Women Who Rock: Quito, Ecuador Encuentro

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At the encuentro, the panelists are now answering questions and talking about their own experiences as rappers and women. There are also now three dogs at the event. Caye just asked Jessica how the other hip hop artists reacted to her being a part of that group, and how Jessica responded to their reaction. Jessica says (with Ana Gabriela aka Black Mama translating) that the reactions were different because they were all girls going up on the stage using “big words with big mouths.” Some guys were supportive, but it was hard. Black Mama then said that the women in that group made a path for women in hip hop, allowing for a new role for those women. Now, those women get to have their own crews, and Jessica is going solo.
Black Mama then spoke to her experience at a rap battle where she battled 80 men. After, she received death threats, and other women told her that those threats are the reason to not go to the battles, to stop rapping. Black Mama received rape threats, was booed and yelled at, and nearly gave up hip hop. She thought about leaving, but didn’t want to lose the ability to be heard, although she is still facing consequences from that show. But in her own words, “I keep on rapping, and nobody gonna stop me.”

Women Who Rock: Quito, Ecuador Encuentro

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After a round of introductions from everyone in the circle, the rappers began talking about their music as well as other feminist programs. Taki Amaru is a rapper who raps in Kichwa to bring to light discussions about indigenous people all over Ecuador. We had a chance to meet Caye before and hear about her project, Women Behind the Camera. During her introduction, Black Mama talked about how she had been fighting for racial rights, but upon meeting Caye, she took on a broader fight for women’s rights. She also said that when she met hip hop she found a way to reach more people, people who needed this message, and has met others in the hip hop world to rap with and also work with for a cause she believes in. When Jessica introduced herself, she spoke about her projects in both music and graffiti. She was also part of the first women’s hip hop group in Quito, and is now working on a solo project. After brief introductions, the rappers began talking about how they met and admired each other at concerts, and it was inspiring to me not only to see these women supporting each other but the way they want to fight for and uplift other women of all backgrounds.