Uniting and empowering women in hip hop, and encouraging them to collaborate, is certainly the shiny, happy side of a coin where the other option is the mainstream's violence and naked, gyrating women as props. However, if there was ever a ripe time in history for an event like B-Girl Be to occur, it's now. Over the past year, the hip-hop feminist movement has congealed somewhat magically. About a year ago, Spelman College initiated a boycott of Nelly for his graphic, misogynistic video for the song "Tip Drill"; subsequently, the Ying Yang Twins were barred from performing at Florida Atlantic University for their women-degrading lyrics. Essence magazine launched a "Take Back the Music" campaign, printing a series of articles addressing "hip-hop's outlook on black women's sexuality." And recently, the University of Chicago hosted a Feminism and Hip-Hop Conference, which brought together activists, academics, and critics for three days of panels on the mistreatment and degradation of women in hip hop. To some, these events and activities look like signposts that the ladies are getting organized: It's too soon to call it, but the signs are there for a critical mass of hip-hop feminism, which could, ideally, change the way women--especially women of color--are viewed in the hip-hop mainstream.
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