*note: My topic for this project is feminism in Hip Hop, but I will be using Womanism instead. Feminism, although created by black women, is catered towards white women only. Rap is made by the black community for the black community, so I believe Womanism is more appropriate, because it accommodates the needs of Black women.
Rap is a genre of music that constantly degrades women, but specifically black women. For years the music videos to accompany these songs include the rapper (usually male) surrounded by over sexaulized women of color. These same songs refer to us as b*tches and other rude terms. Unfortunately, I am not sure if the animosity toward black women will ever escape this genre completely. “The genre, celebrated for its ability to document and honor the myriad ways that marginalized and oppressed people negotiate their existence, has tragically failed to provide that same space and enthusiasm for black women.” Rappers such as Queen Latifah, Lauryn Hill, and Missy Elliott have tried their best to fight against the stereotypical rap music. Because of their work in the 90s we have many female rappers now that have followed in their footsteps.
There have been times throughout the years where the rap scene makes it difficult for multiple women rappers to be successful at once. There could be hundreds of male rappers but only a few women. Now there is many successful female rappers in the rap game, and that’s amazing. Hip Hop womanism is like feminism, but created by black women for black women. It has been used to carve out a space in a place we have been left out of, which is something black women are used to doing.
The days of constricting what makes Black Women’s talent marketable are coming to an end. Men no longer have the power, nor do we care about their opinions. Cardi B and Megan the Stallion made that very clear with their single WAP. They, like many others, no longer wanted to be hyper sexualized and objectified in a degrading manner by men. In retaliation they chose to hypersexualiz themselves on their terms in a positive light. But yet the music video and song was heavily criticized, because society feels obligated to black women’s bodies but also extend more leeway toward male rappers. This incident acknowledge how society is very aware of how men degrade black women, and simply do not care.
Now female rapper’s individualities are being celebrated, maybe not by everyone, by black women. Rappers like Rico Nasty, CHIKA, Young M.A, and Flo Milli are a just a few examples of rappers with totally different vibes and all very talented.
Hip Hop Womanism has opened doors for black women to express themselves creatively, and for other black women to enjoy and feel included. As a black woman I enjoy listening to female rappers that understand me. No matter what people say about it, I believe it as empowering and inspiring to see beautiful black women follow their dreams.