Lip Gloss & Sneakers: The Women Behind The Music
As the A3C Festival in Atlanta took place last week, legendary males in hip-hop from Big Boi to Raekwon were preparing to make their way down to the three day affair. Meanwhile, ladies were gathering to have a very important moment of their own – a discussion about a woman’s role in the music industry. Alongside the festivals’ music and film showcases, StupidDope.com geared up for the ‘Lip Gloss and Sneakers: The Women Behind The Music’ panel…
‘Lipgloss and Sneakers’ was founded by MTV UK consultant Arfa Butt and Stupid Dope’s Ayara Pommells - their experience in the industry meant that the crowd were in safe and knowledgeable hands. As well as the founders, other women on the panel included business woman and label owner Amber Ravenel, rappers Rapsody and Adrift Da Belle, legendary emcee Monie Love, singer and songwriter Nikkiya and Tiffany Hardin from the Gild Creative Group. The panel sat down to discuss all sectors in the industry, from breaking artists in an international market and the challenges that business women faced daily.
Before MTV music consultant Arfa headed down to Atlanta, she spoke to a few familiar English ladies about how they felt about their position in the UK music scene. When asked on what makes her stand out from the boys, Mz Bratt said: “I think I'm great with metaphors and have a good flow, I talk about a lot of different subjects, I can do party tunes but also quite deep stuff that other young people can relate to and I'm very honest in my music.”
Lady Leshurr spoke about the progression in UK rap and admitted that “the world should have been ready years ago for a female MC, in my opinion. For some reason it just hasn't happened yet globally. I think it has a lot to do with finding the right balance of sex appeal and talent when it comes to female MC's. You basically need to have the whole package and the right marketing team around you.
“Ms Dynamite opened the door for all UK female MC's to be taken seriously and made it easier for us to get exposure in the industry. Hopefully one day there will be a female rapper that can go all the way and do just as well as the US female rappers. I'm willing to make that happen!”
London rapper Shystie also had her say, saying that it is time for the guys to move over: “I feel like, because [the industry is] male dominated a lot of the guys get a lot more support. At the same time, we’ve got a lot of females. The ones that are good, we get just as much support I reckon. It’s kind of balanced. We could be supported a bit more.
“Obviously, there are not a lot of female emcees at the minute. I think that is maybe because some are mothers and they have [responsibilities] and it can't always be full time. Some are in uni and college. Some might just be on it for the moment and may have other interests. But for me, I've got no children, I'm game. I don't have to go college - I've done all that. I don't have to go uni. There's no kids right now. So boy... It's on!“
On their return to the UK, the ‘Lipgloss and Sneakers’ team Arfa and Ayara plan to launch their non-profit organisation to benefit ‘communities and sisterhood worldwide!’
Arfa said of the project: “There are many women in the entertainment and media industry who play very important roles – they are behind the success of so many projects, artists and organisations. We want ‘Lipgloss and Sneakers’ to be the voice and platform to showcase their work, mentor and create roles for other young women new in the industry.
“A special thank you goes out to our sponsors Stupid Dope, Principle PR and our supporters!”
Words: Maz Khan (@Mazhalima)