As the hip-hop tribute kicked off at this year’s Grammy Awards, Black Thought took center stage to introduce her.
“Fifty years ago, the street princess was born to be an icon. This art form took the whole world by storm. How did she do it? We’re raising money.From sparks to flames in the public domain, dominate by any means…”
But Lady Hip Hop artists were mostly male. Not rude. I enjoyed them all, but I especially liked Busta his Rhymes and his epic speed his Medley. But why haven’t more women taken the stage?
there will be. This summer, Jacob’s Beckett’s Annual International Dance Festival at His Pillow will feature “Hip-Hop Across the Pillow” for a week. From August 2nd to 6th, legends like Rocaffera, Ladies of Hip Hop and Keep Rising to the Top will pop, rock, spin, freeze and battle it out on his two stages at Berkshire. Visiting researcher Imani Kai Johnson then looks back on his fifty years in the genre.
In honor of this historic week, we spoke with some of hip-hop’s contemporary queens. Here’s a medley of their history.
Girls with big hair and gaps in their teeth were just getting cool. She credited her brother for introducing her to her new song, “Rapper’s Delight” by her Sugarhill Gang. But he didn’t expect her to memorize those 15-minute lyrics and start reciting them at her school.
“I said hip, hop, hippie to hippie
Hip to hip hop, and you don’t stop…”
Now, an 8-year-old Latina from New York City was on board. However, she had no plans to become a rapper. In her teenage years, Ana Garcia became obsessed with breaking, or freestyle her dancing during breaks in songs where everything but the beat and groove is lost. She took the genre by storm by becoming one of the first break girls known as B-girls. She needed a new name, something iconic, something as important as Rockefeller Center. There, her mother, to her horror, learns how to turn her neck.
How could that little girl know? For her, hip-hop will be a passport to unexplored territory, a world where women can be active as baseball players.
She didn’t choose between being a mother or a dancer.
Once pregnant, Violeta Garragarza will have to give up her scholarship to the Alvin Ailey Dance School. But she will have a boy. And she opens up a space of her own that her movements transcend.
“I was passionate and hungry,” she says. “And I’m from Spanish Harlem, and I’m Latino, so it’s been a no-no-no all my life.”
The young women and men who came to study with her were silenced by violence and loss. If they had the words, they might have told her that they feared her death as much as they expected her death. She accepted them and said yes.
She will give them a voice and a stage. Many of her students ended up back dancing for artists such as Missy Elliott and Beyoncé.
But 17-year-old Galagarza had one mission. That is to keep the name she gave to the company she founded, KR3T.
When the 23-year-old goddess made history as the first rap artist to win Album of the Year, her eyes lit up and thanked God.
But even she found the honor incredible. “This is crazy, because this is hip-hop music,” Lauryn Hill said to the crowd. “you know what i mean?”
That night she won five Grammy Awards.
The Ladies of Hip Hop is on Facebook. It will appear on Instagram next year. What started as an empowering group for Long Island women has quickly become an international festival.
“Street dance culture has long been a marginalized community,” says Ladies founder Michelle Bird-McPhee. “There’s still a lot to figure out, but while we figure it out, people are watching now.”
Inspired by her music-loving mother and dance battle warrior Marjorie Smart, a role model for women in hip-hop, Bird McPhee founded Ladies in 2004. Her son was thriving in the womb and she carried her son like a backpack. to rehearsal. “How do you do it? Why don’t you apologize for bringing her child?” some of the girls asked her, and she welcomed the opportunity to teach women that there are endless possibilities. .
Being a hip-hop researcher is no light duty for her.
When Dr. Imani Kai Johnson entered the academic world, he was fascinated by cyphers, dance circles that exchange energy between participants. In the cipher, girls, who are often socialized so as not to take up space, are allowed to dance freely while others back off, she explains. If the girl is challenged while in the center of the circle, she can use her movement to stand up and wordlessly say: Yeah, I’m an asshole and I have to respect that.
In essence, Johnson realized that hip-hop gave women and men permission to take up space on the street and on stage. It was a gateway to agency for those who were driven to death.
So when an associate professor at the University of California asked her to co-edit the Oxford Hip-Hop Dance Research Handbook, she understood the risks. A landmark academic ode to the history of the genre was published last year.
In August, Johnson will be a visiting fellow on Hip Hop Across the Pillow. During her celebratory week, Rocaffera will perform her new duet with her husband, Kwikstep, and her Ladies of Hip Hop will be accompanied by d.Rocaffera. Savera Grimes and Keep Rising to the Top take the stage with The Hood Rockers. Other highlights include Lenny Harris’ performance by her Pure Movement and All Her Style her dance battle.
“Women, not what I think, know Women have always been a fundamental component of hip-hop culture,” says Ali Rosa-Salas, associate curator at Jacob’s Pillow. “We will always be here.”
Book your tickets for “Hip Hop Across the Pillow” at www.jacobspillow.org.
You can contact Melissa Karen Sances at firstname.lastname@example.org.