As avid listeners of hip-hop and consumers of pop culture, people often view women in hip-hop at face value. They are expected to follow a predetermined path, promote certain messages and ultimately entertain us with little depth of personality. Those unfair expectations cause us to overlook the important messages that women in music convey, and we often must dig deeper to unearth and appreciate the value they contribute. Despite that disadvantage, we’re highlighting three unique women in hip-hop and pop culture who use their voices to uplift and encourage women while validating shared experiences.
1. Bbymutha is part of a new wave of creative women who do very little to mask their reality in a world of facades. The Tennessee native often experiments with her voice and draws influence from hip-hop and heavy metal. Her music and experiences tap into the societal norms of what mothers can’t do now that they have children, and what a mother should be considering her children. Bbymutha was blessed twice: she is the mother and primary caregiver of two sets of twins. She knows how it feels to not have time for yourself as a mom, and she’s lived up against society’s pressures and expectations of mothers. People often forget that mothers are living, breathing human beings who can enjoy a moment to themselves, stay out late and have a drink occasionally, and even make mistakes. Giving birth to children doesn’t remove a woman’s humanity. Women, and especially mothers, can have new and fun experiences without living within the confines of a society that wants to stifle and control a woman’s actions and desires. We are unlearning what it does and does not mean to be a mother, and Bbymutha is taking charge as one of the leaders of a powerful movement that encourages mothers to do their best and removes the stigma from single parenthood.
2. Megan Thee Stallion is doing her part to shake up the world of hip-hop by delivering variety from one song to the next. The H-Town Hottie uses alter egos to portray various aspects of her personality, which allows her to spread her wings and try different sounds within a constantly buzzing pool of contemporary women in rap. “Hot Girl Meg” and “Tina Snow” often duke it out to become the inspiration behind some of our favorite tracks on her recently released “Tina Snow EP”. Experimenting with characters and personas provides lots of variety in women’s music today, and allows for more voices to be heard on certain topics. For Thee Stallion, “Hot Girl Meg” lives to meet new people, share fun experiences and turn up with her girls on a frequent basis, while “Tina Snow” aims to educate women on how to navigate relationships and sexual situations with an upper hand and maturity. These two characters allow Thee Stallion to fully express herself on the Tina Snow EP, and gives life to listeners who enjoy watching her progression. Her use of multiple characters within her music also shows us that expression comes in many different forms, and women in rap have no plans of stifling their ideas any time soon.
3. Junglepussy has lived between the lines of creative and artist since her buzz began bubbling on social media years ago. You can’t quite call her a rapper, poet, or anything concrete, simply because her message and persona don’t allow anyone to pigeonhole her into one lane. Ahead of her JP3 release, Junglepussy spoke with The Fader to discuss the creative process for her third project and her source of motivation and clarity in a field that wants everyone to fit the mold. As a musician, JP has always preached a message of self-care, but JP3 shows us that she’s intertwined more of her wants and needs within her music. Avid listeners can attest that Junglepussy has also weaved her thoughts, opinions and desires within her music, but with the recent release of JP3, she’s pushed more of her true personal feelings to the forefront and has expressed her concerns for protecting who she truly is in an industry of mishaps and misgivings. Self-care is a commodity of the highest value in today’s world of social media and unwarranted commentary. It feels good to see another creative woman who unabashedly promotes protecting yourself among an atmosphere of comparison and exposure.
The importance of these lessons lies in the reality that these women are navigating a field dominated by men, while avoiding the land mines of false competition, catty behavior and disrespect. Bbymutha, Megan Thee Stallion and Junglepussy are just three of the many women in music who are forging their own unique path and celebrating their womanhood in the most unfiltered way. Let’s continue to encourage and highlight their strides without attempting to compare them to others who are on similar paths. There’s more than enough room for all women to succeed.
Bbymutha Interviews with The Fader – 2017 http://www.thefader.com/2017/10/17/bbymutha-rapper- interview-rules
Megan Thee Stallion interviews with Hoodrich Radio and DJ Scream – 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDWUXCHDL4c
Junglepussy interviews with The Fader - 2018 https://www.thefader.com/2018/05/24/junglepussy-jp3- interview
"It is important for a woman to take care of other women in her life because those relationships shape her views on creating social connections with other women."
Generally, women tend to have a set group of reliable friends they can count on in any event, whether it’s a catastrophe or “congratulations” on the other end of a phone call. As a woman, I heavily rely on my girls whenever I find myself in a time of emotional need. I know if something goes wrong, they are there for me to lean on. If something goes right, I can count on them to help me celebrate the right way. They encourage me and I support them in the same ways they support me. When a core group of friends like that is formed, it can become one of the strongest resources for a woman. I’ll explain later.
In August of 2016, I moved back to my hometown (Charlotte, NC of course) after living and going to college in Greensboro for a few years. I left behind my sister, my two best friends and many others. We lived with and near each other for years, shared ups and downs and had so many fun experiences to look back on. We shared emotional moments that defined our bond and solidified our trust between women. I didn’t realize how losing them would affect me when I made my decision to move back to Charlotte, but I’m glad I made that choice.
It wasn’t easy for me to re-adapt to the social landscape back in Charlotte; most of my friends from high school moved out of town or we drifted apart when we went off to college. When I wanted to go out in Charlotte, I went alone sometimes. To shows, out to eat, to the movies, and so on. At each of those outings, I wished I was sharing the experience with my girlfriends. I realized I was missing an irreplaceable part of myself. The absence of such important people gave me a chance to experience so much on my own and allowed me to examine how I fit into the social climate. It was an individual thing now, and I didn’t have my girls in proximity to provide that extra boost of encouragement. Over time, I grew in my own right, and began to appreciate the different ways that my girls have contributed to my growth. The women mentioned above are amazing, and they’ve taken great care of me.
Having an amazing bond with them has shown me how positive I am about building professional and personal relationships with women. When I realized I had such a strong relationship with my sister, a long-time friend from high school and another long-time friend from college, I compared it to the other strong bonds I have with women in my life: my mother, grandmother, great aunts, friends, and other great women I’ve been acquainted with. I’m very selective of my connections, so I don’t find any of the women I associate with to be negative or vindictive. That trust and discernment allows me to build other bonds with women and gives me a more positive outlook than some women have.
It is important for a woman to take care of other women in her life because those relationships shape her views on creating social connections with other women. Influenced positively or negatively, a woman’s views on new relationships rely on her past experiences. It’s not difficult to conclude that the past can influence the future, and healthy bonds lay the foundation for more to develop in the future. This leads to women supporting women on a grand scale by patronizing their businesses, celebrating their educational goals and supporting their romantic endeavors. That continuous support is what bonds women together and leads to a stronger connection within the majority.
Unfortunately, the absence of those bonds with other women can lead to mistrust and social anxiety related to meeting and connecting with other women. It can be crippling, and ultimately result in a feeling of emptiness when it comes to basic friendship between women. Every woman should have other women she can look to for support, encouragement and understanding. The consequences of being without can also cause isolation.
My girls took care of me, I took care of them. I’ve become so committed to witnessing, supporting and contributing to their growth since meeting them, and I certainly wish other women could share that sentiment.
To my special ladies, Tyrah, Symone, Meristi, Essie, Morgan and all y’all, thank you for what you’ve given me.