Some of yall may have read this...some of yall have not. Its time for me to write this year's "C Love's State of the City" address. What a difference a YEAR makes!
Here it tis...........
The Baltimore HIPHOP Scene: From my window sill
I have found that being a woman in the industry is a gift and a curse.
Gift: I get a lot of love for my mission. I find that people are very willing to offer advice and help me with my endeavors. The men help me because they respect what I'm doing, but also because they say I'm pretty. Most women help me because they think that my quest is commendable. There aren't very many women in the HIPHOP scene so most aren't catty to each other. It’s almost like a sorority of the brave. Most feel like I do, Baltimore has so much undiscovered talent. We are in it to win it.
Then on the flip side of it (Curse): It is extremely sexist to say to someone that has come to you strictly for business, "you are sexy" - whether you are a man or woman. Sometimes men (in particular) think with the wrong "brain". I am often times offended, but because I know that I "need" this person to accomplish my ultimate goal, I will bite my tongue and not call him out for the immature slime that he presents himself to be. I am not a needy woman. I can really do with out all of the comments about my appearance, the questions about why I don't have a man and the ultimate "let's go out so that we can discuss you upcoming projects and how I might assist". It's funny because I know some guys that haven't been able to accomplish many of the same tasks that I have in a short period of time because of my gender. So, because of that, I think that they think they can get ahead faster by forming an alliance with me. If I was a cult leader, you’d hear about group suicides all over town.
The Baltimore scene is very male dominated, but they welcome the ladies. A dude will get beat up if he disrespects a woman at a hip hop event. Most of the shows have a 3 to 1 male to female ratio. Hey, if a lady is looking for a man and any ole man will do, a hip hop show is a good place to find one. Not all of the guys are grimy thugs either. I see guys in suits come to shows all the time. One of the main problems I have recognized is that Baltimore artists have not learned that their subject matter is not female friendly. We can handle a few b*tches and h*es per night. Any thing beyond that is too much. Then couple this with the fact that a lot of these dudes come to a show looking any kind of way does not help to get women to appreciate their artistry.
In Baltimore, there are very few women out here making noise in the HIPHOP community. I think that a woman will probably be the one’s that really help our city get on the map. I am learning new ways everyday to dodge the comments and keep things on the professional level. I have found that the circles you travel in definitely impact how people treat you. Surrounding yourself with people that respect your brain will not only make you feel better about the scarifies you have to make to survive as an entrepreneur or artist, but it will also help men to see that you can’t go there with everyone that you may find physically appealing. I would recommend that any woman trying to make her mark in this cutthroat area should have strong male alliances. Other men can let you know how to handle men and still leave them wanting to work with you. In this male dominated business, alliances and interacting with men are two of the major skills one must be mastered if a woman wants to be respected for what she brings to the table.
I don't think that people fully grasp the amount of influence women really have in the industry. Women are the backbone. There is a female in the upper management of almost every label. Women are very prominent in the PR business. PR is how artists become household names. There really haven't been that many female artists or producers that have really made their mark in the same way that men have. It's sad because women are some of the better writers and business people. I am really looking forward to some of the new prospects in the game. I hope that a female artist emerges that is sexy, confident and intelligent who is able to redeem the FemCees name in HIPHOP. I am sick of the smut that is popular today. I don't dislike or fault Lil Kim or Foxy Brown for coming in the game and using sex as a weapon. No doubt, that is what they felt they had to do in order to get any kind of shine. I just feel that just like the era of conscious/political rap was unapologetically ushered out, I think "trash" rap needs to be kicked to the curb. It is not good for all of the women in the business that want to be respected for their creativity and not their body or ability to be sexually provocative.
I see more and more female artists coming out that are mothers. I hope this translates into music that has more substance. I think that a strong female perspective would help young men to learn more about how women view life. So many people get their education from music. I want to see women representing those of us that want to work hard for everything we get in life. These women can also let guy listeners know how we feel when they say the things they do. I think more women are realizing that they too can take a seat at the table. There are a lot of women out here that are really making things happen. I hope that other females are inspired by the wonderful examples of females stepping up to get a hunk of the pie for themselves.
In response to the common question of, “Is HIPHOP demoralizing to women?” I think that much of HIPHOP (in its current incarnation) is damaging to women. I feel that many MCs say things with out considering the fact that it is women that actually buy music. In the black community, the subject matter usually focuses on murder, mayhem and scandalous women. So this negativity towards women is magnetized. It’s all around us. I think that as more conscious MCs get the attention they deserve and more female MCs get into the game this will change a little. We still live in a very sexist society, but it can get a little better. I have faith. I try to set a good example whenever I write or attend events which are male dominated. I think that most of us are smart enough (as with everything else in life) to take what we need and want and leave the rest alone.
I always have fun at shows. I LOVE HIP HOP!!! I love most of the artists as people so I guess I’m biased when it comes to being able to see past the vulgar stuff some of them talk a bout. I think that if more women came to shows, Baltimore’s artists would get better. Guys come to me all the time and ask me what I really think about their songs and performances. I tell them the truth. I have noticed that some of them are starting to be way more responsible. That is a good sign. I try to educate guys about proper song selection. When I put on events I like to hear the music they are gonna perform. I always promote to women more than guys. Women will bring men. So I have to make sure that the women in the audience will feel comfortable. Dudes seem to not be affected by much of anything. I think its time that they should.
I am a captain in an army that is dedicated to cultivating and nurturing our local scene. Everyday I am signing up troupes. If you are a fighter, I most definitely need you on my team. Hit me at firstname.lastname@example.org
HIP HOP LIVES, PEOPLE!!! WATCHOUT NOW!!!