Grabbing Feminism by the Mic: This Is How Women in Hip-Hop Are Making a Lane of Their Own

The terms “hip-hop” and “feminism” might seem like oil and water. After all, the culture of misogyny and straight disrespect of women throughout hip-hop culture could lead one to think otherwise. So can a feminist politic exist in a hyper-misogynistic space?

The answer: It’s complicated.

“Hip-hop feminism” was coined by author and scholar Joan Morgan in her groundbreaking 1999 book, When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost. And hip-hop feminists are active in the culture. Though some women in hip-hop might not refer to themselves as feminists, artists like Cardi B, Nicki Minaj and Megan Thee Stallion are dominating and certainly representing a feminist agenda, intentionally or not.

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The Root sat down with Brittney Cooper, Ph.D., to unpack it all because she’s got this hip-hop feminism thing on lock. Cooper is an assistant professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University. She’s also a co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective, and author of Eloquent Rage.

The professor believes that, at its core, the ideology of hip-hop feminism acknowledges that black girls matter.

“It’s also about taking down all these barriers, so it’s not ‘you either a professional, respectable black girl or you a ratchet black girl,’” she says. “We say everybody gets to come to the party and hip-hop is the ground upon which we do that.”

See the entire video above.

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About the author

Felice León

Afro-Cuban woman that was born and branded in New York. When León isn't actually creating cool videos, she's thinking of cool videos that she can create.

Jessica Moulite

Jessica Moulite is a Video Producer for The Root. She loves telling stories people often times can't tell themselves—and Oprah. She's probably watching Black 90s reruns.