Rappers aren’t typically the first people thought of when we look for Black feminist or womanist principles. However, Black feminism has been a theme in Black women’s music at least since the Blues era, as Angela Y. Davis wrote in her book Blues Legacies and Black Feminism. Rap music also is a site of Black women’s feminism as Joan Morgan wrote in her book When Chickenheads Come to Roost. So who are some Black feminist rappers you can listen to today? Here are five Black women whose lyrics speak to feminist and womanist principles of self-reliance, sisterhood, and women’s empowerment.
Tennessee rapper Bbymutha uses her lyrical prowess to tackle the controlling images that have long served to justify Black womanhood. By assuming the stage name ‘Bbymutha,’ and rapping about self-sufficiency, embracing gender and sexual fluidity, the rapper shuts down stereotypes of Black single motherhood, creating a new space and image of Black motherhood. Check out Bbymutha’s single Rules below!
Nitty Scott draws on her Afrolatina heritage to create bops for all of the diaspora. Her lyrics not only focus on empowerment, but also Afro-Borinquen spirituality and music. She blends African drums with lyrics that uplift Black womanhood with chants like “la negra tiene tumbao,” which translates to “the Black woman’s got swag.” Play Nitty Scott’s “La Diaspora” below.
Thandiwe and Niambi Sala, sisters and members of the group Oshun, profess principles in their music associated with Africana womanism. This embrace of African heritage for Black American culture in the hope of uplifting the Black community. Oshun’s lyrics call for reflection on the Black struggle, uplift Black love, and call for sisterhood. Play ‘stay woke’ by Oshun below.
New York emcee Junglepussy doesn’t shy away from topics of sex, love, and money in her rap catalogue. The rapper decidedly sees Black womanhood intertwined with notions of nature, power, and liberation. Her lyrics often demand respect and make women’s sexual pleasure the subject rather than the object of conversation. Play Junglepussy’s ‘Me’ below.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Minnesotan rapper Lizzo emphasizes women’s independence and doesn’t shy away from listing out the shortcomings men bring to male-female relationships. In a world that denigrates curvier bodies, particularly when they belong to Black women, Lizzo expresses a love for her curves and knows your man probably loves them too! Play Lizzo’s Truth Hurts below.