HHAP EP. 63: Gigi Lamayne on Representation & Dismantling Respectability Politics

This is the first in a special series of episodes being recorded lives with African Studies students at Howard University and George Washington University. The series is co-hosted with Words Beas & Life, who is also live-streaming the episodes on their Facebook page on Wednesday nights at 5pm EST. The schedule is on our website at hiphopafrican.com.

A part of the “born free” generation, Gigi Lamayne grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa after the fall of apartheid. She graduated from Wits University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media and Anthropology in the midst of the #FeesMustFall movement. Rapping since high school, she released the powerful track “Fees Will Fall” just months after graduation.

Considered one of South Africa’s best lyricists, her music addresses topics like Black pride, gender-based violence, feminism, sexism, and the shadiness within the music industry. We first interviewed Gigi Lamayne in 2017. She has continued to find mainstream success while addressing serious topics in some of her songs.

I’m scared for my future kids, daughter in specific/She gon’ learn it all but she’ll hate what is her image/You young and you blacker/Your hair don’t need relaxer/You blacker than the panther/You louder with your laughter/You clean and you don’t ever have to feel you don’t belong

“Holy Liquor” on Job Woods, 2019

In the conversation, she talks about her career, her views on the resilience and activism of South African women, race in South Africa, the relationships between women in the industry, and the stigmas and views around mental health in Africa.

The video version of this and other episodes are on our YouTube Channel

Gigi Lamayne and her work are all online at the following links:

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