Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Dr. Jared A. Ball

A significant tendency in Hip-Hop Female Studies provides “a crunk feminist mode of resistance” that “will help you get your mind right.” Properly armed with the canon, “You might not only break the ‘Madonna/Whore split’ when dealing with ‘women in rap music,’ but you might even break up the two-party political system or better still the haves and have-nots!”

 

Women’s History Month, Hip-Hop and The Ten Crunk Commandments

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Dr. Jared A. Ball

We are drunk off the heady theory of feminism that proclaims that another world is possible.”

They may claim that their commandments are to reinvigorate Hip-Hop Feminist Studies but as I heard them discussed by the brothers at TRGGR Radio this week, The Crunk Feminist Collective, authors of the Ten Crunk Commandments, may be able to reinvigorate much more than any one particular field of inquiry. Intellectuals, activists and artists have a more or less constant need to be reinvigorated and generally speaking those in the hip-hop community are no different. So it is good to know some strong women are endeavoring to yet again save us all.

As the collective explains, the term “crunk” combines “crazy,” or “chronic” and “drunk,” to describe a state of being “crazy drunk.” It signifies hyper-intoxication but, here, as they say, “ …where merely getting crunk signaled that you were out of your mind, a crunk feminist mode of resistance will help you get your mind right… As part of a larger women-of-color feminist politic, crunkness, in its insistence on the primacy of the beat, contains a notion of movement, timing, and of meaning-making through sound, that is especially productive for our work together… In other words, what others may call audacious and crazy, we call CRUNK because we are drunk off the heady theory of feminism that proclaims that another world is possible.”

You can read The Ten Crunk Commandments in their entirety online but here are my thoughts on why these commandments are so valuable, beyond their importance to the important work of Hip-Hop and Feminist Studies:

Their first commandment, “Know your history,” is great. We should have and know the canon in any field that we enter or want to improve. But just like they say in their second commandment, “Don’t romanticize the Past.” As they say, “there is no Hip Hop Eden” and that’s true musically, as well as, intellectually. We are collectively getting our butts kicked out here so lets definitely raise up the canon and then fire one [cannon] at it filled with today’s conditions and questions to see how it holds up. This requires the third commandment, “Positions – Knows Yours/Take One.” Place yourself politically and state that position and, as commanded, “be willing to take intellectual and creative risks, to question orthodoxy.”

We must ‘Recognize the Power of the Collective.’”

Number four, “Contextualize and Situate” the socio-political conditions which have shaped these fields of inquiry precisely because they have shaped the people themselves. This will help to, number five, “Avoid the pitfalls of presentism” to know that these conditions are part of a continuing process that your investigations must not be so narrow as to miss and, therefore, have less relevance. So when you, number six, “Embrace ambivalence” or “reject false binaries” you might not only break the “Madonna/Whore split” when dealing with “women in rap music,” but you might even break up the two-party political system or better still the haves and have-nots!

This requires that we, number seven, “Envision the possibilities,” to move beyond merely “deconstructing” and to actually begin asking questions about what society we want to build. So we definitely need to, number eight, “Wield technology” specifically, as the collective commands, for “social movements.” Its bigger than Twitter because, number nine, “Lived Realities Still Matter.” Our work must be “accountable to the people” and reflect their immediate and future needs. Because, as the tenth commandment states, we must “Recognize the Power of the Collective.” That is where the power is. With the people, not the famous, not the rich and not the politician the rich and famous tell us to vote for.

The sisters are speaking and that’s some of what I heard.

Acknowledging that Women’s History has no Month, I’m Jared Ball for Black Agenda Radio.

For more, including links to more evidence sent to us by friends that hip-hop is very much alive and in the hands of brilliant women, see us online at BlackAgendaReport.com.

Dr. Jared A. Ball can be reached via email at freemixradio@gmail.com.

Hip-Hop Lives, Check Her Out:

Stahhr - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qWUj_ZXNvU

Boog Brown - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SGeFP68VfY

Sa Roc - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCfaVFIijP0

Rita J - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksbUUS-iTls

Kalae - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igh--Qv5n1k

Psalm One - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9Ls9KSmhTw

Tiye Phoenix - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ccc9p5am7mo

SoulFlower - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-x6dKTBJUI

Tiff The Gift - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFFcUfxwuJ8&feature=related

Akua Naru - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyVbOFLkOw8&feature=related

Invincible - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxZbpbCKKL4

Dominique Larue - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcihEc2XoqA&feature=related

Jean Grae - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJMgnuUnrBU&feature=related

She the Hard Way - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joWKTN49BDE

Direct download: 20110316_jb_WomensHistory.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:37am EDT