EW Bemoans 3rd Annual BET Sausage Party

EW_jay-z.jpgThe great thing about Entertainment Weekly's "Popwatch" blog is they often post about Hip Hop. If you're lucky, you'll happen upon an entry that decries a reality that not enough blogs (specifically Hip Hop blogs) are willing to decry, like the glaring lack of female MCs. Sadly, this was made plain by the all-male nominees of BET's 2008 Hip Hop Awards. Look, no one's saying this is BET's fault; the network is going to recognize who's popular and men are currently at the forefront. (Although we suspect that if there were enough female MCs to pick and choose from they probably wouldn't play their videos anyway, considering how it would conflict with their internal mandate of keeping depictions of Black woman with brains, creativity and clothes to a minimum.) But it's almost not worth recognizing Hip Hop if you cannot celebrate its diversity. (Look, I get it, it's BET, but hear me out). If women are not involved, there's nothing to award or celebrate. Basically, we are patting a bunch of dudes on the back for successfully silencing our sisters or using them as props.

Between Simon Vozick-Levinson and his commenters, a case was made for the following female artists:

Estelle: "After all, she raps, she's from the U.K., and her outstanding 2008 U.S. debut CD, Shine, is the finest offering from a female rapper since Lauryn Hill's 1998 classic, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill."

She needs to rap a little more often to qualify, IMHO.

M.I.A.: "Hello, 'Paper Planes' is the jam! (It's also No. 5 on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart, with sales in excess of 1.3 million.)"

Too bad the BET audience was only recently introduced to her via "Swagger Like Us."

Queen Latifah: "Take our advice, BET: Bestow the coveted I Am Hip-Hop Icon Award to Queen Latifah. Not because she's a woman, but because she deserves it."

But that would be too much like right. Besides, VH-1 (sad enough) is better at honoring Hip Hop legends than BET. No one else finds that bizzarre? Jean Grae also came up in the discussion (as she always does), but there's nothing about her that appeals to 12-year-olds, thereby disqualifying her from any recognition or rotation by BET.

So what's the solution to all this? One, don't rely on that network for any respectable variety of Black music, least of all Hip hop. Two, simply don't hold an entire ceremony that awards Hip Hop artists. It's redundant because there's already a BET Awards (we're willing to bet they came up with this second awards show to absorb any charges of coonery since it's come to be expected with an all-Hip Hop lineup. Ever see the Ozones?), and you represent one idea of Hip Hop which, to me at least, flies directly in the face of what Hip Hop should be.

The industry needs to re-align itself before it starts receiving all these accolades, even if they are coming from that network. I do not care how hot Lil' Wayne, Jay-Z and Kanye are right now. As long as it's "No Girls Allowed", Hip Hop probably shouldn't be getting any props.


BET Presents... An Award Show Without Women [PW]


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6 Responses

  1. Amen with white gloves and an MLK fan.
    This is such a complex issue though.
    There's the general boys' club mentality of hip-hop, but skills can break through that because they're the ultimate arbiter of respect. This issue is more like a playground bully that you can knock down with some preparation and gumption.
    But the giant mutant juggernaut that stomps out potentially dope female emcees if they dare scurry out into the open is entrenched society-wide sexism focused through the exploitative music industry. That shit makes sisters either get buck nekkit, undergo plastic surgery or just hang up the mic for good.
    It's so sad that all I have right now is Jean, Bahamadia and Invincible.
    Not sad, a tragedy.
    As long as it's "No Girls Allowed", Hip Hop probably shouldn't be getting any props.
    I don't think I'll be able to look at it any other way anymore.

  2. Preach, nOva. Preach.
    @ DJ Stylus: You're right about sexism always being an issue. But at this point in hip-hop's history can skills alone will clear a path for the next great female MC? Should that even be the case? All that model does is prove that a women need to be infinitely better than men to get even a fraction of the shine, which is one of the most significant impacts of sexism in general. Also, there are so many sub-par male MCs getting praise for me to back the contention that skills = props.

  3. @ Ro:
    re: skills, I was talking about fundamental hip-hop principles, not the bizarro world we live in today. I should have made it clear I was speaking idealistically. What we have now ceased being a meritocracy loooong ago, which is of course why most popular cats are garbage. A female mc will probably never again break through on skills alone.
    *pulls up MC Lyte in iTunes*
    I don't even mind one who gets attention because of her looks as long as I can hear substance, talent and creativity on the records. Even Jean's showing some skin these days, and some of her fans have beefed about it. It's a shame that sexuality can't just be a natural component of someone's identity because women's bodies are such a battleground of sexism that the flipside to exploitation is hyper-militancy.

  4. Sexism is blatant through all of hip-hop today. I have stopped purchasing and rarely listen to most of the artists now. The male artists that are repped constantly through BET are sub-par and talk mostly about how great their bedroom skills, dubs and whips are or degrade women. Their lyrics are misogynistic and insulting, especially since most likely a single woman raised them. Women have seldom been able to break the glass ceiling of hip hop.. It's been that case almost since it's inception with very few exceptions. A female MCs with skills alone is not going to change the hip hop genre. And as a former hip hop head (33 years old and the mother of 2 daughters), I have come to the decision that it's in all of our best interests for us to receive a better message. Chuck D, KRS-One, MC Lyte through Lauryn Hill and even NAS and Kanye all have demonstrated that hip hop can be more than that. Until it is, I will continue to believe that true Hip Hop is Dead.

  5. I totally agree. This is my first time to this page. I was linked here by a friend of mine who shares my love for what used to be hip hop. I never thought I'd see a day that I would not support a hip hop award show. But everything acknowledged here is so true & why I don't watch BET like I used too.
    I've been blogging topics on my myspace page about the lack of women in hip hop for the past 2 years. Matter of fact this year, I did a 3 part series acknowledging femcees past, present & future. The future showcased current females like Jean Grae, Invincible, Psalm One, & many other underground females. It's some dope females out there that are not getting any exposure. It reminds me of the movie "Love & Basketball" before the WNBA, when the women had to go overseas to have a career in basketball. Hip hop has become like that.
    Jean Grae, IMO, is the tightest femcee I've heard in years & hotter than 90% of the guys on the radio. Everybody brings her name up in hip hop discussions, but she's yet to get her dues in the media. I guess if she start singing, she'll get more buzz.

  6. To be real, it's not BETs fault.We can put blame on anybody.Reason why there is barely any good representation of female emcees because they are sex infested.I blame Kim,Trina and I can't name most of them because they are garbage.Hip Hop can not be the blame for everything because there is great music other than what is out today.Sexism has been here for a while, ask Bill Clinton, I'm pretty sure Hip Hop has a connection to that.


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