If FemCees Weren’t So Busy Being Cute, They’d Have a Job?

lil_kim_2.jpgMy inner feminist is in fight-mode right now because of a widely-circulated quote from an industry insider. We've spent the last few weeks lamenting the lack of female MCs in Hip Hop because, seriously, who else will? But the folks at EW once again are willing to point out this f***ery. According to a source, the reason labels aren't willing to invest in female MCs is because of grooming costs: 

''Hair and makeup is killing female hip-hop... The grooming cost to break a female rapper versus a male rapper is 10 times as much per appearance. That tends to have an adverse effect on a record company's willingness to even entertain a female rapper.''

I call BS all over this. With all the yards and yards of silky yaki weave and troughs of MAC lipglass being budgeted for these poptarts and so-called divas, not to mention all the male rappers that are "foundationed" within an inch of their lives for photos and video shoots and shellacked with Johnson & Johnsons baby oil to appear more buff, you mean to tell me a portion of that can't go to a female rapper? And yet and still labels are spending big coins on these trendy producers-of-the-moment and still hiring Hype Williams for videos? But they can't invest in a woman that raps? Not even to simply wax her upper lip and keep it moving?

Once again, this moment of clarity is due to the upcoming award shows celebrating Hip Hop. Between VH1's Hip Hop Honors and BET's Hip Hop Awards, sisters aren't minorities--they are nonexistent. This poor excuse has my side-eye ablaze and makes me wonder what reasoning Hollywood and the fashion industry are employing for similar oversights. BET, maybe an an afterthought, is honoring ladies of the past in a segment for their show, according to Beezlebub Stephen Hill. As for VH1, well, at least they showed up on the red carpet.

BET and VH1 Present...Awards Shows Without Women [EW]

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13 Responses

  1. More than a casual fan, but not a head, I like hip-hop. This quote however is just silly. Women in entertainment, whether trying their best to dress down, or up, these things are apart of the gig.
    I mean, what does wardrobe have to do with label support for a female MC? EW is so out of touch with black music culture on varying levels, they remind of someone who says they are liberal, then turns around and calls someone a slur.-QH

  2. Grooming costs? That is the most ridiculous mess I've heard, and again EW takes the award for being the most out of touch in black music culture, yet tries to "educate" and "inform" us about what the problem is?
    I think image is an issue, but that goes beyond hip-hop music as well. Plus, I have to be honest, whether the lady is trying her best to dress down, or dress up, grooming (male or female) is a part of the package of music. Image is somewhat attached to it, that shouldn't determine the content, but I wouldn't say this is really an issue worth raising.
    I hate EW.-QH

  3. Q, it's worth pointing out that Margeaux Watson at EW is the one calling Hip Hop to task just as we are. The quote came from some unidentified somebody in the industry.

  4. to quote a very successful female MC (who seemed to always look good without ever being overdone):
    "i'm not having it."*
    i don't know how that person could be an industry insider, because what they offered up as fact sounds rooted in misinformation and blatant sexism. as nOvaMatic noted, men rack up almost all of those same costs on their gear and grooming. what foolishness! i'm not saying it's right, either. i don't want to offer too much validity to that "insider" for their dumb statement, but a lot of these emcees (male and female) need to learn a simple lesson in economics. rappers should know better than anyone how to live beneath one's means. besides, it doesn't really even take all that money to look fresh. i think a lot of people in the industry don't know the difference between looking rich and looking good.
    the glamorization of female emcees sometimes makes us forget that these ladies can spit. it can be a distraction. i'm not saying that a lady can't rhyme well and look good at the same time, but the females that i liked the best over the years (Salt-N-Pepa, Lyte*, Latifah, Monie Love, Bahamadia, Rah Digga, Lauryn Hill, and yes even Boss) put the music first, in most cases. i look up to those ladies (and others) for their artistry first; not how fine they are. not incidentally, ladies were finding more success then. even when sexuality and glamour was in the forefront, it wasn't nearly as forced (or as expensive) as it is now. i don't think any of those women could be linked to (or blamed for) the materialism you now see in hip-hop.
    perhaps the biggest lesson here lies in the picture above. these rappers are spending all this money, and they don't even look as good as they did back in the day. i'd take '96 Kim over that mess any day.

  5. IMO they might have a point. We all know industry rule #4080, record company people are shaaaadddy and all they seem to care about is how much they can make off of an artist. They seem to think that this comes by giving an artist that "image" that is likeable to the masses in hopes that it will turn into green. For men this means, renting cars,borrowing designer clothes and jewlery, hiring video vixens. However for females, its trainers, nutritionist, hair stylist, makeup artist, wardrobe stylist, dermatologist, plastic surgery and what ever else it takes to get the artist that pefect "image". Bottomline its a double standard for females and ultimately double the money spent on these "image" makeovers.

  6. Come on now? Everybody knows it has nothing to do with make up. It has more to do with the lack of talent and or message alot of these "women" are kicking. Rapping about blow jobs and frivilous shit aint gonna cut it. Lyte and Lauryn had something positive to say, lil Kim and Foxy only kicked that bullshit rap. Am i holding the female MC to a higher standard? maybe. Because alot of cats are kicking that same bullshit fair or not we all know women are judge differently then men. For every sista kicking some real rap ( Jean Grae, Invincible, Amanda, there's a Khia or Jackie-o) sistas killed the female rappers credibilty and for once they cant blame a man:) we need more Lauryn Hills and Latifahs and less strippers trying to be rappers.

  7. This ish right here...stuff like this really rubs me the wrong way. You're on point when you compare the grooming budgets of male emcees, pop tarts and others. True, it's very expensive to be a well-groomed woman. But the record labels are dumb if they don't think that they can't make a return on their investment. It takes money to make money. There's a huge void in hip hop as far as female emcees go, and if they were smart they can capitalize on it. I can't understand how a label can't invest in Jean Grae or Kid Sister, but the music market is saturated with talentless loafs like Young Berg and others. *Sigh*

  8. I was waiting for someone to say that, Stoney, because it can be argued that the reason those later female rappers had that kind of output is because of the climate change. Maybe they sucked because Hip Hop gets suckier? I mean, did we really need a female Mase? We needed a female Rakim. Also, a few of the sisters you mentioned fed into that petty "beef" bullshit which had me shaking my head because I'm like "THERE'S ONLY 3 OF YOU!!! WHY ARE YA'LL FIGHTING?" It was just dumb. I just think a Lil' Kim can exist as long as we have a Lauryn Hill, and a Left Eye and a Brat and a Lyte-- it's about variety. I don't care if some of them are wack; I just want choices.

  9. 1 word - Invincible
    1 link -
    and shes definitely not the only one.
    let the mainstream keep sleeping

  10. This is the same magazine who trashed Kanye West's concert, so why should it be a surprise that they would say something like this?
    Weave and makeup didn't kill the femcee, what is killing them is the fact that they are trying too hard to act like dudes and getting locked up for it (i.e. Remy Ma, Da Brat, Foxy Brown, Lil' Kim). And they are using their sexuality rather than their writing skills to prove themselves. It's okay to look pretty, but they need to back that up with SKILLS (without ghostwriting, of course).

  11. invincible is incredible.

  12. mzvirgo: Wow. I must've written this post in Sanskrit. For once and for all, EW didn't declare that hair and makeup are the culprit. It was a quote.

  13. @ Kenny Fresh:
    Invincible IS sick. Wow. Will be bumping all next week 4 sho.