How many female hiphop artists do you know? How many do you listen to regularly? As we continue to explore the tension of being a woman in hiphop throughout Women’s History Month, consider this challenge:
First, write down as many hiphop artists as you can in one minute. Count how many of the artists were men. How many were women?
Now, take another minute to rank how often you listen to each artist using the following scale:
1 = Never 2 = Seldom 3 = Often 4 = Always
How many male and female artists were in each category? How much of the music you listen by these artists is from before or after 2000? What does this exercise reveal about hiphop and hiphop culture? Does it mean there simply just aren't as many women in hiphop as men?
In How Hiphop Culture Makes Feminism Work on the HARI blog, Dr. Dionne Bennett reminds us that women are challenging the stereotype of hiphop as a "boys only" culture across a variety of mediums. From the turntable to Tidal, and from Roxanne Shanté to Rapsody, the sexism and misogyny within and beyond hiphop culture have not gone uncriticized. The music itself functions as a starting point for larger critiques and discussions of gender and sexuality not just by self-identified feminists or women, but also among all who interact with the culture.
Though far from exhaustive, here is a list of songs you can use to start your own discussions and also bump from infinity to infinity: