Posted in Diaspora, Female Emcees, Nigeria, South Africa

Black Girl Magic

The power of women on the hip hop scene is growing each day in Africa. Female hip hop artist often struggle to get there music and art pushed into the mainstream of a genre that has been historically male dominated. I believe this is the reason that these women are producing more revolutionary hip hop art. Two artist that have made particularly creative music videos are Little Simz, who hails from London but is born to Nigerian parents, and Patty Monroe, who was born and raised in South Africa. These artist show very different sides of the artistic spectrum in the themes they convey and hopefully this blog can give some insight into their messages.

In Little Simz’ music video “Dead Body”, Simz creates visuals that speak to how black religion, tradition, and thought are demonized in pop culture. The lyrics argue that none of the imperfections that are projected on to us, as black people, make us inhumane. Little Simz uses visuals to embrace the power that  black culture exudes in the face  of being demonized. The visual of the wooden African mask in a dark, traditionally ominous, cloak is used to show how historically black art has been depicted as evil. The mask then raises up and we see the mouth of the Little Simz as she, the modern black artist, is revealed to be the cloaked figure. All the scenes are shot in black in white, which not only gives the video a bleak feel, but may speak to how the issue of black culture being demonized has existed for a long time and has been installed into society this way (first films were in black and white). In the lyrics “will anybody miss me when I’m gone” Simz speaks to how black people aren’t valued within the institutions they dwell, yet are pivotal to those same institutions.

In Patty Monroe’s music video, “High Fashion” she incorporates elements from pop culture and high society into her art to show that black women can be just as empowered, affluent, and beautiful as anyone else. Visually the color palette of the video is reminiscent of pop art, which might be considered the pinnacle of pop culture in the 1950’s. This combined with Patty Monroe blonde hair and light complexion, eludes to Marilyn Monroe who is seen as a sex symbol in pop culture even to this day. By doing this Patty Monroe is reclaiming a culture that has historically been seen as inherently white. Beyond this her lyrics describe the power of her sexuality and beauty, and their superiority in whatever spaces she encounters

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