When referring to hip-hop, there are times ‘progressive liberals’ talk in niche terms and say things such as “can you recommend some feminist hip-hop” or “where do you think I should start if I want to listen to some positive hip-hop?” The last two questions are code for “can you direct me to some hip-hop where black men don’t threaten to kill themselves or others, and they are not pouring champagne over Tanaynay’s butt crack?”
Even if these liberals do not realise it, and in most cases, they don’t, when questions like these arise, in essence, the idea, is hip-hop is inherently misogynistic and by its nature, it promotes dysfunctional relationships with black men as the starting point. This is not surprising as systemic power structures have entrenched racist images and reoccurring negative pathologies of blackness. So, by extension, the music that blackness birthed will be affected by all of the above. That being the case, we should not be vexed by these ‘progressive liberals’, for these are the good ones. These are the ones wanting something alternative to what they are told, something different to the memo that was sent out that stated hip-hop is Black, juvenile and belligerent. Hip-hop is the sum of all your fears, it is what is wrong with society.
There are so many directions that I can go with this, like hip-hop being an accessible tool for social critique, or questions like why is hip-hop and related genres the only form of music that is not allowed to embrace multigenerational practitioners in the way that rock and pop, and other forms of music has been allowed to (hip-hop is for children, and inevitably sensible people grow out of it). But for this article, I am going to stick with womanhood. I have been an active part-with-cash fan of hip-hop since the age of 14, and years later I still see an emphasis on misogynoir (see Moya Bailey), especially from the view of selling music, hip-hop the capitalist, corporate cash cow.
As a black female part-with-cash hip-hop fan, I have come up with 7 ways hip-hop has empowered women and primarily black and brown women at that.
Economics and Entrepreneurship
Hip-Hop has given many women the opportunity to build empires and to acquire finances and wealth which they may not have seen otherwise. Think of someone like Queen Latifah for example. She started off as a rapper and since then has navigated her way through Hollywood and the beauty industry, while also becoming an author and talk show host.