April 2007


Shawnna

Recently I read an interview with rapper Shawnna who brought up a valid point about female rappers. There are few female rappers who are mothers because it is difficult to be an artist and raise a family. In this interview, Shawnna reveals the hardships that females face when their careers take off. The type of abandonment that Shawnna refers to is not exclusive to female rappers but is a conflict that all female entertainers have to face. “We (Shawnna and Remy Martin, another female rapper) both have kids. Before us, the female rappers weren’t mothers. They didn’t have kids. The industry doesn’t understand how to deal with us. We can’t be gone forever all the time. I had Jeff Dixon of DTP tell me today that “you need to be thinking about just never being home” and I had this conflict with him that there’s no such thing. I have two children, there’s no such thing as never being home. Y’all gon’ have to make adjustments to where the bus is kid-safe or you’re buying additional tickets. There’s no such thing as I’ll never be home.” The problem of leaving the kids home while the mother pursues a career is very common, especially when the job requires the mother to be on the road. This is a dilemma since mothers, like Shawnna ,want to be physically present in their child’s life but do not know how to negotiate their jobs. Not only are the mothers unsure about how to balance their careers, but those who are in higher positions than the artists are also oblivious to the ways that a mother (more…)

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I thought that it would only be right if we examined females’ participation in rap music early on in rap’s history. Starting with the 1980’s, female rappers have taken the mic with something to say in response to how they are viewed and talked about by men. The most prominent female rappers from this era are Sha Rock, The Real Roxanne, and Roxanne Shante. These rappers came before the well-respected and memorable MC Lyte and Queen Latifah.

I found this clip that gives the history of one of the pioneers of female rappers, Roxanne Shante, from Queensbridge Projects in Queens, New York. The clip takes about 20 seconds to start so please be patient.

After hearing this story, it seems like Shante may be partially responsible for igniting the rap battles that are so popular in hip hop. Even if she isn’t, (more…)