On Tuesday (January 2), MC Debbie D — the self-proclaimed first solo female rapper – took to X (formerly Twitter) to share an open letter calling out the aforementioned trio for omitting several foundational female Hip Hop acts from their events last year.
“Brothers and Sisters: The Grammy Awards and Yankee Stadium events were a beautiful celebration of hip hop commemorating 50 years of our existence,” she began. “With the recent Grammys show in particular, LL says ‘everyone cannot be in the show,’ to which I understand.
“However, in conjunction with not being asked to perform at events, surprisingly, the names of female pioneers are not even included in a ticker tape or roll call. With both omissions, many say, female pioneers are being erased from the narrative. I choose to believe that either this is due to a lack of knowledge or the epidemic of revisionist history.”
She continued: “At the Grammys, it was admirable to see my sisters, MC Sha Rock and Roxanne Shante on the mic performing, having the earliest careers among the other females rappers present, however, between them is a 7 year time span. As a Hip Hop Historian and Flyerologist, I present below, a progression of names of early women in hip hop who should always be noted whenever there is a discussion of pioneers.”
Debbie D then listed Hip Hop matriarchs like MC Sha Rock, Lisa Lee, herself, Pebblee Poo and Roxanne Shante, noting their trailblazing presence “on the mic at park jams, parties, parties, battles, flyers, cassette tapes, radio, records, television, film and literary works.”
“As you know, during Hip Hop 50, women in hip hop today are receiving their flowers. To be on the right side of history is to remember the names of the women who paved their way! Peace,” she concluded.
— MC Debbie D, PhD. (@MCDebbieD) January 2, 2024
Nas, LL COOL J and Questlove were instrumental in organizing some of the biggest events last year commemorating the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop.
The former, along with Mass Appeal, spearheaded various initiatives, including the epic Hip Hop 50 Live concert at Yankee Stadium which saw performances from dozens of acts including Run-DMC, Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, Wu-Tang Clan, and Nas himself.
Roxanne Shante also performed at the event, alongside other female rap icons such as Lil Kim, Trina and Remy Ma. Cindy Campbell, the former Bronx high school student who threw the party where DJ Kool Herc is credited with birthing the genre, was also on the bill.
Meanwhile, LL’s Rock The Bells Festival put together an MTV special headlined by Big Daddy Kane, Method Man and Redman, Monie Love, Queen Latifah, Rakim, Run-D.M.C., Salt-N-Pepa, Swizz Beatz and LL COOL J.
And the ever-prolific Questlove executive produced the similarly star-studded Hip Hop 50 tribute performance at the Grammy Awards last February, as well as the more recent TV special A Grammy Salute to 50 Years of Hip Hop.
MC Debbie D isn’t the only one who feels snubbed by all the Hip Hop 50 celebrations. Last summer, 2 Live Crew’s Uncle Luke aired his grievances with what he felt was a lack of recognition for Florida’s contributions to the culture.
“Hip-hop fans from Florida. Don’t be upset they don’t recognize your favorite Floridian artists as part of hip-hop’s 50th year celebrations,” he wrote on Instagram. “This industry has never considered us as hip-hop from the time I started hip-hop in the south.
“You can only imagine the names they called us. Country booty music trash, music. I can go on and on [about] the disrespect towards Florida hip-hop.”
He continued: “Still to this day, we fight for our respect, and you have stood behind us every step of the way. We will continue fighting. There will be a day this year where we come together and celebrate Florida hip-hop artist from the top of the state to the bottom.”
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