Friday, August 21, 2009

Caught Up: Old School Friday Prom Songs

I thought I had expert knowledge, but had no idea of what life was about during my prom days. Being "caught up" but not "caught out there" is nostalgic. It is also an act of grace. Thank God.

You Got Me Goin' In Circles:

Can I?

Original Version

Later Version

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Walking On Turbulent Waters: FemCees Flipping Pain

The "most beautiful music (and artistic expression)comes from pain and struggle."

Black women have a life span that exceeds that of black men by seven years. The reason, I believe, is that they process pain and struggle far more effectively than black men. The men often internalize anger, pain and struggle which becomes destructive as it devolves into health problems. Women, by and large, are able to survive longer because they are able to creatively channel or redirect the negativity into other areas including artistic expression where they have their own unique voice.

The artistic contribution to hip hop by women and of hip hop feminism has long been downplayed, ignored or outright denied. This theme is wonderfully articulated in my personal favorite works such as Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology edited by Gwen Pough, Elaine Richardson, Aisha Durham and Rachel Raimist and Pough's Check It While I Wreck It.

A welcome addition to the literary works of the aforementioned pioneers is Say My Name, a new documentary by Mamamess, directed by Nirit Peled which has been six years in the making.

The documentary promo states:
In a hip hop and R’n’B world dominated by men and noted for misogyny, the unstoppable female lyricists of Say My Name speak candidly about class, race, and gender in pursuing their passions as female MCs. This worldwide documentary takes viewers on vibrant tour of urban culture and musical movement: from hip hop’s
birthplace in the Bronx, to grime on London’s Eastside.

The personal stories of 18 artists, FemCees and Lady DeeJays such as Remy Ma, Rah Digga,Jean Grae, Erykah Badu, Estelle and newcomers Chocolate Thai, Invincible and Miz Korona reveal women balancing their professional dreams with the stark realities of urban poverty, racism, sexism, and motherhood.

The common themes connecting the new work to previously mentioned literary works is women speaking for women and women turning adversity into art.

Gangsta rap is just a part of hip hop, and a dying part at that. It is also the portion owned and distributed entirely by white corporate interests.

Thankfully, there is a new generation with a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them and that operates in a different context.

Included in this "post hip hop" generation are male and female voices whose messages empower rather than denigrate or exploit women.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Old School Friday: Turning Point

What cha' Gonna Do For Me by Chaka Khan was released in 1981, year of my baby's birth causing me to look at life entirely different than I ever had. Can't forget the song, the year, the new birth.