I stood up and took notice of hip hop in the late 80s after I made my first trip to New York. LL Cool J, Public Enemy, KRS One were all the rage but aside from Salt 'n' Pepa, MC Lyte and Monie Love there weren't very few women around. Last Friday I attended the screening of Say My Name which is a documentary film about female MCs based in America and London. The documentary was directed by Nirit Peled and took us through the journey of women in hip hop; from the Bronx where hip hop was born we saw pioneers such as Roxanne Shante, to Brooklyn's finest, MC Lyte and Erykah Badu and onto ex-patriot Londoner, Monie Love. The film also journeyed to West London where we saw Estelle and also to East London where up and coming sides of the grime scene in East London were featured. Say My Name looked at the struggles that female MCs faced in the world of hip hop. Not only did they have to fight to be taken seriously and to get a break, they also have to deal with violence from men as well as gang related warfare. I found the film to be very gripping and it really made me reminisce back to my teenage years, however there were a few bits that shocked me but I guess that just ties in with the nature of the genre. Say My Name is a gritty and thought provoking film that is not afraid to show the true nature of women in hip hop. The film was part of the Images of Black Women 2010 Film Festivalprogramme which took place at The Tricycle Cinema in North West London.
After the film there was a Q&A with Ninit Peled and a couple of artists from the documentary where they discussed the ideology of the project. Nirit talked about her inspirations behind the film which was born from her love of music. She was empowered by hip hop but felt like she was not being represented in the genre so she started working on the film. Initially it started off on small scale but it grew and grew until it was a full blown documentary with a wide range of stories. Nirit Peled was born in Israel but now lives and works in Amsterdam. She is a community based, cultural artist and film director, as well as co-founder of Mamamess, a production company she runs with her partner Dave Hemmingway
Next up for her is Say My Name in Africa which will look at lyricists in Angola, South Africa and the Ivory Coast. The documentary is currently being film so there is no release date as yet but I cannot wait to see it.
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