I love Hip Hop, I love the Hip Hop culture. I love everything about it. This is not one of those rants about how Hip Hop is degrading to women or how it is destroying our culture. I stand by Hip Hop. But being a woman in this Hip Hop culture, I can not sit back and ignore how this current Hip Hop mainstream culture has affected me personally and how it is affecting women in this generation.
1. It has normalized stripping and prostitution.
Do you remember when stripping and prostitution used to be a shameful thing? I do. Now, if you listen to music or watch music videos, every song and image is promoting and glorifying this lifestyle. Girls growing up today aren’t getting the idea that this is the last resort or a profession to be avoided, they are getting the clear message that, “I don’t mind if you dance on the pole, it don’t make you a hoe…..girl get that money money money….”. The more something is thrown in your face, the more normal and acceptable it becomes. Social media and music has made it so normal and so acceptable that you won’t even think twice about it. Strip clubs are the normal place to be for men and women alike, prostitution doesn’t even seem like a “crime” or “human trafficking” as it really is, it just seems like the way of life. Just as “Trap Music” has normalized selling drugs to the point where no one thinks its a problem and drug dealers are glorified for our young boys. Strippers and “Escorts” are glorified to our young girls. I mean, what girl doesn’t want money, sexual freedom, recognition from all the hot artists and fame? Right?
2. It has given us the idea that in order to be successful that we gotta sell sex.
Look at all the top female artists today. Now name one that doesn’t exploit her sexuality.I’ll wait. When an artist first comes on the scene, usually they let their talent do the talking. By the time their second album drops, you notice that they have realized how they can capitalize on their bodies and their sexuality. What message does this send to us as women in the Hip Hop culture? Every successful woman that we see has used her body, her beauty or her sexuality to make it and if she doesn’t, usually she isn’t as popular or doesn’t last long in the industry.
3. It assumes that our only purpose is a side-kick or for relationship purposes.
Do you know how many times I’ve served at a hip hop outreach, accompanied an artist at one of his shows or helped out at a show or event and had someone come up to me and ask me, “So which one of these guys is your boyfriend/husband/baby daddy”? Take a guess. Every single time. No joke. It is automatically assumed that because you’re a cute girl in the hip hop culture that you are there because you are dating or sleeping with someone. I am at the event not because I’m a tag-along, groupie or in a relationship with any of the men there. I’m there because I have a purpose there, I have a calling. While the men are rockin the crowd, I can build relationships with people one on one, I can notice the small things they can’t notice because they are on stage or bombarded by fans, I can be an inspiration to younger girls there who believe the lie that as a woman in hip hop your only purpose is to be a sexual object. Can you imagine a young girl coming to a hip hop concert to see her favorite artist and she sees a gang of beautiful women walking in his entourage with him…..she wants to be them so bad. She realizes that the women with him aren’t models, video vixens, strippers or just someone’s girlfriend in the crew…..they are college graduates, Godly women, role models and leaders in their community, teachers, artists, dancers, mentors etc. She will then aspire to be that, she wants to be them because these must be the type of women her favorite artists likes and is associated with. She will finally see that it is more to being a woman in hip hop than just her body or being in a relationship with someone.
4. It has taken away our power and unique strength as women.
I love for men to be up on the stage, in the front, leading the movement….but I would love for women to step up and stand side by side with them and multiply their strength. I would love to see women in hip hop, artists or fans, to have a distinct purpose in the culture. Being weighed down by “pretty”, “girlfriend” or “tag-along” is so played out……be MORE than just that. It’s ok to be gorgeous, but use that beauty to inspire and to move a generation. Prove to this culture that you have a place in it and you have a clear purpose. You are not just there to be someone’s trophy, you are not just there to find your worth in some rapper’s affirmation of you, you are not just there to be eye candy. You are there because God put you there. God has a plan and a purpose for your life, follow it. Dig deep and find out what your strength is as a woman and how you can use it to stand side by side with your strong brothers and create something beautiful that this world has never seen before, women in hip hop finally finding their place and walking in it with a purpose.