible to have someone who chooses not to belittle the woman in their life based on archaic thinking. However when social media conversations about feminism occur, the voice of male hip hop lovers becomes a whisper. No replys, no RTs, nada. And the female voice is barely above a whisper in these social media conversations. It really makes me wonder if brown feminists are in the minority especially in Hip Hop.
When I hear feminist I think- Women have rights, they have intelligence, and they deserve to be treated equally and with respect. I look back at American culture from Anti bellum slavery to the 1950’s and the enduring women’s history movement that has made it possible for me to have many of the rights I deserve. I think of all the women and men who have fought literally and figuratively to knock down walls based on gender bias, that’s what I think when I hear feminism/feminists. When I hear misogyny- I think of the demeaning of women based on purely on gender. A misogynist treats a woman as less than, as an animal even, in the way he speaks about and to her, the way he thinks, and the way he treats her. Misogyny is defined by Webster as “hatred of women”, earliest usage? 1656. So yeah the idea of hating women and expressing in the culture isn’t new. BUT I digress.
When I listen to an album like Watch The Throne I hear two rappers who have matured A LOT, and the traces of misogyny are all but gone in many of Jay Z’s lyrics, Kanye is a work in progress though lol The point being I LOVE this album but I still listen out for lyrics that offend /demean me. And when I find them, I listen once or twice then I ffwd passed them, I choose not to deal with it. They have a song “That’s My Bitch”, beat wise it’s sick. They are in essence trying to give props to beautiful women of color and our exclusion from art and culture but to do so we are refereed to as Bithches? Damn… Then in the track list Niggas in Paris is bleeped out as Ni**as but it’s okay to spell out Bi**h? ? That bothers me, and I feel like it should bother any sensible person.
I’m an academic and a music lover so to me lyrics matter, I believe we absorb the words we hear and read. I believe that the lyrics we hear become apart of our collective thinking. I love Hip Hop culture but sometimes that means pushing fast forward, or having an awkward convo with a twitter follower or two. Some people will swear I’m being too deep but I disagree. I think lyrics and intent matter. In 2013 there are still people who believe that women are a lesser gender and I believe culture and music play a part in condoning these archaic ideas. True feminism shouldn’t threaten you as a man. I’m not coming for “your’ spot, I’m just existing in my rightful place, next to you, not behind you. Hopefully this non-traditional hip hop loving feminist can find my “perfect verse over a tight beat”… We’ll see
It’s March so check out these other pieces on Women in our culture and look for another Brown Sugar piece on Women in music coming soon-
Is it aight to code switch? – Navigating language in modern society. – Angie C
Sometimes I feel like an acrobat. In the space of an hour I can flip from a Jamaican patois dialect to some urban ebonics-esqe stuff and eventually land on a more northeastern “proper” English way of speaking. Most times I complete these acrobatic moves completely unaware that I’m moving from one way of speaking/typing to another. However other times I’m way too aware that I’m switching between codes. Codes? Yep it’s a term I learned in an undergrad multicultural education class. My professor believed as I do that there is no such thing as broken English, but that there are different codes in our society. And in order to be a successful member of our society you would have to know how to switch between these different codes. Each code has its own grammar, its own slang and lingo, and its own place in our society.
Before hearing the term code switching, the idea that you talked a certain way in a certain situation was only discussed negatively. I dismissed the idea that speaking in full sentence was somehow “talking white”. Very early on in life it was clear to me that using the standard form of speaking and writing English was not a color thing. I dismissed it because ‘talking black/talking white” resonated with nothing I’d ever seen in my real life Brooklyn experience. Growing up with Hasidic Jewish people, the entire Caribbean massive, Hispanic brothers and sisters and everyone else living in NYC, I learned that people just SPOKE. Sometimes they spoke different languages but when it came to English people spoke in a variety of ways depending on the situation. Some people only knew one way to speak, a “relaxed vernacular” or a more complex dialect and some knew several. I realize this isn’t everyone’s experience.
I however just speak… it took me awhile to realize that I wasn’t being fake or “switching up” in the negative sense of the phrase. I was ADAPTING. In early adulthood as I was training to be a teacher I realized somehow that the real purpose of words is communication. I need to be able to communicate with my audience. Can every audience understand Standard English? Sure. Will it resonate the same with them though? Nah. So with my decent knowledge of the codes I would need most in life I somehow developed this acrobatic technique. If I’m speaking to a group of people who generally speak in a standard way of speaking then that’s how I’ll speak. If I’m in a professional environment I want to communicate with them so I’ll use the professional code. If I’m speaking to Jamaican peeps I’ll usually use the grammar and dialect of Jamaican Patois. Because at the end of the day I want to connect with my audience. But at no time am I not Ang… I’m still me and I’m a code switching acrobat navigating my way through this linguistic jungle called life.
What do y’all think? Do you lose a part of you when you when you change the way you speak to fit the situation? Read- React- Retweet
Brown Sugar is written by Angie C @bitofbrownsuga Interviews, Commentary, Music & Movie reviews. Have a topic you wanna see or have reviewed email -firstname.lastname@example.org
If you loved “The Wire” you’ll love “LUV” It’s BROWN SUGAR approved.
Early one Sunday morning I went to see the film “Luv”. I went not knowing much about it outside of it starring Common, and there being a lil boy in it. Really that’s all I knew lol. So I was surprised that five minutes in I was invested and almost on the edge of my seat with anticipation. ‘Luv” follows a tumultuous day in the life of Vincent and his nephew, Woody, on the streets of Baltimore, MD. Vincent, played by Common, is desperate to have a fresh start after being released from prison. Outside of that most everything else in the plot is open to interpretation.
Cool with me! I’m a fan of writing that lets my mind wander and imagine different pathways and possibilities in a plot and Luv provides lots of this! Like why on this potential crazy day does Vincent decide to take his young nephew with him? Does he really want to teach him a lesson or is there more to it? Either way the day unfolds into a journey that neither one would soon forget. While “Luv” is a story that’s been told on film many times, it is neither predictable nor boring. Yes it’s a story of an ex con trying to “make good” but there’s so much more in this almost all male film.
Each character is more than they seem and presents a fresh take on the familiar drug dealer type role, (for example the crazy foreign dude we should be afraid of is juicing wheat grass when we 1st meet him lol). Not convinced you should see it yet? Check out my 3 Reasons why it’s must see that will have you talking and thinking. Is it ever really possible to “get out of the game”? And at what cost would you attempt to “turn over a new leaf”?
http://luvthefilm.com twitta @LUVTHEFILM
Brown Sugar is written by Angie C twitta @abitofbrownsuga
3 Reasons why you should #SEELUV
3. Because you miss “The Wire” as much as I do! “Luv” is filmed in Baltimore, on the streets made familiar to the rest of us by the famed HBO series. While this film is not the Wire Pt. 2, you will get to see “Omar” aka Michael K. Williams in a very unexpected role! Also a few other Wire favs are on screen with that Bmore accent I miss hearing.
2. The film is written by Sheldon Candis. This is Candis’ 1st major box office writing/directorial debut. And if you gon’ do it, then do it BIG! He has an “A list” line up for his debut. The film stars and is produced by COMMON (ladies he is fineeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee all movie long *ahem, goes back into writer mode*) Also featuring amazing actors like Charles S. Dutton, Danny Glover, and Mr. Allstate himself Dennis Haysbert!! <~~~ That line up is just wow! (Kudos to Common and everyone else who helped that happen.) The wonderfully talented Lonette McKee and Megan Goode (who only appears briefly) represent for the ladies. This ensemble cast does a wonderful job surrounding leads Common and Michael Rainey Jr. with a strong backing.
1. Michael Rainey Jr.!!!!! 12 yr old Rainey plays “Woody”, Common’s character’s nephew. This young man has an amazing future ahead of him as an actor. Not since The Wire season 4 have we seen how the effects of the street weigh on children. Rainey’s character is a sponge. His eyes show the audience how every decision Common’s character makes affects him. He wavers between absolute trust and complete disgust with his uncle. He has the ability to possess the innocence of childhood and the bravery of a warrior all at the same time. What a wonderful job in his major screen debut.