Image source: Jati Lindsay
My understanding of hip-hop has always been rooted in camaraderie. Seeing how he brings people together is such a magical experience to see. Walking into the Kennedy Center with my mom on Friday night for MC Lyte’s “I Am Woman: A Celebration of Women in Hip Hop” felt like I was going to a family reunion. I watched all the aunts and uncles enter the theater in their most flying gear – from bamboo earrings and Kangol hats to Adidas tracksuits and sneakers – all ready to let loose and bask in glorious celebration. women in hip hop.
The event, which was part of the Kennedy Center’s 50th anniversary, was the epitome of fellowship. I smiled ear to ear at the sea of black women laughing, dancing and rapping to the lyrics of artists like Trina, Remy Ma, Tierra Whack, Da Brat, Monie Love and Yo Yo as they took over the room. There is nothing more beautiful than watching women of gender give other women their well-deserved flowers.
“Although they come to be entertained, it is also the idea that we want to celebrate these women. [in hip-hop].”
It warmed my heart even more to see the men of hip-hop pay tribute to their sisters in music: there were virtual tributes from legends like Nas, LL Cool J, Fat Joe, Common and Will Smith. Icons like Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott also shared moving words in honor of all the women who helped make hip-hop what it is today. It was good to be in a room surrounded by so many people, especially women, who were unapologetic about their love of hip-hop.
Prior to the event, POPSUGAR spoke to MC Lyte about what the evening’s festivities would entail. “We’re looking to have a really good time, like a block party,” she said. “We want people to dance and participate in the shows. Although they come to be entertained, it is also the idea that we want to celebrate these women [in hip-hop].”
The whole night was about women getting their due on a stage many have never graced before. MC Lyte has managed to ensure that every winner and performer has their moment to shine, so hopefully there will be many more celebrations for the rest of our female hip-hop giants.
Read on for the rest of MC Lyte’s interview, in which she talks about her career, female rappers today, and what it really means to be a woman in hip-hop.
On the female rappers of today who carry the torch of hip-hop
Hip-hop pioneers like MC Lyte helped pave the way for today’s generation of female talent. While many make strides in music, Lyte praises those who build their careers in other ways as well. “I think what they have done is exceptional. Everyone who comes [along] takes it a step further, in terms of all that being a female entertainer entails, and a big part of that is having an entrepreneurial spirit,” she says. So Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, City Girls — I call them frontline runners, because they’re mainstream. They hold the attention of millions of people right now, but they also understand that there is business that needs to happen behind the scenes. And if business doesn’t happen, they won’t stay in the limelight for long. . . so, yeah, definitely, they inspire me to keep going.”
On how she supported her career
If you know MC Lyte’s career, you know she invented being reserved and busy. Since his solo debut in 1988 with his ‘Lyte As a Rock’ album, the hip-hop icon’s brand has grown tremendously. She has been the announcer for dozens of Hollywood events, including the BET Awards, Emmys, Grammys, and NAACP Image Awards; starred in movies like “Girls Trip” and “Sylvie’s Love,” as well as TV shows like “Power,” “SWAT,” and “Queen of the South”; and serves as motivational speaker, philanthropist and CEO of Sunni Gyrl, Inc.
Needless to say, MC Lyte still has her hands full of something, which she credits in large part to the team supporting her. “It all comes down to a very good team of people, because if I’m up front I need reinforcements,” she said. “There’s so much more going on with an artist that unfortunately the fans never really see… But in all honesty, I have to attribute all of my success to my team, because I wouldn’t be anywhere without them.”
Image source: Jati Lindsay
On how artists can have long careers
Breaking into the music industry today is a different ball game than it was in the 80s and 90s – but according to MC Lyte there are still tried and true methods artists can rely on to remain relevant for years to come. “If your intention is to inspire and lead others to be the best, then I would say make sure what you’re pushing and promoting can honestly do that – help someone,” she says. “And also, get a good group of people who are really supportive. They might not know everything, but as long as they’re willing to learn and their minds are open, you can actually build your team with people that you know.” .”
On what it means to be a woman in hip-hop
Hip-hop has always been a big part of MC Lyte’s livelihood. She’s considered one of the genre’s most influential artists, and given how difficult it is for women in hip-hop to achieve that level of fame, it’s not a title she takes lightly. . She wears it as a badge of honor. “That says it all,” she said. “That means I can speak for a multitude of women who love hip-hop. I always say hip-hop artists are the spokespersons. Or you can look at us like we’re the politicians and we have groups of people who believe in us, like to hear from us, want to know what we think and want us to be able to speak for them. So for me, being a woman in hip-hop, I love that .I create my own path.I don’t compete with anyone but myself,and that’s what happens when you can be yourself.When you try to be someone else. , it doesn’t work very well. But when you’re yourself, where else can you go but climb?”