Thursday, March 12, 2009

2 papers on women & reggaeton

(Girl 1 by Sofia Maldonado, 2006. 120 cm x 270 cm.)

#1. I just read the paper "Análisis de la imagen de la mujer en el discurso del reggaeton" by María José Gallucci (2007). The analysis is extremely narrow and simplistic, a great example of the serious amount of work to be done on the topic. As stated in the (full of grammatical errors) English abstract provided: "Considering exclusively the criticism about the sexual orientation and woman belittlement expressed in the reggaeton lyrics, this investigation [...] aims to describe how man present women's image in reggaeton lyrics." Gallucci draws the following conclusion from a discourse analysis of 10 of the most successful songs by Daddy Yankee and Don Omar: "Through this investigation, one can conclude that, even when in many cases the lyrics do have a heavy load of sexual content; it is also true that, in other lyrics, the singer (re)presents woman from his feelings, and in situations that are not unusual to our everyday life." Flojo.

#2. I found more useful "El reggaetón y sus audiencias femeninas: una mirada al universo cultural de las adolescentes de hoy" by Wilma Guzmán Flores (2007), presented at the national conference of the National Association of African American Studies & Affiliates. It's based on very limited ethnographic work with teenage women in Puerto Rico, fails to draw linkages between reggaeton and other (past and present) musical/cultural expressions and often takes at face value what the informants are saying. But her ethnographic efforts still tell a fascinating story that, of course, is as much about the informants as it is about the researcher.

I appreciate the author's earnest questions regarding how much "control" women actually have when they're dancing (her informants explain it is women who have the power/control in perreo matters). Guzmán Flores, in this case, is unwilling to accept her informants' opinions uncritically and is puzzled by the codes of what's acceptable and what's not for her informants. She asks (but leaves unanswered): Why would these young women object to being touched by their dancing partner's hands and not by their crotch? Great question to follow up on. It reminds me of Nina La Bandolera's thought-provoking blog post detailing her version of perreo @ the club rules of conduct.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Momma's Hip-Hop Kitchen - FREE concert

Come dance with us @ MOMMA'S Hip Hop Kitchen.

I'll be there singing in a ventetú of bomba drummers and dancers, paying homage to our ancestresses.


Tickets will be given at the door for seating purposes only.
First come, first served!

Now some info from organizers Dayanara and Lah Tere:

We are looking for organizations to endorse or sponsor the event. If you are interested, have any questions and/or need more tickets. Please call Dayanara 917-232-5419 or Lah Tere 312-489-0505 -

We are asking everyone to please help us raise money to support local organizations. Be abundant and contribute something towards your ticket. DONATIONS will get you RSVP Seats, & Raffle tickets.

Please let me know how many tickets you need so I can RSVP your group, we can also arrange a time when I can give you the tickets as well.

To make a donation please go to scroll down to paypal and make sure that you put for mommas hip hop kitchen. Let me know when you do this so I can rsvp you.

Womyn In Hip Hop Respond to Violence Against Womyn in

HIP HOP... `HER-story is OUR Story!

If you have turned to the news over the past two weeks, we are sure you can tell us something about Rihanna and Chris Brown. While this was a sad and unfortunate incident in their lives, it is an incident that happens everyday, every few minutes, and every single second in our communities. Unfortunately, we have heard this story too many times before by womyn that include Faith Evans, Mary J, Blige, Whitney Houston, Left Eye, Jaslene Gonzalez, Jennifer Hudson (a family affair), not including the other voices of womyn that the industry has silenced. Like those stories, this buzz shall pass and womyns lives will continue to be taken at the hands of men, never getting sufficient media attention to create significant change. What won't pass is the continuous abuse that is happening to womyn in our communities that no one is talking about.

The attention that Rihanna and Chris have received has impacted music listeners across the world, especially youth and young womyn who may find themselves in similar situations. The message they are receiving right now include but are not limited to: (this is even after seeing the picture)

1. Its Rihanna's fault (through the speculation of different stories), she deserves it or she asked for it.

2. Its wasn't his fault--the industry is stressful, he saw it growing up, they are both young and very one makes mistakes.

3. His career is more important than her life. In the past abusive entertainers have gained rewards for their behavior i.e. increasing record sales, endorsements and overall publicity. (Biggie, Pun, Bobby, and the list goes on...)

Yet, no one is talking about the impact that this is having on Rihanna's mind, body and spirit. This has only become a "domestic" violence issue because of the visible bruises on her face. But how about the ones that we don’t see, the physical, verbal, emotional, psychological, economic and sexual abuse that took place or may have been taking place prior to this incident. The hidden marks of relationship & dating violence!

The messages above continues to drive home that womyn are always blamed for the abuse they go through, that its okay for young men to behave and use violence as a solution because there is no consequence and there is no space for womyn to defend and fight for themselves. What are the messages that we are sending our young womyn and men and what are the next steps for a disease that is taking the lives of communities of color all over the world?

Somewhere in America a woman is battered, usually by her intimate partner, every 15 seconds. (UN Study On The Status of Women, Year 2000)

In NYC Police responded to 234,988 domestic violence incidents in 2008; this averages to over 600 incidents per day. In addition, NYPD’s Domestic Violence Unit conducted 72,463 home visits in 2008, a 93% increase since 2002.
16,861 teen calls were received by the City’s Domestic Violence Hotline in 2007; and 9,462 were received in 2006.
* Statistics provided by Safe Horizon

With these statistics, why does it take a celebrity to go through violence in order for it to become a public issue that gets media attention? What about your neighbors story, your moms, your sisters, your daughter, your own story? When will that get the media coverage it needs?

Due to the lack of support , womyn have had to create their own form of media using the elements of hip hop as a tool for voicing our stories. On Saturday, March 7th, 2009, in honor of International Women's Month, 900 women, youth and families representing over 30 non profit organizations, schools and local artists collectives will be using hip hop to take back their lives at the 2nd Annual Mommas Hip Hop Kitchen. In response to the ongoing and increasing violence in our community we will be putting on the Womyn's Hip Hop Concert of the year.

This year Mommas Hip Hop Kitchen is bringing you a powerful concert in collaboration with CASA Atabex Ache, Trabajadoras por la Paz, Vamos a la Pena del Bronx and the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective. These groups rooted in the South Bronx work year round in ending violence against womyn. The South Bronx is the birthplace of Hip Hop, and the poorest congressional district in the nation where negative statistics on womyn are staggering. Together we are putting on a program that will support families dealing with domestic violence, immigration, LGBTQ issues, foster care, homelessness, prison, police brutality, and more by providing a day to be in celebration for their lives. This concert will create dynamic interactive exchange and safe space for all young and adult womyn of color & their families to express themselves through the art of Hop Hop. This event will bring a beautiful array of artistic sistahs together to share their medium with young women of color across the city.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Wayne on Dembow & Marisol on Daggering

For thoughts on Dem Bow and a mix called "Dem Bow Dem" by my co-editor Wayne Marshall, click here.

For Marisol LeBron on the recent Daggering controversy in Jamaica and it's parallels to reggaeton's perreo debates, click here.