Monday, April 30, 2007

She Rhymes Like a Girl - Tribeca Film Festival

There is much to say about this past month of April. So much so that I talked so much until even I don't want to say a mumbling word about anything.

It struck me that most of the people in M$M doing the talking about the disrespecting of African-American Women were mostly male people. With a few exceptions, the dialog was conveyed male to male. That must change.

This is a short film shown at the Tribeca Film Festival. There are a collection of short films over on Yahoo. She Rhymes Like A Girl is one part performance and one part illumination about how women are educating themselves on creating their own hip-hop and rap traditions. Class is in session. The first few seconds are not safe for work unless you have headphones.

Some Thoughts

The Hip-Hop conference. You know I've seen the news article about it. The only definite take away that I can tell you that I got from reading the news about it is the following line:

"Sexism is too convenient within the black community for black men," said David Ikard, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee. "This issue of Imus came up and I asked the black men in my hip-hop course what were their stakes in it. They were like, 'Well, we don't really have any stakes in it. It seems trivial."He called on black men to do more to speak up for black women."

CARLA K. JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer April 30, 2007 as seen in the Chicago Defender

I learned long ago not to wait for somebody to rescue me. Or to save me. Or to defend me. I don't buy music that offends me. Don't care about the beat if the words try to beat me down.

I am not against hip-hop or rap. We need all forms of creativity. I'm not even against sexual content in music. I am against verbal abuse, disrespect and women hating in any form. Express your anger (in music) but the emancipation cannot be revoke - we are a free people with a voice.

I also know that young men don't necessarily have the language skills to articulate what they really mean. I'm not trying to be insulting. There is a transitional cognitive phase of adulthood and young men between 18 and 25 are still trying to figure things out. You would hope that their parents would have planted some seeds about respect a long time ago.

I also know that African-American women have been talking about the increasing vulgarity of some rap and hip-hop music and videos. For more than 20+ years. The fact that we were not listened to, heard or acknowledge is not our problem. Like the young man said, "It seemed trivial to you."

We women folk also know that the gatekeepers, i.e. record companies, radio stations, advertisers and the current incarnation of BET have no financial incentive to stop producing derogatory products unless and until there is no money left to be made.

Where am I going with this? Well, like the ladies in the video we must make our own music or mode of creativity. We must speak up even if some of the men want us to be silent. What the men folk choose to do with their voices is on them.

Let us hope that they step up with some positive yet funky flow but I ain't waiting. Neither should you. What ever it is on the positive tip you have been postponing get to it. We are in triage mode.

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