This curated conversation uncovers the historical and continuing contributions of women in Hip-Hop.
In celebration of Hip-Hop's 50th year, we continue to shine an unapologetic light on the myriad contributions of women to the art, culture, and impact of Hip-Hop.
We continue threads of discussion from our 2022 installment, ‘Women in Hip-Hop: Erasure. Trailblazers, and Placemakers’ which took as its starting point Joan Morgan’s seminal work “When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks it Down”. We would struggle to name 3 women jazz guitarists, 2 reggae artists, or countless women producers in Hip-Hop, based on the belief that women are accessories to culture, and not cultural producers themselves. This could not be more backwards. If the origin story of Hip-Hop continues this narrative, how do we interrupt it for all to see clearly, and retrace the steps and contributions of women to its history and evolution?
How can we retrace the origin story of the culture and art from Cindy Campbell’s idea to throw the first ‘jam’, and how many mold-breakers, interrupters, and disruptors need to be known more widely during this monumental anniversary for the culture and art form? What are the major accomplishments by women that have been ignored by media? Who are the cultural custodians keeping the culture alive on their shoulders?
Join us to unpack these and more questions in what is sure to be an enriching and celebratory conversation with giants in the origin story of Hip-Hop.
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Moderator and Panelist
Kashema Hutchinson, PhD is a scholar, synthesizer and educator. Her work is an alchemy of sources that values and highlights the knowledge production of Black youths usually through a Hip-Hop lens. Kashema creates Hip-Hop infographics that are used to facilitate knowledge of self discussions in various spaces including New York City correctional facilities and random ciphers. She is an assistant editor of Blacklanguagesyllabus.com. She taught CUNY undergraduate and early college students. Kashema was a co-director of The CUNY Peer Leaders, a community-based program that supports CUNY undergraduate students’ scholarship and creative work in the Humanities while assisting students in developing leadership skills to implement within their colleges and communities.
Kashema's dissertation, “The Lopez Effect Remixed:The Significance of Mattering Through a Hip-Hop Lens in Education and Beyond” focused on mattering and Hip-Hop education. Her research interests include mattering and marginalization, and Hip-Hop as a theoretical framework.
Canada's Queen of Hip Hop, Actor, Author, Entrepreneur, Mentor
Michie Mee is known within the music industry for her unique rap style of combining reggae and dancehall with Hip-Hop. Many successful artists have followed in Michie’s footsteps using this gifted technique. With over two decades in the entertainment industry, the Juno nominated rapper and actress is not only an inspiration for female musicians, but also all artists nationwide.
Aside from her life as an entertainer, Michie is also a mother who makes it one of her duties to keep involved with today’s youth. Knowing first hand the twists and turns artists often face in entertainment, Michie is an avid supporter of children striving to achieve a good education. Michie herself left university after her music career began to soar and has always spoken openly about the importance of education. Michie continues to enhance her abilities to attract diverse roles on television and film. She was featured in the 2011 CBC hip hop documentary “Love, Props and the T. Dot,” this trailblazer’s saga still continues. Michie Mee’s reign as Queen is far from over.
Michie is the 1st Canadian Hip Hop Recording Artist to sign an American Major Record deal and is the recipient of the 2012 DJ Stylus Hall of Fame Award, 2013 CUMC Lifetime Achievement Award, 2014 Black Canadian Award for Best Female Rap Act, and made History in 2014 winning the Toronto Arts Council ‘Roy Thomson Hall Award’ of $10K. The Roy Thomson Hall Award recognizes creative, performing, administrative, volunteer, or philanthropic contributions to Toronto’s musical life by a person, ensemble or organization.
As well as winning many community based awards and promoting the “On This Mic” Showcases a.k.a the ‘Scorpio Bash’ in Toronto launched in Jamaica 2019 with the support of the Jamaican Music Conference in which she sits on the advisory Board. Michie is also apart of the Generation Hip Hop Global Board based in Brazil , and sits on the HipHop BLVD Advisory Board in NYC. Michie now adds Author to her resume with a major book publishing company TBA. Still active in the acting world the Actra Union actor has secured small roles in film and tv being filmed in Canada TBA. Ms. Mee is the CEO of MBM Publishing Inc and Track & Field Ent./DetroitDigital/Believe, looking forward to NEW music.
April Walker is a fashion icon, culture shifter, and entrepreneur. Her work has been featured in Forbes, In Style, Essence, The New York Times, WWD, Drink Champs, Yahoo, Vogue, CFDA, and in documentaries via Netflix and CNN. As a Brooklyn native, she followed her creative intuition to become an entrepreneur and pioneer of urban fashion, setting the stage for a revolution in fashion industry norms, gender politics, and creative control. Walker shaped the direction that culture and style would take in the future and created one of the most relevant and influential brand histories to date. As homegrown fashion like Walker Wear incubated in urban communities and grew into a mainstream global force, the brand paved the way by helping to create a multi-billion dollar industry, known today as streetwear. She’s the first woman with an urban fashion brand and was also one of the first to kick in distribution doors, command millions in sales, and dress icons such as Tupac, BIG, and Aaliyah.
Walker is a book author, serves as a TISCH/NYU adjunct professor, a contributor to Parson’s streetwear online course, teaches at BAGF, and has her work showcased internationally.
Executive Director, ADVANCE, Canada's Black Music Business Collective
Keziah Myers believes in the skills and uniqueness of this country and knows that there is so much talent yet to be discovered. Currently as the Executive Director of ADVANCE – Canada’s Black Music Business Collective, Keziah’s main role is to advocate for the betterment, upliftment, and retention of Black professionals within the music industry. Leading this organization, Keziah focuses on changing processes, creating opportunities, and providing resources to ADVANCE members, and music industry organizations.
Prior to ADVANCE, Keziah led music licensing initiatives at Entandem, and the A&R Operations at SOCAN, where she was instrumental in ensuring diverse hiring, updating internal systems, improving operations, and enabling all offices to better serve 150 000 members. Beyond this, Keziah has held positions in Label Operations Management and Publicity. She has also sat on Entertainment & Music Organization Boards, adjudicated as part of FACTOR and JUNO juries, and is a regular guest presenter for Art-Focused programs, colleges, universities and high schools.
As a part of a major music movement in Canada, Keziah has taken opportunities to stay involved, advise, volunteer, educate, and advocate. Her passion for people has afforded her the opportunity to be able to live on 3 continents, and travel to over 30 countries. Keziah has worked with countless artists and music creators. Along the way she has worked with Drake, Maroon 5, Kim Davis, DSVN, Boi 1da, and many more.
Fresh, Bold and So Def (FBSD): Women in Hip-Hop
Fresh, Bold and So Def (FBSD) is led by Kashema Hutchinson, a PhD candidate and Universal Hip-Hop Museum staffer. It began as a Hip-Hop intervention project for women of all ages to empower, cultivate and inspire. FBSD builds upon the foundation laid by the Womanhood Learning Project launched in 2007 at New York University by the Hip-Hop Association and a collective of women who joined forces to tell the story of Hip-Hop as they know it. The goal of the initiative is to document women’s contributions and achievements and build a canon using memorabilia and artifacts.