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?

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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.

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.

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“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.

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 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.

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