Written by WC – DRS
Imagine a music genre where Black women aren’t allowed any actual realistic range of expression, creativity, power, autonomy, sexual agency, etc. One where they have been forced to box themselves in by playing a “Boy’s Game”. Could such a reality be fathomable? Surprisingly, yes it still does to this day especially in the genre known as Hip-Hop, where patriarchy has run rampantly for over 3 decades, showing absolutely zero signs of being challenged. Let’s flashback 14 years ago to Sept. of 2001, when the genre was going through massive transitions. A single man changes the entire face of the industry, quite possibly the world. He firmly redefined the status of Black males FOREVER, in that point in time. His name is the one and only Hova, otherwise known as Jay-Z. With his legendary classic, The Blueprint, Shawn Carter has entirely revolutionized the face of Hip-Hop’s Alpha Male”, with an album that exudes superiority over money, power, respect, and lastly control of women.
Exceptionally, using Aretha Franklin’s signature song, he sends an effective clear message of his “Playa Status”, speaking to every Black male’s lowest level of consciousness and feelings. However, if you “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” Black women and are one yourself, you will be offended with that line for a lot of self-explanatory reasons. With an everlasting business and legacy to his name, is it possible for a Black woman to challenge that outdated standard, rightfully reinterpreting things as she sees fit? What would happen if a woman with Michelle Obama’s influence on the mic, single-handedly established herself as the game’s only actual “motherly idol” over the current male majority? Do Black women really have any long lasting, intrinsic value in this marginalizing genre? Can a “matriarchy” be setup in this current day and age, where we can audaciously ask has a Black woman’s place, ever held imminence in Hip-Hop?
Well Trinidadian-born native, Onika Tanya Maraj, has an obligation to prove that to the fullest extent. For the 1st time in what seems like forever, we have another potentially groundbreaking concept album done by an extremely famous woman in Hip-Hop. She was not kidding when she said This is a meaningful body of work in an interview with Rap-Up. (http://www.rap-up.com/2014/05/21/nicki-minaj-talks-forbes-iggy-azalea-article-jay-zs-blueprint-remy-ma/) because this has so many layers to peel back, we’re just seeing the “tip of the iceberg”. To overthrow such an impending reign in Hip-Hop, she would have to do some heavy reconstruction, laying down a lot of ground rules. The woman herself even has said “I do think The Pinkprint will create new rules in the same way, Jay did with his Blueprint” ”. Below are the 1st set (of 5 topics for this series of articles) of Maraj’s new standards starting with the most direct, powerful and effective of them all:
Rule # 1. Black Matriarchy
You are probably wondering, “What is a BLACK Matriarchy?”, well it’s one where Black women rule as maternal figures over the social, economic and political systems, set up against them in BOTH a racial and gender discriminatory construct (http://www.blackyouthproject.com/2012/03/the-black-matriarchal-system-a-common-culprit-in-the-black-community/). In this way, these empowered Black women have to deal with a rare kind of double standard (gender AND racial), instead of your usual kind that has no racial connotation. Her doing many of these types of roles all at once, redefines the meaning of modern day “The multitasking supermom”. We have had previous females talk about being “Queen” or “Mother”, but not in the context of Gender–based language she has, in nearly all aspects – Motherhood, Responsibility, Loss and Guilt. [twitter-follow screen_name=’808sandblues’]
The defining characteristic of a Black Matriarchy, is the negative depiction of homes primarily ran by poor, uneducated and low-income earning Black single mothers. Surprisingly, most do not know that she has past troubling experiences as a teen mother and how she was the person who got her family out of her hood in Queens, NYC.(http://genius.com/4035162/Nicki-minaj-im-the-best/I-remember-when-i-couldnt-buy-my-mother-a-couch-now-im-sitting-at-the-closing-bought-my-mother-a-house). The only lasting memories her father gave in her life, was when he tried burning down their house when her mother was asleep, and his theft of pawning off furniture to pay for his crack addiction. (http://genius.com/2131753/Nicki-minaj-autobiography/When-you-burnt-the-house-down-and-my-mother-was-in-it-how-could-i-forget-it-the-pain-is-infinite).
During that disheartening period, he repeatedly beatdown both her mother and herself, subjecting a Register Nurse’s Aide and her only daughter, to nonstop abuse. It is this moment, she had suddenly realized on how her family needed financial and economic support, to have a better living. She soon took charge and care of her mother Carol, despite being the source of Nicki’s strength. In her early to mid-20’s with a self-determined spirit, she knew that it was go time from that point on, to be the sole provider of the household.
Next week will go over the other 3 segments of this 1st part, starting with the “B. The Breadwinner”.