Hyping each other is a colloquial and culture term that means empowering each other when we take pictures. The way that looks like is when someone is taking a picture and we all help to raise her self esteem. As a collective we are all telling her she looks beautiful. We do this through phrases like YES QUEEN!!
Once we had finished the discussion with the feminist hip- hop artists we organically transitioned to taking pictures of each other. My heart felt joy as we were doing this. It was a praxis of being there for one another. And destroying the patriarchy. Yes, sounds wild. Although this is true because many of us women are defying western standards of beauty through being confident for the wholeness that we are. We have been fragmented and made guilty for being a women.
Hyping each other up is an expression of being there for one another. Which also breathes the same air as Buen Vivir, Sumak Kawsay. Hyping each other up is also an expression, in the same way that the feminist hip- hop artists use rap as an avenue of liberation.
Left to Right: Ana Cano Black Mama, Taki Amaru, Calle Cayejera, Yeka Libre.
August 17, 2018
It’s such a profound experience to gather powerful women in the hip-hop community for the cause of feminism. This picture was taken when the question was asked. How can hip- hop be used as medicine. Taki Amaru responded the following. “I use it as a vehicle to give the messages that my spirit needs to give”. I interpreted this as something that does not make up her entire life but it’s a tool that she freely uses to be able to transform her life. And so many of us use various tools to be able to create the lives we want to live. They express their truth through word and through rhythm. And at the same time they bring us all together to resonate and dance to their messages.
In a small room of the DOMMO Cultural House, UW students and professors, Ecuadorian community members, and four feminista hip hop artists gathered for the 2018 Feminista Encuentro. Professor Michelle Habell-Pallan began by thanking everyone for coming and introducing the artists of the night, Ana Cano aka Black Mama, Taki Amaru, Cayetana “Caye Cayejera” Soloa, and Jeka Libre. Each feminsta artist then took time at the mic to introduce themselves, their work, and gave us a glimpse into their political and personal motivations as artists. Black Mama began by acknowledging that we, as students, have been talking and learning about feminism and politics, but this would be a night to see what they do for a living and see what they do for the struggle. Taki took the mic and thanked everyone for the opportunity to share her experience as a rapper and to use her music and message as a channel to share the dream and reality of being Runa. Caye acknowledged that she speaks in Spanish because she comes from a colonized country. She also recognized the students and professors in the room and said that the world of academia has a responsibility to not forget about the past or people and experiences that are so often undervalued. Thus, those within “the academy” must question where information within the academy comes from and realize that equally, if not more, important information comes from social work, education, and people in the streets. Jessica aka Jeka Libre finished off the introductions, saying how happy she was to share her hip hip because it is her way of expressing herself and expressing what so often remains unheard. They all mentioned how important our present day is in the modern feminist movement, and as we continued with the discussion, the heaviness and progress of these womens’ careers became even more evident.
The question and answer discussion session began, and when asked how we can strengthen the feminist hip hop movement, Black Mama talked about how commercialized the hip hop industry has become. Consequently, the artists and the music itself have been managed without thinking of the artist or even the public. She said that of course you want to show your art, but at a certain level you cannot continue without being paid in money. Because of this, they have started hosting and organizing concerts with women artists and treating them very well. They want to create an industry where, regardless of femininity or masculinity, artists and music are respected and treated well. Caye then began speaking on hip hop as medicine, but the issue of capitalism and industrialization in music continued. She said feminist hip hop artists are trying to find a balance between getting compensated fairly and politicizing her art but not letting it become industrialized or merchandized. Her motivation is not commercial, it is political. Until now, we have not had a feminist perspective of viewing or producing arts, so it has been under the control of the patriarchy. Because of this traditional means of production and consumption, creating places for women inside the hip hop industry is necessary in order to popularize a feminist way of seeing art.
Group Name: BroadeningMindAbroad
Live Blog 1:
We are here at the 2nd Feminista Hip Hop Encuentro & dialogo in Quito Ecuador. We are accompanied by Ana Gabriel “black mama”,Taki Amaru, Cayetana Saloa “Caye Cayejera” and Jessica “Jeka Libre” and the UW 2018 honors Ecuador study abroad cohort. Black Mama starts us off by sharing the importance of holding this event again and that this is an opportunity for us to see their work and what they are fighting for and the form this works takes place. Taki Amaru adds in by sharing the importance for them to be able to transmit and share their experiences as female rappers is a a way to transmit and use the music as a channel to share their messages, specifically for Taki Amaru the history and present of being a “Runa”.
Following in introductions Cayetana shares how she will be speaking in Spanish because she’s from a place that has been colonized. Cayetana shares how she wishes she could speak and present in the language in her blood. She admires Taki Amaru and her ability to speak in kichwa and both find and know her identity. In answering what brought her to this type of work Cayetana shared how she considered her self as s person who had been undervalued but that she has had the ability to lift herself up through Hip-Hop music. She stated how this is a important moment for feminism, feminism is changing things. There is a awakening happening and she is happy to see the large group of females at the encuentro today. She stated that there is a significance in women coming together and empowering themselves. And that we hold a responsibility, that responsibility being not to forget the social work , the community and what individuals are doing, specifically feminist because it is about changing the logic and oppressive structures. Cayetana also shared that if we are in war she is she is giving her battle through her lyrics.
Here are a few impactful words shared by Black Mama in previous dialogues that resonated with the encuentro today. “Women have been in charge of sharing the culture” & “Being in a community means being able to interchange knowledge”. This encuentro showed how Hip Hop here in Quito is very much political and how both art and music have power. These women show us what inclusive feminism looks like. they raise their voices and open the possibility for these needed dialogue exchanges.
Live Blog #2
Ana Garcia AKA Black Mama begins sharing the struggle female rappers face in receiving what they need to have the means to continue with their work. She shares how many do not think about the artist. How some venues do not want do pay the artist, but rather offer payment through another form. This makes it difficult for females rappers especially because as artist they want to show their art they want to spread their message regardless of the circumstances. However once they achieve a certain level they need to be able to find a way to receive a salary for their work. In order for them to have a industry they need money, thus what women are doing in the Hip-Hop. movement is spreading this same information and holding their own concerts and treating the artist as they should be treated and giving the artist what they deserve, such as good sound and water, the things they need to give a good show. Black Mama also added how women do not make Hip-Hop about feminine or masculine ideals, but they are doing this because “Hip- Hop needs to learn to live in community”. Black mama continued by saying how sadly Hip-Hop is accustomed to a hierarchy of who has the possibility to make it and who does not have the possibility to make it. For those who do not have the means or possibility to make it and are talented it becomes a impossible path. What we need is for artist to be treated respectfully and be given what they need and for the public themselves to realize they deserve it.
To conclude the event all Feminist Rappers shared a few of their themes. Jessica “Jeka Libre” started the group then followed Cayetana Saloa “Caye Cayejera”,Taki Amaru who rapped in both Spanish and Kichwa and Black Mama. The feminist rapped about their rights, exploiting practices, women losing fear and in being in control/command of their own bodies. #furia de la mujer #no solo soy mujer #en mi cuerpo mando yo
Live blogging: Women who rock; Feminista Encuentro
We are setting up for the feminista encuentro were setting up right now testing the music Taki Amaru, Ana Gabriella Cano. Michelle introduces that this is the 2nd feminista encuentro which is a dialogue. Kiyah. Encuentro is a dialogue. Michelle Passes the mic to Ana. Spreads art. Talks a lot about politics, music. Asks if anyone has questions. Taki says that she is happy to see us here. She said everyone is looking cute and says thank u for the encuentro that they already had and able to transmit her music as a rapper and use it as a channel the story is about being runa. Another person: Hello to the guys and the girls I have to speak in Spanish and wish she could talk the language of her blood she admires Taki so much bc she has found an identity and knows quechua. Her grandma belonged to the Andean land. She’s lesbian and feminist and has been undervalued and was treated as poor used hip hop to spread she is really happy to connect with us. There is a big responsibility about not forgetting that the education comes from the social work and the community and what the people have been doing in the streets it is feminism bc it is about changing things not just abortion. She is happy to see that most of us are women it is an important time bc we are empowering ourselves. She is a rapper bc she felt rejected from theater she is thrilled that women have accepted and rejected the fight that we have been feeling in our bodies. If we are in war she is giving her best battle bc her lyrics may be harsh ^ kiyah. Jessica she is 26 and is happy to be with us. She is really happy to show us her hip hop bc she can complain about the struggle that is going on. She has been doing it for 10 years. She takes the mother’s message from the warrior women. Kiyah:: Question: how did you get to this point? It has been a quest through the body bc women’s body is subjective to a certain look. For showing body for feeling that she could be violated and things could happen to her. Not as a weak or specialized body but as a strong speak body, that’s why she started in theater bc that’s what she most liked. It was a working to but not a quick to. She started freestyling bc. She likes rap and people have requested her. It worked better with rap. She is thankful for the valley and south rap movement bc they gave her a space and started presenting in those places. Quito was divided in neighborhoods she started in the south. It is a ghetto hip hop. Through the people she started knowing in the other valleys. When she is on stage she feels a magical connection with the public and has a commitment with the question to give a good message. Jessica:: The guys were the most. She is a ghetto girl. She started freestyling in grafiti. She met with girls that had the same interest and had the first girl hip hop group. The music thing is complex and it is hard to make a living. She has a lot to say, a lot hidden. Warmi rap. 2009. Question:: How does hip hop make a movement and not just an industry how to support if you do have money if you got money you can buy tickets and records she is a promoter. How to strengthen the female hip hop music. How can we make it stronger? Answer: Ana:: the hip hop industry has been monopolized. They don’t pay the artist. Show the art no matter what. Your investing time, electricity, transport, time with family. If their not getting paid they are moving the industry. Treating the artist how they need to be treated. Women are making it stronger. Question:: how is hip hop medicine in terms of gender? Answer:: kiyah: hip hop is for industrializing it’s a merchandised way of being. The way they see art is twisted. Art is politics. There is not political motivation. Doesn’t want to industrialize her art. The women in art don’t have the way to produce in their hands depend on other artist work on something else in order to produce the art. Motivation is not commercial it is political. Get in the industry with a feminist way of seeing the art. There is no feminist way of seeing the art. Fight over it and take it back. Spent too much effort in trying to be shown. Question:: why is it important to rap in Quechua and have a conversation with feminist from the US? Answer: Taki:: Rap is in every language etc.
One thing i noticed when i walked into the unconfetence i noticed that the atmosphere was very wonderful. Everybody was being respectful and and appreciative of the opportunity to come to a event like this. Cecile Hansen stood out to me. She has been working with the Duwamish Tribe since 1975. One that that Cecile said when she spoke was that we as students need to make a big change in the city of Seattle. She said the change won’t happen with just one of us it will happen when a big group of us decided to make a change. Lulu Carpenter owns a radio station that is based of out of the central district area.
During the panel they talked about how a change can be done in communities. One thing that came up often is that now a days money has a lot to do with power. It has now shaped who can speak and who cannot speak. It has shaped who people will listen to and who people will not listen to. Ixtlixochiti Salinas talked about how money shouldn’t have with anything. She also said if you want to make a change you don’t need the high status along with it. She also talked about how you need to be who you are don’t change to fit in be you. Black mama talked about how it’s not only happening here in North America it is also happening all around the world. She said in order for this to work together bring ideas together and not stay isolated like we have been.
Blog Post #1:
What a Day!
Off to a great start. The Women Who Rock Conference held at MOHAI started with a bang.
It was a beautiful day in Seattle. Sunny, but not too cold.
MOHAI served as a great stage for the Womxn Who Rock (UN)Conference. Attendees seemed pleasantly surprised by the amazing space.
When I walked in, I was immediately taken back by amazing setup. I was drawn to the Altar, where many stories of female strength in music were shared.
At around 10:45 am, attendees were enthralled by an Opening Blessing by Dwamish Tribe Chairwomen Cecile Hansen. She was very thankful to be included in the Agenda for the day. I found it funny when it said that “the Dwamish are still here”, reminding conference attendees that Native American heritage is still alive and well in the Pacific Northwest. The ceremonial blessing was a nice way to start out the conference because it helped to get people into the mood. It also made people thankful and appreciative of all the work that women did in this world that helped pave the way for future advancements in music.
Blog Post #2:
Claiming Space Breakout Session
The first breakout session was quite informative. The first breakout session, Claiming Space as Womxn Of Color. Inspired me about the topic of “equitable, sustainable development” in the Seattle area that can help young artists on the uprise. Currently, “the city is getting more crowded and expensive to live in”. This seems to be pushing out marginalized peoples in the Greater Seattle Area. We’re gonna have to come together and fight together to prevent “millionaires and billionaires from kicking us out”.
One speaker talked about how we must stand up, come together, and stand together to creative lasting change in Seattle and the World.
One impactful idea I got from one of the speakers is to own who you are. I think that this idea is very valid and applies to school, professional work, and life. It’s also very true in the music industry as many African-American female musicians kept on singing and being themselves, which ultimately lead to their success. After many years of oppression and negativity, these artists’s work finally started to get played on the radio.
After a full day of events, here at the Womxn who Rock (Un)conference, we begin to wind down a day of appreciation, respect, understanding of the musical activism in the changing city scene with a performance from Ana Cano, also known as Black Mama, a musical feminist from Ecuador with myriad musical backgrounds and traditions that manifest themselves in her music and influence the message her art purveys. Ana Cano’s musical messages speak right to the heart of this conference, as she embodies the goals and purpose of why we all came today. She speaks for freedom and equality, for fighting back the oppression by the majority power against those who are not white heterosexual males, especially in the violence and neglect of black women around the world. Her presence today speaks to the magnitude of this issue that we face today, beyond just this city but to places around the globe. And, in corroboration with Ana Cano, we have music with Dr. Jade Power-Sotomayor, that together, creates a mixing of melodies that emphasizes the mixing of cultures in unity for the same goal. In order to combat and protest this status quo, like those featured on the Altar in the grand atrium, we must speak out and celebrate those who risk and sacrifice themselves in order to enable others to experience respect, power, and equality in a better quality of life.
One of the first panels of the day discussed the loss of spaces to the growing wealthy corporate culture in Seattle and, in particular, the effect of this on communities of color. Among questions asked were communities can do to reclaim these spaces in a city that is known for its liberal politics and awareness and yet still falls prey to gentrification and inequality. While these obviously questions proved to be difficult to find a singular answer, this spurred an interesting and important discussion on the extent of change that awareness can cause and issues of lip service. This was to be indicative of the in-depth discussions that would happen throughout the day which were powerfully paired with artistic expressions like a showing of the film “The Promised Land” and music performances by various womxn artists. This combination of discussion and arts offered an interesting meditation on the power of combining academia and intellectualism with the arts and how this pairing can impact social change.
The Womxn Who Rock (Un)Conference begun with a blessing by Duwamish tribe chairwoman Cecile Hansen that included the powerful statement, “the Duwamish are still here.” This recognition of Seattle’s history as Duwamish land kicked off the recurring theme that was mentioned by various speakers about the spaces that we occupy. In a practical sense, the conference was organized into an assortment of spaces. This included spaces recognizing historical women, black communities in Seattle, and spaces of quiet designated for those who needed a break from the conference’s activities and noise. One of the goals of the conference was to “create brave spaces” for discussion and to find answers in a city facing issues of inequality and oppression. The 2018 Womxn Who Rock (Un)Conference has kicked off to a strong start and is showing itself to be a unique and powerful event for the city of Seattle.