14 Rappers, 14 Countries for UNICEF: Where are the Women MCs?

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by Tom Nguyen

Dear San E and UNICEF,

I was excited to discover your music video #HIPHOPISHIPHOP – Hip Hop for the World bringing together 14 rappers from 14 countries to express the unifying love of hip hop. I love that this video was made in the tradition of the iconic song We Are The World, to bring light on an important global issue: children’s access to education. Except for the venerable KRS-One, I love that I didn’t know any of the rappers. Thanks for giving talented rappers around the world a chance to shine!

Now, I ask…where are the women? I was quickly disappointed to see that out of 14 rappers, there was only one woman, YACKO from Indonesia. Why does this bother me? While every rapper in that video is talented and deserving and I applaud each of them, I have so many reasons for why this gender imbalance in your video upsets me.

Hip hop has historically been a very unfriendly and unfair place for women and it still remains so. Misogyny, homophobia and transphobia are big problems in hip hop songs, lyrics and culture. I’m afraid your video only reinforces the exclusion of women in hip hop. If We Are The World had better inclusion of women in 1985, I’m sure we can do better in 2015.

Since you are using hip hop as a platform for children’s education and your own statistics show that girls suffer greater disadvantage and exclusion from education in so many parts of the world, wouldn’t you have wanted to represent more women as role models? If you had included more women cyphers, I think your message would have been much more powerful and inspiring in your quest for gender equality in education.

After all, you released this video during Women’s History Month and right before International Women’s Day. I think you squandered a very good opportunity to not only address the inequality of access to education, but to also give strength to the message that the ones most affected by that inequality are girls around the world. You could have shown young girls everywhere that they have the same right and ability to succeed in any male-dominated space.

However, I have faith in an organization that is doing so much to achieve gender equality. We’re far from achieving equal human rights and opportunities for one half of the world’s population and it’s critical to keep empowering girls and women worldwide. There are no lack of girls and women on the front lines of society fighting for equality and freedom every day in every part of the world, and hip hop is no exception. In many countries, just being female, queer or trans in male-dominated hip hop is defiant and revolutionary. Below are just 14 of so many countless talented female, queer and trans rappers (in alphabetical order) who are not only rapping but doing so by challenging the status quo and giving voice to marginalized communities around the world. I hope you’ll consider them in a second hip hop video.

Respectfully,
Tom Nguyen

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Subsuelo’s DJ Gozar premieres Poly Ritmo 2 Mix & Upcoming Global Bass Parties in LA


Photo by Farah Sosa(Update 8/8/13: Subsuelo at RG Club on Thur 8/8 is canceled but you can still catch them earlier at Grand Park!)
How do I get through hump day Wednesday? I dance. And the music I love dancing to is Global Bass, the border and genre crossing dance music, heavy with tropical rhythms and electronic beats, flavored with sounds from a global musical palette. Here in LA, no one does global bass better than the Subsuelo collective, known for throwing some of the best underground dance parties and LA-native, DJ Gozar, aka Josh Weiss, is one of its maestro taste-makers. Enjoy his latest mix Poly Ritmo 2, which takes you on a musical world journey exploring Afro-Latin rhythms from Brazil, Colombia and Peru, to Angola and Kenya in the motherland of Africa. DJ Gozar has selected fabulous remixes by Daniel Haaksman, Uproot Andy, Captain Planet, Geko Jones and Atropolis and if nearly an hour of non-stop booty-shaking isn’t enough for you, come shake it some more at these upcoming Subsuelo and global bass events in LA:

Thursday, August 1: Olmeca’s Brown is Beautiful Release Party with Subsuelo, KG Superstar & more @ Los Globos

Saturday, August 3: BassXX Crew with DJ Potira, Bianca Oblivion, Sweet Beats @ Seventy7 Lounge (weekly Saturdays)

Thursday, August 8: Out of Office free outdoor concert series featuring Subsuelo @ Grand Park

Thursday, August 8: Thursday Night Sessions featuring Subsuelo @ RG Club (CANCELED)

Thursday, August 8: Afro Funke featuring Atropolis @ Zanzibar (weekly Thursdays)

Friday, August 9: Muvuca featuring DJ Gozar, DJ Potira, Jose Marquez & more @ Bootleg

Sunday, August 11: Sunset Club with Canyon Cody (Subsuelo), Paul Devro (Mad Decent) & more @ The House of Gods

Sunday, August 11: Brasilia baile funk with DJ Potira @ Agaves Bar (weekly Sundays)

Wednesday, August 21: Subsuelo @ East Side Luv (every 3rd Wednesday)

Thursday, August 22: Cloud City with Canyon Cody (Subsuelo), Derek Beres @ Bar Copa (every 4th Thursday)

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