Rappers perform for female empowHERment event

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While most people can think of several women in the music industry, they struggle to name a female rapper.
Two female rappers, who have had some success in the male dominated industry, performed in Thompson Recital Hall in the Green Center of the Performing Arts Friday night. The event was sponsored by Omega Phi Beta sorority, the Committee for Latino Concerns, Asian American Pacific Islander Initiative and Ladies and Allies for Cross-Cultural Education. The concert drew a crowd of about 40 people.
Taylor Boyd, who goes by the stage name SunBLVD immediately engaged the audience in her opening act.
“I just want you guys to come on this journey with me,” SunBLVD said. “When I am up here performing, I want you to walk down my street with me. My music is about my life, my struggles and the things I see every day.”
After each of the Chicago-based rappers performed, they answered questions about what it is like to be a female rapper and the negative image that rap music tends to have.
SunBLVD said that she has struggled with being taken seriously because of her gender.
“They always think that girls have to be sleeping to get something done,” SunBLVD said.
Jessica Disu, who goes by the stage name FM Supreme and also performed, echoed SunBLVD’s sentiments.
“As a woman, we live in a racist world, but we actually live in a more sexist world, a patriarchal world,” FM Supreme said.
Junior Dione Gordon offered some insight to why it is exceptionally difficult for a female to succeed in the rap industry.
“Rap is so male dominated that you have to be a very masculine female [to succeed],” Gordon said. “Women are seen as sex symbols in the industry.”
FM Supreme added that her obstacle to success has been a result of push back from her male counterparts in the industry.
“My male counterpart emcees are more insecure than they’d like to admit,” FM Supreme said. “I don’t have time to entertain anyone’s insecurities.”
The artists talked about a male counterpart of theirs also from Chicago, Chief Keef, who is known for his song “Love Sosa.” They felt like his music perpetuates the negative image of rap music and the behavior depicted in the music.
“Who wants to be a fan of something so negative?” SunBLVD asked. “People don’t know how to be fans of something without taking part in the culture.”
FM Supreme noted that she is bothered by the negativity of the industry.
“We live in a world that profits off the murder and deaths of other people. We live in a world that profits off of exploitation,” FM Supreme said. “You don’t have to rap about drugs to be successful.”
Gordon, who is also from Chicago, thought the music was unique.
“It was good and rejuvenating to hear such good and positive music even though where they come from is such a horrible place,” Gordon said. “You can rap about positive things and get your message out.”
Sophomore Maria Nguyen noted that what she took from the event is the idea that even when it is difficult, women can find success in an industry.
She added, “Gender does not determine someone’s talent.”