It’s my birthday OK. Indulge me and my birthday cupcake. How better to celebrate than with my friends in the basement of Juno in Shoreditch for a unique girl powered hip hop event with female hip hop movie shorts and live music performances: Seizing the Screen. And who better host than the inimitable Peaches, the very embodiment of women in hip hop with a voice they’re not afraid to use.
First act of the night, Kay Young, approaches the mic with intense verses that tell of what it is to be a woman in the modern world.
The first film that gives this event its title is Redder Than Red, a documentary directed by hip hop photographer Martha Cooper about legendary Midlands B-Girl Bubbles, aka Hanifa Hudson.
“Check out the one in red, it’s a girl!” was the phrase uttered in disbelief when Bubbles first took to the floor in the London hip hop scene. The story of Bubbles is one worth telling, exploring her roots in African dance and her brother’s influence and encouragement. Her distinctive hard style brings it not ‘as good as’ her males contemporaries but BETTER. What defines her as a b-girl is that she’s not just good for a girl but good full stop.
Redder Than Red features Flowzaic amongst others talking about her influence and some footage that will make you grin showing a reunion of Bubbles’ crew The B-Boys.
Redder Than Red led straight into a showing of All the Ladies, a documentary about Australia’s female MCs featuring A-Love, Lioness, Maya Jupiter and director MC Que amongst others. Though very much about female MCs it offers a glimpse into wider Australian hip hop culture.
The next live artist was Master Mims from London via Morroco. She became an MC through attending and performing at Hip Hop Karaoke (also the scene of my birthday celebrations) just a year ago and this is her second performance. Her confidence was so abundant she even performed a third track. This is the power of Hip Hop Karaoke.
Peaches graced the floor with a quick spoken word poem on the power of a woman before introducing the next short Keep Hanging On To Our Dreams, a look at female hiphop in Paris.
Taking more of an all-elements view than the previous films, a common thread emerges across art forms of feeling intimidated and under scrutiny for being a female practising their art.
It’s interesting to note that the dance element of the film doesn’t cover breaking but rather street dance as emblazoned across Magali’s t-shirt. Well, actually she’s a popper, but perhaps the choice to focus on her was more down to the director’s access and relationship as she is here in the audience and gracefully does a short interview and showcase.
Afterwards the discussion panel included MC and hiphop theatre writer Sarah Sayeed, Rhas Journal, Dutty Girl, AnAttitude Magazine, graf artist Chock of Girls on Top crew and Peaches, leading them through shrewd questions starting off with the issue of confidence. Sarah Sayeed speaks about the point made in All the Ladies that getting through those first two years is difficult for a female in the hiphop scene.
The evening draws to the end with a live PA by Poetic Pilgrimage who spoke eloquently during the debate and brought their elegant flow to the floor in a perfect example of female artists who more than measure up in terms of quality.