In the eyes of filmmaker dream hampton, the journey of women in hip-hop goes beyond a simplistic narrative of girl power set against infectious beats.
It’s about capturing moments like pioneer Roxanne Shanté and her companions preparing in a Manhattan club restroom before the infamous “The Bridge is Over” shook the scene.
This was a time before cell phones ruled, before every celebrity encounter was documented. In those days, hampton noticed Shanté’s presence, only for both of them to be confronted by KRS-One’s controversial diss track with its unforgettable line targeting Shanté’s reputation. She was just 16 at that time.
The year was 1987, and KRS-One unleashed his lyrical barrage against the Juice Crew, which included Shanté, throwing shade at their credibility.
Amid this, hampton realized how hip-hop treated its women – erasing their history and reducing their immense talents to mere objects.
This incident serves as a microcosm of the broader issue hampton seeks to address through her docuseries “Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop,” recently released on Netflix.
hampton, a writer, filmmaker, and producer, has been a voice of authenticity and accountability in hip-hop. Her tenure at The Source magazine, where she worked as a photo editor at just 19 years old, marked her entry into the hip-hop sphere.
She didn’t just sit back; she wrote opinion pieces that questioned the status quo. Her work with artists like Tupac, Jay-Z, and her role as executive producer of “Surviving R. Kelly” brought pivotal stories to light.
Yet, when approached to join “Ladies First,” hampton initially hesitated. She feared that the series would focus solely on the darkness within hip-hop’s gender dynamics. you make also check The Last Voyage of the Demeter.
However, hampton recognized that now is an exciting era for women in hip-hop. No longer constrained to male endorsements or group affiliations, female artists are claiming their space and stories, unlike the past when women were often perceived as belonging to male counterparts.
Reflecting on her early days at The Source, hampton clarifies that she was not the magazine’s first female editor in chief, Kim Osorio. you should also read Unveiling the Face Behind the Sniper Mask.
As the lone woman in the office, hampton navigated a predominantly male environment. Her contributions included seminal pieces on Snoop Dogg and Tupac, highlighting their struggle with East Coast-West Coast dynamics, which encapsulated the hip-hop scene’s shift.
Regarding her affinity for hip-hop, hampton admits to both loving and critiquing it. From Slick Rick’s “Treat Her Like a Prostitute” to A Tribe Called Quest’s “The Infamous Date Rape,” misogyny has always lurked within the genre.
The series “Ladies First” sought to change this narrative by spotlighting the pioneering women who have shaped hip-hop’s history since its inception.
As for the question of whether hip-hop remains revolutionary, hampton contends that it cannot claim to be revolutionary with flawed gender politics, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny still present. In her view, the genre was once radical, but that essence has diminished over time.
Though hampton acknowledges that hip-hop might not be the driving force behind addressing pressing issues like climate change, she believes in the importance of “Ladies First” in celebrating women’s contributions.
The documentary series fills a void that male-dominated perspectives might overlook.
In a time when artists like Drake acknowledge the significance of women in hip-hop, “Ladies First” serves as a homage to the dynamic and compelling contributions of female artists.
In essence, dream hampton’s journey through the hip-hop world, her work at The Source, and her involvement in “Ladies First” demonstrate her unwavering commitment to authenticity, equity, and the rightful recognition of women in hip-hop.
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