Tag Archives: hip-hop

Hip Hop’s Oppressive Gender Roles Explored with Bay Area Activists

Last week Tuesday, USF students gathered for “Hip Hop Conversations,” with Davey D and Andreana Clay, individuals that were introduced as “two of the Bay Area’s most important hip hop scholars,” to discuss gender and sexuality within the realm of hip hop.

Hip Hop Conversations are two nights in February that are put on by the Intercultural Center and the Esther Madriz Diversity Scholar Living Learning Community along with the African American Studies department. The events come in time for February, Black History Month.
On the night of the first event, students discussed ideas of women’s roles, masculinity and queer identity, the definition of hip hop between cultures, and the influence of hip hop artists in recent history.

Andreana Clay, a writer on hip-hop culture, queer sexuality, youth activism, and hip-hop feminism, spoke on how women are degraded in the culture of hip hop. “How can women respect the music when it doesn’t respect them,” asked Clay, who is also an associate professor of sociology at San Francisco State University. Although Clay is often offended by how women are portrayed in this culture, she is a hip hop lover herself. She explained that it is not always the case that men oppress women, and “the women that are in charge are part of the larger scene that are creating the [negative] images in the first place.”
Davey D is a hip-hop journalist, professor, activist, radio programmer and co-founder of Hard Knock Radio, a talk show for the hip hop generation. He responded to similar questions of gender and explored why such contradictions exist. Drawing from his involvement on hip hop as a DJ since 1977 in Queens, Davey D recognized that in all music, sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll is what attracts people — sex sells and consumers want rebellion.

Davey D and Dr. Clay agree that these hip hop’s contradictions are so pronounced because what society finds captivating isn’t always morally correct. One of these is the notion of being “hard,” exemplified by recent hip hop artists such as Rihanna, Dr. Dre and Naz—the danger being that acting tough can often result in promotion of violence. This relates to the expectation of men to not show emotion. Davey D thinks that the if we can break down this  stereotype, “more queer space” will be able to open up, he said. Although he was raised to  never come across as vulnerable, he clarified, “I’m not no thug type of cat!”

Through his “quest for social justice,” Davey D hopes people can start to move away from these gender stereotypes. “My identity demands that I stand against oppression,” he said. Surrounding oneself with people that are moving towards fighting such stereotypes and being an ally to victims is the easiest way to make this a way to life, he said.

For more from Andreana Clay and Davey D, check out the next Hip Hop Conversations event, “Activism and Politics,” in Berman Room, Fromm Hall on Feb. 19 at 6 p.m.

Films to Watch in Honor of Black History Month

In 1926 historian Carter G. Woodson started “Negro History Week” in the second week of February. It has since blossomed into Black History Month. During this month, bus-boycotter Rosa Parks was born, feminist and writer Alice Water was born, the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People was founded, feminist and poet Audre Lorde was born, the Anarchist People of Color was founded and writer W.E.B. DuBois was born. To celebrate Black History Month, this is a list of movies from black directors, writers and actors that are perfect to watch in celebration, or during any month throughout the year. Some of these are my old favorites, others discovered with help from Media Studies professor Teresa Moore.

1) Within Our Gates from director Oscar Micheaux starring Evelyn Preer, Alma Prichard, Flo Clements, James D. Ruffin, Jack Chenault (1920). A story about the plight of the African-American community, this film is the oldest surviving film from a black director. It is a silent film that chronicles an African-American woman’s journey North to find enough funding to keep a school for poor black students open.

2) Eve’s Bayou from director Kasi Lemmons starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jurnee Smollett, Meagan Good, Lynn Whitfield, Debbi Morgan (1997). This film chronicles the turbulent family life of a black family in 1960s Louisiana with an all star cast.

3) Do the Right Thing from director Spike Lee starring Danny Aiello, Ruby Dee, Spike Lee, Ossie Davis, John Turturro (1989). Racial conflict hits an all time high on a single street in Brooklyn neighborhood Bedford-Stuyvesant on the hottest day of the year.

4) Malcolm X from director Spike Lee starring Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Al Freeman Jr., Sonny Jim Gaines, Albert Hall (1992). “Malcolm X” presents a mesmerizing story about the life of black American hero Malcolm X from his days as a hustler to his embrace of Islam.

5) The Color Purple from director Steven Speilberg starring Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Avery, Willard E. Pugh (1985). Based on the novel by African-American novelist Alice Waters, this film shows a poor black woman from the South that overcomes abuse through friendships.

6) Boyz N the Hood from Director John Singleton starring Laurence Fishburne, Angela Basset, Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr. (1991). Set in South Central Los Angeles in the 1980’s, this Academy Award nominated film explores the interplay of race, poverty and violence.

7) New Jack City from director Mario Van Peebles starring Wesley Snipes, Ice T, Judd Nelson, Chris Rock, Vanessa Williams (1991). Controversial and viewed by some as exploitative and glorifying the drug world, “New Jack City” presents a gritty view of the underground cocaine industry.

8) Daughters of the Dust from director Julie Dash starring Cora Lee Day, Alva Rogers, Barbaro, Trula Hoosier, Umar Abdurrahamn (1991). Three generations of Gullah (from the Sea Islands in the South) women migrate to the American mainland in the early 1900s and risk losing their cultural identity.

9) One False Move from director Carl Franklin starring Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thorton, Michael Beach, Earl Billings (1992). An all star cast gets wrapped up in a crime thriller when drug deals, murder and law enforcement collide in Arkansas.

10) 4 Little Girls from director Spike Lee (1997). This Academy Award nominated documentary focuses on the racially related bombing of a Baptist church in 1963 that’s responsible for the death of four young girls and the expansive cultural impact.

Melissa’s Mix Tape: Getting Down With Hip Hop

I love hip hop. I love it to the point that I have a poster of N.W.A’s “Straight Outta Compton” album cover over the mantel in my bedroom. To the point of dishing out $20 to own Jay Z’s “Black Album” on vinyl. It’s a genre with a history of political resistance alongside great party jams. Filled with innovation, it took elements of musical history and used them to develop something special, unique. Enough of my rambling. While I’m fairly out of touch with much of mainstream contemporary hip hop music (though I did manage to catch Lil Wayne with Soulja Boy last summer), it’s time for a mix devoted to the genre. Here’s my hip hop mixtape:

1) “Yo! Bum Rush the Show” by Public Enemy off of “Yo! Bum Rush the Show”

2) “Footprints” by “A Tribe Called Quest” off of “Peoples’ Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm”

3) “Powers” by Blackalicious off of “The Craft”

4) “Paul Revere” by the Beastie Boys off of “Licensed to Ill”

5) “Me, Myself and I” by De La Soul off of “3 Feet High and Rising”

6) “If It Wasn’t for You” by Handsome boy Modeling School, De La Soul and Starchild Excalibur off of “White People”

7) “Express Yourself” by N.W.A off of “Straight Outta Compton”

8) “Parents Just Don’t Understand” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince off of “He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper”

9) “99 Problems” by Jay Z off of “The Black Album”

10) “It’s Tricky” by Run DMC off of “Raising Hell”

11) “Just a Friend” by Biz Markie off of “Just a Friend EP”

12) “It’s Nasty” by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five off of “The Message”

13) “Trying to Find a Balance” by Atmosphere off of “Seven’s Travels”

14) “This Way” by Dilated Peoples off of “Neighborhood Watch”

15) “Posse on Broadway” by Sir-Mix-A-Lot off of “Swass”

N.E.R.D., B.o.B. to Perform at Homecoming

Campus Activities Board (CAB) announced last week that hip-hop group N.E.R.D. (No One Ever Really Dies) will perform at USF’s homecoming concert on Friday November 6th. B.o.B will open for N.E.R.D.

CAB chose these acts in response to a survey process in which they elicited student feedback and preferences on genre.  Hip hop has dominated the homecoming concert for a few years, with artists like Common, Wyclef Jean and Lupe Fiasco performing.

Linda Tran, sophomore business major and CAB promotions assistant, sat outside of the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement (SLE) selling tickets on Monday.  In just an hour, she sold ten tickets.   Tran said,  “N.E.R.D has always been floating around as a choice. They are one of those groups that you just want to hear in concert.” Kim Mai, homecoming concert director, said CAB tried to book the group last year but could not afford it.  Mai said “Based on our surveys last year, 21% of the students asked for hip hop, 17% Alternative, and 16% for rock.” CAB surveyed 1,056 students.

In relation to homecoming, Tran said “Hip hop is always a popular genre.”  While the homecoming week generally takes place in February, USF decided to move it up so they could include it as part of the Fall Fest, a series of on campus events hosted by the Office of Residence Life.  The other events involved with homecoming, the dance and the pep rally, will still take place.  Although last year CAB charged an entrance fee to the dance, Tran said this year admission will be free.

Tickets will not be sold at the door. Prices are $5 for USF students/$10 the day of show.

Lupe Rocks Sold Out Homecoming Concert

Lupe Fiasco performs 1

Lupe Fiasco, DJ Simon Says and drummer Baby Bam performed several of Fiasco’s songs and one of Kanye West’s songs at the crowded homecoming concert on Friday night. Over 2,000 students came to the sold out show in War Memorial Gym. (Chelsea Sterling|Foghorn)

Apathy was at a low Friday night at War Memorial Gym as students eagerly anticipated the arrival of hip-hop artist and performer Lupe Fiasco, at this year’s homecoming concert. Although Lupe Fiasco only performed for about an hour, approximately 500 students, alumni and staff crowded the basketball court to hear him perform. Even USF President Rev. Stephen Privett, S.J, made an appearance at the beginning of the concert.

President of the Campus Activities Board Courtney Ball said that there were 2,500 tickets available and that the concert was sold out. During the pep rally ASUSF directed students to the ticket booth, which may have contributed to the boost in sales. Attendance at the concert, however, ranged from 400-500 people. The doors opened at 7:30, but Fiasco did not come on stage until 9:15. Alex Platt, an event staff worker, said of the concert, “I thought it went pretty smoothly.” After working with Wyclef Jean, last year’s homecoming performer, on his music video “If I Was President,” Platt was disappointed that Fiasco did not have much interaction with students. While Jean let event staff and some students listen to his sound check before the concert, Fiasco made students leave and did not sign autographs or meet with students before the concert. Platt said, “He wanted to do his own thing. He didn’t really want to interact with students.” On the other hand, Platt said of Jean, “He was very into talking to his fans.” Platt pointed out that the way that both artists came on to campus was significant. Jean entered near Fromm Hall and walked through campus, shaking hands and greeting students as he made his way to the gym. Fiasco entered the gym through a side door, limiting his face time with student fans.

Lupe Fiasco performs 2

Although most students enjoyed Lupe Fiasco’s performance at the homecoming concert, some wished he had played longer than his scheduled one hour show. (Chelsea Sterling|Foghorn)

Platt was in charge of the pep rally this year. When the band canceled and miscommunications occurred with the dance team, student turnout suffered. Next year, Platt proposes to hold the pep rally before the concert because students will already be gathered and waiting for the performer. If the basketball team was brought on stage before the performer, the audience’s excitement might transform into school spirit.The music seemed to resonate with students. Even students who don’t identify as hip-hop fans enjoyed Fiasco’s performance at the concert. Chet Bentley, a sophomore media studies major, said the music was not his style, but “it was energetic and appealed to the masses.”

Bentley liked the concert because Fiasco was cool and young. Fiasco played many of his popular songs like “Superstar,” “Daydreamin’,” “Go Go Gadget Flow” and one of Kanye West’s songs, “Touch the Sky.” Fiasco’s backup performers included DJ Simon Says and drummer Baby Bam. 2007 alumnus Ilya Fishman said, “I was really excited to see him. He is a real rap artist with great music. I was already a huge fan so seeing him live was awesome.”Ball said that some students were disappointed Fiasco didn’t perform longer, but Platt said that the concert time was previously established for one hour. Sophomore Katrina Valdez said that although the concert was shorter than Wyclef Jean’s, it was better. She said, “He [Fiasco] brought a good atmosphere.”