“Welcome to Stankonia, the place from which all funky things come.
Would you like to come?”
About two years ago, my love for hip hop slammed into an exploration of identity, in which I saw as many hip hop shows I could afford while analyzing my hunger for lust-turn-love.
My goal was to figure out where I stood. Growing up on hip-hop, for me, meant assuming the role of the male. Not promiscuous, but pimp. Not girly, but cold. I made connections that relied on stereotypes and fueled my seemingly isolated sense of self. Since high school, I’ve led a powerful struggle to claim my sexuality and at 28, I recognize how badly I’ve treated myself and others in that quest, how blinded I became to love and respect, and how duality can create impossible expectations.
This blog has gone astray from how it first originated, and it’s time to fess up. This is not simply a social critique of feminism in hip hop or a regurgitating news cycle of bangers or beef. This is my experience living hip hop and how it impacted my identity not just as a woman but a sexual being. I invite you in my journey to share and broaden my perspective.
I love hip hop. It speaks from the soul, runs in blood, and provokes, challenges, celebrates. As it propels rhymes, I’m crushed by some lines. Because I also love language and its power to create realities. The excuse that there’s a difference between women and bitches doesn’t cut it. The restrictions on free thought still exist, for example, in the form of trends and what it means to be cool. The music does a lot to cut up the masses and elevate conversations, yet I still find myself healing and recovering from the agreements I made in the ’90s and 2000s, with unfortunate remnants lingering today. Even The Roots and Lauryn Hill couldn’t stop that impact.
I’m a feminist hip hop head, and I respond in my own battle lines or reflections. Refusing to be silent is my answer, and I haven’t quite figured out how to do it best. But why wait?
I am 28 years old, and I haven’t fucked in 8 months. Dramatic much? At face-value, this isn’t too surprising: I’m kind of shy, afraid of rejection, the usual complaints of a 21st-century robot.
The real problem feels like reclaiming my body after countless bad decisions, trusting people who don’t speak their truth, and absorbing the woman-hating tendencies of those who grab us without consent.
So you can find me at a show dancing my ass off, but my ability to flaunt with nonchalance has been tainted. I question whether that makes me ashamed of expressing myself fully. I question whether that makes me less human or frozen in time. The more I dig, it’s clear there’s more at play than merely hip hop or sexuality, but I can’t deny how these two sources of identity have framed who I am today.
Call it PTSD or jaded, I have developed a guard against expressing my own sexuality and that is unacceptable. I know who I am, and I want and deserve consensual, respectful sex. By the way, fam, that’s the only type of sex anyone deserves.
Hold up! This is not an invitation to fuck. It’s a heads-up that shit’s going to get personal and a shout-out to those who may experience similar truths.
My ambitious goal to hit up every hip hop show I could afford simmered down after I quit my job last year, and I’ve begun to understand how I can become whole again. Yet my recovery is never complete unless I write it down.
Welcome to my Stankonia.