A couple weeks ago, I attended a screening for BET’s first ever original music documentary, “My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth About Women In Hip-Hop“. Directed by Ava DuVernay, the film takes a loving, yet critical look at the history of sisters in Rap music. It is equal parts celebration of pioneers and those carrying the torch and lamentation over the lack of estrogen in today’s Hip-Hop spaces.
Take a peek at the trailer:
Commentary is provided primarily by woman rappers, including MC Lyte, YoYo, Trina, Salt n’ Pepa, The Lady of Rage, Diamond, Eve, Missy, etc. Other heads weighing in include Kevin Lyles, Joan Morgan, Questlove, Glennisha Morgan of The Fembassy and Russell Simmons. I was really excited to hear the thoughts Jean Grae, Tiye Pheonix and a few other female rappers who aren’t as familiar to the BET audience (there is a great independent artist roll-call at the end as well).
Continue reading after the jump.
The film itself is visually stunning. The colors are rich and lush and warm. The women themselves look beautiful and they were shot in a way that feels very intimate, personal. I got tears in my eyes about 15 minutes in. I felt like I was watching a family reunion or something. So many of the special names, faces and (most importantly) sounds of my youth were present in this piece.
The filmmaker and her subjects took no shorts and take on some tough questions: why are so many female rappers hypersexualized? Why do women seem to need a crew of men around them to be taken seriously? How is it that the absence of one person had such a tremendous impact on an entire genre of music (and it’s listeners)? Why is it still so hard for women to make it in this game? Make sure you pay particular attention to Trina’s thoughts on her own success at the end of the film. Her astuteness was both remarkable and incredibly depressing.
I had been a while since I had really sat down and thought about the role of sistren in Hip-Hop and the film inspired me to finally take on the topic of Lauryn. My conversation with the fabulous Esther Armah after the film a was the spark for this piece as well. Even if you are as cynical and jaded as I about what mainstream Rap has become (particularly as it relates to women)…if you have love in your heart for Hip-Hop, you are gonna love this movie.
It is important that people know we are interested in seeing work like this not just in small, independent spaces, but on major networks like BET. We’ve been asking to see work like My Mic Sounds Nice for years and we have to make sure that we support it if we want to see more. If you are on Twitter, check out the official page for the film. “Like” it on Facebook. Tell friends to tune in and MOST IMPORTANTLY….watch!
My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth About Women In Hip-Hop will premiere on August 30th at 10:00 PM EDT on BET.
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