Our conversation with Cape Town based hip hop and spoken word artist Nazlee Saif centers on discussions of race, gender, religion, sexuality, and activism. This conversation centers on the use of hip hop as a cultural space within which to engage several different social issues, and to deconstruct social taboos that continue to exist within hip hop culture. Nazlee Saif is a spoken word and hip hop artist originally from Durban, who moved to Cape Town and attended the University of Cape Town (UCT) during the height of the #RhodesMustFall movement. Nazlee, who was already a socially conscious artist, was an activist and organizer in the movement on the UCT campus. Nazlee, as a queer identified, Muslim, MC, also brings those intersecting identities into the hip hop, a culture that has historically been very patriarchal, very misogynistic, and hostile to queer voices. In the conversation Nazlee Saif talks about several topic, including the #RhodesMustFall movement at UCT, intersectionality, being Black & Coloured, queer identities, being a Muslim & queer MC, Steve Biko and Black consciousness, the term “Hoteps”, and feminism. Nazlee Saif’s presence in hip hop challenges hip hop’s masculine, heteronormative culture. Nazlee Saif expresses strong stances on topics of race, sexuality, and religion. The artist’s discussion of a level of frustration with Black Consciousness, as well as the term “Hoteps”, may put Nazlee Saif at odds with some Pan Africanists. Nazlee on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwNoj0WTO0fAoKG0fagDFxQ Nazlee on Twitter: @NazleeArbee Readings Clark, Msia Kibona. 2014. “Gendered Representations among Tanzanian Female Emcees”. In Ni Wakati: Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa, edited by Msia Kibona Clark and Mickie Koster. Lanham, MD: Lexington Press. Haupt, Adam. 2016. Queering Hip-Hop, Queering the City: Dope Saint Jude’s Transformative Politics. M/C Journal, 19(4). Smith, Marquita R., 2014. “Or a Real, Real Bad Lesbian”: Nicki Minaj and the Acknowledgement of Queer Desire in Hip-Hop Culture. Popular Music and Society, 37(3), pp.360-370.
Gigi Lamayne is part of a recent growth of female MCs in South Africa. Based in Johannesburg, her strong vocal presence and lyrical style are unmistakably hip hop. She also presents a strong, confident feminist energy in hip hop’s hypermasucline culture. A member of South Africa’s “born free” generation, Gigi Lamayne started MCing as a teenager. There has been a noticeable growth in her lyrics over the years, and Gigi Lamayne is now one of the most well known female MCs in South Africa. Confrontations of sexism, patriarchy, domestic violence, and post-apartheid politics are themes throughout her music. In this conversation Gigi Lamayne talks about her music and influences, and her decision to address controversial, sensitive topics. Her most recent release, Ground Zero, can be found on iTunes and other online outlets. Table of Contents Intro to themes in her music, including clips from some of her songs: 1:03 Interview: 13:17 Feminism: 19:45 Miss Nthabi & collaborations with other MCs 23:44 (Miss Nthabi is an earlier South African MC who offers words of advice on being a female MC in the intro to Gigi Lamayne’s Ground Zero) Emotional domestic violence 29:49 Fees Will Fall: 33:29 Language: 40:28 Find Gigi Lamayne Online Facebook | Instagram: gigi_lamayne | SoundCloud | YouTube | Twitter: gigi_lamayne Articles Okay Africa: Women In South African Hip-Hop LiveMag: 10 notable South African female rappers of all time GQ South Africa: 5 of SA’s hottest female rappers
This is a special episode of the Hip Hop African Podcast. This episode is an airing of an event we sponsored: #BlackLivesMatter and #FeesMustFall: A Panel Discussion on Black Activism in the US and South Africa held on the 29th of November at Howard University in Washington, DC. The event brought together activists for a discussion on two pivotal movements for Black lives in the U.S. and South Africa: Black Lives Matter in the U.S. and #FeesMustFall/#RhodesMustFall in South Africa. Both movements are changing dialogues around race, gender, class, violence, and oppression. The panelists were: Dr. Melina Abdullah, a professor of Pan African Studies at California State University Los Angeles and national organizer with #BlackLivesMatter. Kealeboga Mase Ramaru, an organizer with #RhodesMustFall at the University of Cape Town and the Deputy Head for the Western Cape office at Equal Education. Nana Afua Y. Brantuo, a 2016 fellow with the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) and a mindfulness coach for Black Girl Brilliance. Song List “Must Fall” by Java, Emile YX?, Linkris The Genius, Black Athena, Daddy Spencer, Crosby, and Khusta “Fees Will Fall” by Gigi Lamayne Article “Songs of Black Lives Matter: 22 New Protest Anthems” in Rolling Stone Magazine