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Employing Hip-Hop Feminism to Develp a Praxis of EMpowerment for Black and Latina Girls in Denver

Presentation for Oral Defense of Master Degree Community Project

Angell Perez

on 11 July 2013

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Transcript of Employing Hip-Hop Feminism to Develp a Praxis of EMpowerment for Black and Latina Girls in Denver

Ramifications of
Colonialism and Slavery
Unique positioning in society
Race, Gender & Class
Terms used for the purpose of this study
Criminal Justice System
Hispanic girls have higher dropout rates then girls in any other racial or ethnic group
(Colorado Children's Campaign)
The Reality:
A legacy of injustice
African American girls are closely behind
with 34% within that same age category
(Colorado Organization on Adolescent
Pregnancy, Parenting and Prevention 2009)
My Definition of Feminism:
Ideals that support women and girls reaching their full potential and actively resisting and standing up against gender discrimination, misogyny and other forms of oppression based on one being a female
Women of color
Own Feminism

Coined by Kimberlee Crenshaw

Filling a void...
With the decline of feminist discourse in the 1990’s and 21st century a new feminist narrative is needed to engage a new generation of women and girls of color, specifically of the Hip-Hop generation.
Hip-Hop emerged in the early 1970's in NYC in what was then known as the invisible borough, the South Bronx

The emergence of Hip-Hop in the South Bronx was an organic youth movement which gave voice to a group of young people who were forced into the margins of invisibility. Hip-Hip gave voice to a struggle of Black and Puerto Rican youth and was a platform for resistance, empowerment and social change
Hip-Hop feminism
Misconceptions of women's position in Hip-Hop
As a result of the commodification of Hip-Hop, rap specifically Hip-Hop reflects the current political climate of patriarchy, neo-liberalism and chauvinist violence towards women in the U.S.
Women are often seen as video vixens
Black women's sexual exploitation and the connection to slavery
Latina women being hypersexualized as the "exotic" conquest
What is praxis:
Reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it. Through praxis, oppressed people can aquire a critical awareness of their own condition, and with their allies, struggle for liberation - Paulo Freier in Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1921)



Research Questions:
1.Can liberatory praxis be uncovered through Hip-Hop feminism? If so, could Hip- Hop feminism potentially empower Black and Latina girls to reaching their full potential and overcome barriers?

2.How do girls connect to Hip-Hop? How are girls both active participants/co-creators of hip hop culture and consumers?

3.What does the role of females in Hip-Hop today mean to Black and Latina girls?
It is my contention that Black and Latina girls can in fact benefit tremendously from Hip-Hop feminism in ways young girls have not benefited from any other form of feminisms in the past.
In addition, can providing a physical space that is safe and gender specific for girls to experience Hip-Hop transform and empower Black and Latina girls to take action towards individual and community change and transcend the misogyny found in Hip-Hop?
Within this project the importance of Black and Latina women role models/mentors for girls is central.
Self Positioning for the study:
Statement of problem
Honoring the Black Power Movement
Chosen term by African American women and girls in pilot study
Why Black and Latina Girls?
Themes within literature:
Various Forms of Oppression
Based on Race, Gender, Class
Forced Invisibility
In the late 1970’s conditions in the Bronx, New York were similar to a scene taken from a movie or a third world war torn country. Many have stated the United States will never see first world city decay in the way the Bronx had deteriorated during this time period (TheBerlin09, 2009).
The Bronx is burning
Much more than just rap music, Hip-Hop was, and is a culture, a way of life and an organic movement which includes 5 elements:
Graffiti Art
Knowledge of Self
Hip-Hop feminism is providing a space for a counter-narrative for women and girls in
Hip-Hop culture
Current methods of Hip-Hop feminist Praxis
According to Darlene Vinicky, "Hip-Hop feminist praxis is shaped from the ‘kitchen table feminists’ of my grandmothers and great-aunts, as well as my homegirls who found a way to survive and thrive" (Vinicky, 2012)
Black and Latina Girls in Denver
The beat goes on...

Momma's Hip-Hop Kitchen Denver
Saturday August 24, 2013

Researching Hip-Hop Feminist Praxis:
Participant Observation
Momma's Hip-Hop Kitchen, Bronx New York
March 2, 2013
Angell M. Pérez,
Master of Arts Candidate
Ethnic Studies
Colorado State University
Employing Hip-Hop Feminism to Develop a Praxis of Empowerment for Black and Latina Girls In Denver
Committee Members:
Advisor/Committee Chair: Karina Cespedes, Ph.D. Ethnic Studies Department

Caridad Souza, Ph.D. Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research

Suzanne Kent, Ph.D. Anthropology Department
For my master degree final evaluation I have
completed a Plan B Community Action Project. This project is designed to empower Black and Latina girls In Denver.
Theoretical Framework:
Hip-Hop Feminism
Scholars Critical to this Project
Ruth Nicole Brown
Patricia Hill Collins
Aisha Durham
Benita Love
Gwendolyn Pough
Research Methodology: Participant Observation
A type of data collection method typically done in qualitative research.
Establishing rapport or “getting to know” the group
Immersing oneself in the field
Observation and recording data
Analyzing and consolidating data
I created a web based media presentation designed to be a tool for community engagement. It has been presented at two events and was used to connect with young people on the importance and potential of Hip-Hop feminism, to encourage girls to see that “they are who they've been waiting for” (Lah Tere verse).
My praxis towards empowerment:

Increasing the spiritual, political, social, educational, and economic strength of Black and Latina girls. Empowerment is defined here as raising critical awareness and consciousness to inspire personal growth and potential. This process provides Black and Latina girls with tools for self-advocacy that allow girls to confront and move beyond limits set by society.
Mission of MHHK Denver:
To develop camaraderie and a sisterhood of support among women and girls and encourage action which will help level the playing field for girls in a society which continues to marginalize based on race, gender and class.
Community engagement
for this project
During the 1970's construction of the Cross-Bronx Expressway literally ripped through the Bronx causing over 60,000 Bronx residents to be displaced and was the beginning decay and destruction the Bronx would see in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The aftermath of the construction of the Cross-Bronx Expressway led to complete and utter devastation in the South Bronx.
An umbrella term to effectively bridge solidarity and collectively organize around political issues that significantly impact the lives of Mexican, Puerto Rican and other Spanish speaking populations in the U.S.
MHHK is a multifaceted Hip-Hop event designed to showcase female artists, especially women and girls of color. MHHK serves as a social justice community-organizing platform that educates and empowers women and girls of color on issues that impact their lives. The mission is to create a dynamic interactive exchange and safe space for women and girls of color to express themselves through Hip-Hop culture and art.
Healing, Empowerment & Suicide Prevention
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