Melissa Harris-Perry, on the heels of last week’s conference on hip-hop and feminism at Tulane University (which she spearheaded), tapped Jean Grae to appear on her show to further the continual discussion on why women’s voices are needed in hip-hop. Unfortunately, it’s a battle that we’re losing on the mainstream level. A lot of popular media would rather focus on artists who either make a spectacle (and I don’t mean that in a good way) or because they have a famous cosign. For every one woman you don’t see representing in the mainstream, there are about ten more doing it on an independent and/or underground level.
For every ten doing it on an indie or underground level, maybe about five actually have talent and two out of that five aren’t using trite lyrical formulas that consist of materialism, pretending to be mafia princesses, and hyper-sexuality ad nauseam. None of these stats are scientific, of course, they’re all guesstimates based on my own experiences with artists in the industry, but I’m just saying…
Anyway, despite the lack of a diverse representation of women in hip-hop on a mainstream platform, there are still positive women making noise, so I appreciate Melissa Harris-Perry’s contribution to this saga, especially since she has the power of MSNBC behind her.
Check out MHP and Jean Grae as they chat gender and sexuality in hip-hop:
In related news, Jean Grae’s latest project, Gotham Down, was listed by the Village Voice as one of the “10 Best New York City Rap Albums” of 2013. Admittedly, I’ve been jaded and out of the loop when it comes to hip-hop (because I got tired of fighting for balance in a world where people would rather be vapid and ignorant all the time), so I didn’t even realize that Jeannie released new music. She’s one of my favorite artists, so I have some catching up to do.
If you’re not familiar with Jean Grae at all, I guarantee that most women, especially young women, will be able to relate to her lyrics. Start with songs like, “Whatever,” “Love Song,” “My Story,” “Don’t Rush Me” (my anthem),“What Would I Do,” “P.S.,” or even her verse on Talib Kweli’s “Black Girl Pain.” Then, find your way to her debut album, Attack of the Attacking Things, followed by This Week, and work your way up to Gotham Down, which has been described as an audio graphic novel. It’s album one of a trilogy.
Did I mention that Jean Grae also has a killer singing voice? Well, yeah, she does. It’s only right for the child of jazz musicians.
Before you go, did you see the dope “Queen By Nature” sweater she had on during her interview (I WANT!)?
If interested, the company responsible is Herthreads.