Hip-Hop is a Discursive Sport

by Lisa Merolle

Two conference-goers chat with Women's History first year, Alexandria Linn. Photo by Nydia Swaby.

Spirits were high at the 12th Annual Sarah Lawrence Women’s History Conference The Message in the Music: Hip-Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music, and More as attendees piled into the living room at Slonim House for the last session of the day. They were perched at edge of the overcrowded sofa, on windowsills, and stairs for the panel, “Love, Sex and Magic: Hip-Hop Feminism as a Tool for the Creative Renegotiation of Black Female Desire,” presented by four scholars from the University of Alabama. Despite the late hour and the long day the atmosphere hummed with energy from an audience eager to learn. Continue reading

Music, Feminism & Women’s History Month

It’s clear that at Sarah Lawrence College, Women’s History month was all about the intersections of music and feminism this year. So in honor of the last day of Women’s History month (which also happens to be César Chávez Day and International Transgender Day of Visibility) I want to direct you to a blog I love about the intersections of feminism and music, called Rock and the Single Girl. Continue reading

Carmen Ashhurst Discusses the Music Industry

Photo by Rosamund Hunter

This year’s keynote speaker at the 12th Annual Women’s History Conference was Carmen Ashhurst, former president of Def Jam Records and Rush Communications.  Ashhurst’s invaluable perspectives on the music industry gave her an eager audience for the conference’s theme, “The Message is in the Music: Hip-Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music, and More.”

Ashhurst worked alongside Russell Simmons before the commercial explosion of hip-hop in the early 1990s.  A former political activist in Grenada, she began working in the music industry at a time when it was more radical and subversive.

Ashhurst’s talk was rooted in the belief that hip-hop’s most popular acts now foster sexist, racist images and that much of the successful rap music today represents a “profound racial self-hatred.”  She emphasized that she and other women executives lost control as hip-hop became more popular and marketed to a mass audience.  Ashhurst asserted, “The music business is about selling music, not making music.” Continue reading

The Message is in the Music: Hip Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music & More

As you may know, Sarah Lawrence College’s 12th Annual Women’s History Conference, The Message is in the Music: Hip Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music & More is this weekend. The RE/VISIONIST team is super excited about it, and some of us will be moderating panels.

Schedule:

Continue reading