THE IMAGES OF WOMEN IN HIPHOP!
The topic of women in hiphop has been an ongoing debate for many years! I have been involved in several discussions about this topic over the years, and it is amazing how the opinions vary? Some folks are very strong minded about their beliefs, and others could really care less. Nonetheless, everyone that I have debated with on this subject have one thing in common. They all really love hiphop music! I love hiphop music as well, and I guess that is why I try to concentrate more on the positives of the music rather than the negatives? Are the images of women in hiphop positive or negative?? Hmmm...U be the judge! I broke this topic down into two catagories. One is "HipHop Video Models a.k.a Video Vixens" and the other is "Female Rappers." I actually feel like these are two seperate issues, but they overlap at times.
As we all know, music videos have come a long way since the last 20 years. Not only has the quality of the video gotten much better, but it has become a very important marketing tool for today's artists! Not having a video for a new single can be detrimental to how well the song does on the music charts, and it could ultimately effect the overall album sales! Videos are BIG business, so the music labels want you to watch their artist's particular video! How do they do that?? Even though women have moved up tremendously on society's food chain, unfortunately men still pretty much run everything (to a degree)?? Oh yeah, and SEX still sells in even 2006, right! The largest consumer of hiphop music in this country is still young males, so when you add all of that together...what do you get?? Yep, you guessed it, "The Video Vixen!" I still remember when I first saw the infamous 2 Live Crew video for "Move Somethin" back in 1987 on Video Jukebox, and how that quickly became my favorite video! I could care less about the production or the mediocre rappin' on the track. I was only interested in seeing the honeys! They all had on tight dresses and biker shorts, showing off the goodies to keep all the young horny males watching. Now, the video girls back in 1987 ain't got nothing, and I mean NUTHIN' on the video vixens in 2006!! We have gone from tight slinky dresses to half naked, and in some cases totally nude! Cable is a wonderful thang...yes it is!!
Whether you agree with it or not, being a video vixen is big business. Some careers have been built from being in the right rap video? Just ask Leila Arcieri and Melyssa Ford! Booty has become an obsession over the last few years. Not just booties, but Big booties!! Think about it. When was the last time you saw a rap video "without" some serious ass shakin' goin on? Yeah, there are a few, but not many? If it wasn't for ass and rims, I don't know what half of these katz would be rappin' about? I must admit...I like a nice azz like the next man, but after a while it all starts looking the same? Every female in the videos has got the same long weaves, wearing thongs with stilettos to match, so the excitement has been lost? So, why keep doing it? I guess it's cool that some of the women get some face time on tv? Some of them feel like they may get their big break being on the set of one these videos, or maybe even catch one of these unsuspecting rappers and become a hiphop wife?? NOT!! Read "Confessions of a Video Vixen" by Karrine Steffans to find out some of the stuff that supposedly goes on between rappers and video girls? Some folks feel that these women are being exploited? I totally disagree with that, because these women choose to be in these rap videos! There is no secret of what is expected in these videos, and if they feel like they are being exploited or violated, they should leave. Everything is a choice. No one puts a gun to their head, right? "Good Googly Moogly!"
This "Sex Sells/Big Booties Everywhere" mode that hiphop is in has caused havoc for the female rapper as well. First the female rapper had to push the door down to get any respect from the male rappers, and now this! Remember when Queen Latifah and Monie Love were preaching about "Ladies First?" Times have changed. To get noticed as a female rapper in 2006, you have to be sexy (or try to be anyway). Remy Ma (Terror Squad) and Shawnna (DTP) that are currently blazing the charts? Both of them are selling the sexy image. Is that why their videos are getting played? If they changed up their image, and dressed more rugged with no make-up or weaves, would they still be popular?? Both of them are decent on the mic, but there are two other female MCs that would verbally abuse these two ladies with no problem! These two ladies are none other than Jean Grae (shown in the pic above) and Apani B Fly! I am quite sure most of you have never even heard of them?? Why? Both are attractive, but they want to be recognized for their lyrical abilities and not just for being sexy. A "Rap Hoe" as I have heard it described. You have to wonder why these two ladies have not gotten their due yet, but less lyrical female rappers like Trina, Khia, Lil' Kim and Jackie-O have? Not only are these two ladies better than your average female rapper, but they could lyrically handle most of the so-called male rappers as well. Jean and Apani both understand why the obstacles have been placed in front of their careers over the years, but they still remain determined to be true themselves and hiphop as a whole! I totally respect their position on this topic, but it's ashame the hiphop world may never get to see the full potential both of these ladies have to offer?
I have been a true fan of Jean Grae for a minute now! She has a sick sense of humor that is really appealing? She doesn't take herself too serious, and she speaks on subject matter that many others avoid. She's a gifted lyricist with a lot of passion for the craft, which I appreciate!
Checkout this video for her cut "The Jam!"
Jean Grae - The Jam
Is having Video Vixens in a rap video the only way to make it worth watching?
Do female rappers have to sell sex to be successful in 2006?