BUFFALO, NY – Ladies First was designed to feature some local figures from an often overlooked group of creatives in hip-hop culture.
“I realized that hip-hop is a male-dominated industry, but I’ve seen all of these amazing, powerful women working behind the scenes, and you really wouldn’t see them on TV coming to prominence or in music videos, but they were always pushing these artists and pushing the people they were passionate about,” said Ladies First curator Schondra Aytch. “So when I saw that and saw the influence that I have now, I thought to myself, I have to do something in my power to uplift these women and support these women.
The show was dedicated to the women who drive Buffalo culture through music, dance and style. A collaboration between Sneakvibing, Aytch’s all-hip-hop brainchild, the University at Buffalo Arts Collaboratory and Torn Space Theater, the show will highlight the diverse talents of some of the city’s best-kept secrets, proving that women are a gender, not a gender.
“I feel like once we have that representation, more people will be open to connecting, to networking and we’re really just going to expand their profile and tell their story,” Aytch said.
The show is as much a tribute to the city itself as it is to the women of its hip-hop scene, providing space for local talent to perform for audiences at home; bringing some of Buffalo’s best to perform in Buffalo.
“I played for years and years; I don’t often get the opportunity to perform in my own town,” said Aitina “AI The Anomoly” Fareed-Cooke, a Buffalo-based rapper and photographer chosen to perform at Ladies First. in other cities, so it’s always cool to be able to do it here in my hometown.
The vision to represent underrepresented people continues to expand as Ladies First sets the standard for showcasing the city’s multi-faceted music scene and unique talents.
“I really want to highlight the diversity of what all of these rappers and artists bring to the table,” Aytch said. “So I hope, like Ladies First, that I can organize more events and do more things and projects that cover the entire landscape of Buffalo, not just a niche.”