i was feeling a little under the weather on saturday night so i fell on my couch, got cosy and started netflix. then got excited because netflix apparently knows my shit and advertised the 4 part documentary about the evolution of hip hop right in my face. it’s not that i don’t know or haven’t seen documentaries about hip hop but after all it was hosted by shad and i thought shad knows his stuff. so what could possibly go wrong, right? nice evening on the couch, good music and some anecdotes… girl, was i wrong. and boy am i tired of this.
after one and a half episodes i was so mad i started planing this text. i’m not sure why i kept watching – i think i just didn’t want to believe that in this day and age they would still throw women under the bus and produce some non-reflective shit like that. but eh sometimes i’m too naive – i finished the whole thing that night. 4 episodes. 4 hours. a lot more facepalming and shouting at the tv.
because what could’ve been a well produced documentary about the history, struggles and wins for hip hop was just another flat, uncritical and very boring show with boring questions and the usual facts and stories, repeated a million times. you probably could have cut the content down to one and a half hour and wouldn’t miss a thing. if i had the time i would rewatch and count how often the face of hip hop was changed forever* by one of the guys and the guys only. which leads us to my real issue with the show – and i actually can’t believe i have to write this: where my girls at?
in all of the first two episodes they were three mentions* of women in the music business, …one of them was blondie. the second was too short to even remeber and the third mention went to sylvia robinson, the smart mind who brought the sugar hill gang to life. but despite the fact she must have made tons of cash and was obviously a smart business women and producer, ms robinson was the bad one. because she commercialized the genre. bad bad thing. as we all know. *coughs*
at the end of episode 3 roxanne shanté gets about 10 seconds to praise kurtis blow and they flash in a picture of queen latifah’s album cover. and that’s it. episode 4 includes no. women. at. all. in fact, before they interviewed any black woman they rather let the white dudes talk.
epsiode 4 ends with dr. dre going solo, which would be the year 1992. off the top of my head i can name at least 4 mcs*** active at that time or before – when dre was still spinning electro – who also happen to be women and NONE of whose work was acknowledged in this documentary. why? because teenage girls kicked your butt at the mic and you’re to ashamed to admit it?
especially black women have always taken their time and energy to educate and call out you shitheads. (have) risk their health and life when pointing out the sexism, the abuse and violence against women and others and there is absolutely no excuse for them being ignored the way this documentation does.
all the information is out there. it has always been there. since the begining of hip hop there were women involved …and gay people and genderqueer. stop silencing them and start questioning your heroes. you can love and still critise them. in fact you should. so do better.
*seriously, hip hop just took it’s first steps, of course shit changes.
**besides the countless numbers about getting all the girls and ‚females‘ of course
*** and it should be more tbh