In the last few months, I have been very pleased with the hip-hop and rap communities paying more respect to women. The genres' art sets my soul aflame, yet very few things make my blood boil the way sexism does, especially in the way it has been normalized in the hip-hop culture for decades.
For me, there is something deeply therapeutic about blaring gangster rap while I let my mind wander to the rhythmic beats and storytelling lyrics. And now, hearing more and more male rappers empower women gives it all more gusto. There has been a domino effect in this culture that I want to recognize since this weekend is all about the mamas.
The Wimpact’s very own Christian Haywood owes much of his motivation, drive and inspiration to his late mother - a strong women in his life that keep him woke. Earlier this year, Haywood released a single featuring Nina Nicole entitled “Halo”, and it was made with the women in his life in mind.
“The song is talking about a girl who’s come from nothing and was looked down upon and now she’s thriving,” Haywood explained.
“There’s a few things that inspired me: I grew up with a single parent. I’m sure that song could apply to my mother forty years ago, but it could also apply to somebody today. I felt that with everything going on with politics, it’s really important to hit on these issues because there’s not enough empowerment to women in the hip-hop community right and the hip-hop culture is one of the most impactful cultures right now, so why aren’t we using hip-hop to empower everybody right now who is going through it, so I thought this would be a good opportunity. The song just came out, I wrote it really fast, but then I was thinking, ‘What made me do this?’ and I was just thinking about everything that’s been going on. My girlfriend (a feminist) is an inspiration for this song, everything that’s been going on.”
Graduating with a degree in Sociology, Haywood was able to understand gender and feminism and why it matters, while his girlfriend, Morgan, schooled him differently.
Haywood said, “She actually taught me through her actions. She never taught me about feminism through sitting down and talking to each other. The way she explained why she believed the things she believed made more sense to me and I was like, ‘Wow, that makes so much sense!' and I felt like, 'Why aren’t all men feminists?'" [The Wimpact family wonders the same thing.]
"But we wouldn’t be a movement if that were the case," he continues. "Why aren’t we helping our women out because it makes so much sense because I never really understood it until I started dating Morgan. And I never thought I would date a feminist, ever.”
Other artists that come to mind from the last few months that show mad love to women are Kendrick Lamar, Wale and Empire’s Hakeem. Kendrick Lamar embraces ‘real’ women, and highlights how the industry needs to portray women as they are with his song “Humble.” And in Empire’s Season 3 Episode 13, Hakeem learns the basics of feminism and makes a song apologizing to women while praising them. In Wale’s “Thank God”, he mentions when his feminist side comes out.
Let's not forget rappers like Tupac Shakur, Nas and many more for keeping us woke early on. 2pac had several songs recognizing what women go through and social issues with “Dear Mama”, “Keep Ya Head Up”, “Brenda’s Gotta Baby”, “Unconditional Love”and “Changes”. Nas held men accountable with song, “Daughters”.
Hip-hop is simply making moves for the better.