Noah Hogan- Staff Writer
The passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in mid-September has left a hole in many hearts.
Her name is synonymous with women’s rights, equality and LGTBQ+ initiatives. She was one of the most recognizable faces of today’s time. Playfully being dubbed “The Notorious RBG”, Ginsburg carried a powerful moniker named after hip hop’s own, the late Christopher Wallace “The Notorious BIG.”
She left behind a legacy of determination, hard work and fortitude. That same legacy opened the door for women in a plethora of social areas to fully express themselves in ways that were never imaginable before.
The genre of hip hop has been a creative space that has been historically dominated by men. These artists often portray women with sexist lyrics and videos that objectify women’s bodies. In contrast, several women have defied the odds and rose to the pinnacle of success within the genre, such as Queen Latifah, Salt and Pepa, M.C. Lyte and Nicki Minaj.
These women promoted cultural expression, racial pride, safe sex and life from their various perspectives. The words they spoke, the clothing they wore and the messages in their lyrics defined who they were.
These legends have opened the doors for new talent such as Cardi B., Saweetie and Meg the Stallion. The ladies of the new school seem to have one thing in common – their vivid expression of sexuality.
The artistic expression and freedom of women in the hip hop industry of today has been stifled and manipulated. No longer do we hear records like Queen Latifah ‘s “U.N.I.T.Y”, Salt and Pepa’s “Express Yourself” and M.C. Lyte’s “Keep on Keeping On”. We are now subjected to songs like Cardi and Meg’s “W.A.P.” and Sweetie’s “Tap In”.
The songs that have strong sexual content by female artists seem to be the only music that receives attention from mainline media sources. With “WAP” and “Tap In” amassing over 75 million streams and 25 million views on YouTube, respectively. It’s clear that a shift in the industry has taken place, validating that women are now able to express themselves in ways that were considered controversial in the past.
“I don’t believe that currently the way females express themselves throughout the music industry in today’s society is being marginalized just due to the fact that we see more women rappers out there like Megan Thee Stallion put out very prominent music to where so many people are willing to now listen to female rappers.”, said Carrigan Smith, Hampton University Broadcast Communications major from Dallas, Texas.
The argument that is now in question is, “If a man can do it, why not a woman too?”
Is this the same sexual equality that was fought for decades ago? Meanwhile, as the creative space for women expands ever so rapidly, we’re left to question when a new female act emerges in the genre, will they be regulated to the age old industry standard or will they be afforded a legit chance to succeed in the unforgiving culture that is Hip Hop?
Gone are the days where industry executives that would rather an artist develop a style in which they tailor their image to cater to the sexual fantasy of support base over prioritizing a quality listening experience.
The Notorious RBG fought for gender equality, which has transcended into every area of society today. Although taboo for some, it goes without saying that women should have the right to express their music and most importantly themselves without restraint or strife within spaces that are comfortable for them.