1. america-wakiewakie:

    Love of My Life: A Love Letter to the Girl Power in 90s Hip Hop and R&B | The Pulp Zine

    Before I knew what feminism was I knew what Hip Hop was. I knew MC Lyte had a thing for the ruffnecks and could ‘cold rock a party’ and that The Lady of Rage rocked rough and stuff with her Afro puffs. Hip Hop is one of my very first loves but it wasn’t until I got older that I realized that the women of Hip Hop and R&B had been teaching me about feminism all along. Often popular music is denigrated as vacuous but I think people forget that there was a time when it seemed like everyone on the radio had a message they wanted to get across. Though the art of using Hip Hop as a voice for the voiceless isn’t dead, it seems like the 90s were a particularly good time to be a rapper with a message and replay value. So let’s take a look back at the fearless women of ’90s Hip Hop and R&B who unwittingly formed the soundtrack of female empowerment and general badassery.

    Queen Latifah’s U. N. I. T. Y. is one of the quintessential Hip Hop feminist tunes. “Yo, who you callin a bitch?” Has been the title of many an article about Black feminism and if there were a Black feminist musical syllabus this would surely be at the top. What I appreciate is that Queen Latifah talks about street harassment and domestic violence but she also speaks to young women about channeling their anger in more productive ways. I love that she steers away from shaming young women for their actions and decides to teach instead. Too often young women are made to feel stupid for the ways they deal with growing up in a male centric world but Queen Latifah chooses to tell young women they have other options and they can find them with some thought and patience.

    Missy Elliott was such a subversive and creative tour de force that I can hardly believe she exists and that she became the entity that she did. She has everything:

    • Body positivity: “I got a cute face, chubby waist, thick legs, in shape.” 
    • Celebrations of female autonomy: “Girls girls get that cash if it’s 9-5 or shaking ya ass. Ain’t no shame ladies do ya thang. Just make sure you ahead of the game.”
    • Refusal to be undone by gendered insults: “She’s a Bitch” is an eff you to those who hate on women who speak their minds and are driven. It also has a dope video. Because Missy’s videos were all incredible. I don’t care what anyone says, Missy Elliott (with Busta Rhymes coming in second) had the best videos in Hip Hop. Ever. Period.
    • Girl power: In a genre characterized by competition, Missy refused to play that game with other women. Instead, she collaborated with other women and featured them in her videos.
    • Subversion of the male gaze: often, women in Hip Hop are torn between dissecting the male gaze and catering to it. Missy celebrated sex positivity in trash bags and tracksuits, through distorted fish eye lens cameras, and covering herself in mud. She danced and had fun in videos for even her most sexual songs like “Work It” which is sexy but is visualized by a delightfully strange video. Then there’s “Sock It 2 Me” which is a song about a booty call but the video is an homage to MegaMan and she runs around dressed up like him with Da Brat. They go on a mission and blow stuff up. It’s campy, odd, and so very Missy. Missy Elliott brought the fun back into Hip Hop and I hope she returns to us soon.

    Lauryn Hill’s discography will forever be the unfinished business of Hip Hop. You can’t discuss women in Hip Hop without someone bringing up Ms. Hill and everyone lowering their heads in sadness or extolling about how she’s going to come back and change the game again. And, to be honest, the mark she’s left on Hip Hop is deserved. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was a cultural event because here was this woman singing and rapping and doing both well. She gave you everything: knowledge, vulnerability, love, disappointment, empowerment. She spoke to women about making better relationship decisions and loving themselves. She had conversations with God. She spoke of her child and about being pressured into getting an abortion (which she didn’t get). She talked of lovers both good and bad. It’s all interspersed with interludes of children in a classroom talking about love and life. It’s a truly beautiful and varied album; one that is oddly self realized and complete for a debut solo album. Even if Ms. Hill never releases another album this one will have been enough. It’s really that good.

    (Read Full Text) (Photo Credit: Molly McAlea!)

    (via cultureofresistance)

  2. eastbayexpress:

    New exhibit at @OaklandMuseumCA explores our culture’s fascination with records: http://buff.ly/1hLTpEz


  3. "

    Read more than you write. In expressing the ambition to be a writer, you are committing yourself to the community of other writers. Your originality will mean nothing unless you can understand the originality of others. What we call originality is little more than the fine blending of influences.

    Be ruthless in your use of what you’ve seen and what you’ve experienced. Add your imagination, so that where invention ends and reality begins is undetectable.

    Be courageous. Nothing human should be far from you.


  4. "Schooling has been one powerful way to reproduce colonial repression by justifying and perpetuating, inside the classroom, existing ignorance, hiding from students, especially those of color, alternative histories. This prevents students from learning the societies and cultures from which oppressed people come and the great things those societies and cultures have achieved."
  5. huffposttaste:

    It’s National Beer Day! Here are the 10 best beers you’ve never heard of.

    (Source: iamstaceybrennan)

  6. instagram:

    Climbing Huashan (华山), China’s Most Heart-stopping Hike

    For more photos from the hike to the top, explore the 华山 Mount Huashan location page and browse the #huashan and #华山 hashtags.

    In China’s Shaanxi province, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Xi’an, the peaks of Mount Hua, or Huashan (华山), pierce the clouds, tempting adventurers to explore their heights.

    The westernmost of China’s legendary Five Great Mountains, Huashan has stood as a destination for Daoist and Buddhist pilgramage for centuries—though the inaccessability of its peaks attracts only the most dedicated of pilgrims.

    The southern peak reaches the highest altitude at 2,155 meters (7,070 feet), igniting the imaginations of thrill-seeking travellers. Home to an ancient monastery that in recent years has been converted into a tea house, the trail to the peak is one of the most dangerous in the world. Those brave enough to make the climb face steep and winding staircases carved into the cliffs and Huashan’s notorious plank road: a series of wooden planks affixed to the mountain’s face with no rails or barracades between hikers and the abyss below.

    Put this hike on my todo list…

  7. huffposttaste:

    It’s 5pm ET on Friday, and this is EXACTLY what the HuffPost Taste team looks like right now.

    (Source: catsbeaversandducks)


  8. "…Sometimes people try to destroy you, precisely because they recognize your power — not because they don’t see it, but because they see it and they don’t want it to exist."
    — bell hooks (via perfect)

    (Source: missbostonsays, via buddhag)

  9. huffposttaste:

    Happy Hump Day.


  10. deepgreenresistance:

    Life needs young people willing to fight back.

    (via cultureofresistance)