Sunday, August 8, 2010

Allied hip hop poetry...a.k.a. some good ish

Let us return to the theme of the previous post about allies, largely because a discussion I had earlier tonight reminded me how fraught that term is. My male friend said to me, "I'm not an ally to feminists, I'm a feminist." Semantics aside, I respect this commitment and I accept it wholeheartedly. Despite my ongoing struggle with the term "ally," it is really important that I acknowledge that good work (and good art!) is being done for justice...and is being done by all kinds of people. Thus, I will now start an occasional blog feature called Awesome Male Feminists (AMFs). I'm excited that the first AMF will honor a hip hop figure because too many people characterize hip hop as inherently sexist without ever exploring the diversity of the genre. Yes, I do love hip hop. Could you tell? Ahem, now to the award.

First AMF: Saul Williams, hip hop poet extraordinaire.
Reason: His newly released song/poem "B.S. in a Tampon."

I wish I could link to this song, but I can't. Just know that it's the new lead song on my "Inspiring" playlist. "B.S." is on the new Believer Summer Music CD and it is also available from iTunes. I love this track because, as a broadly postcolonial thinker, I appreciate that Williams also thinks intersectionally. He clearly understands (and cares) that women's bodies are the playgrounds of imperialism:

"We have colonized the minds and bodies of women like British soldiers crammed into a tampon."

Yes, this is a gross image, but as such it is incredibly apt. We sometimes forget how gross sexism really is. Williams reminds us that patriarchy, like all imperialism, is physical, is the repression of bodies. Then, he ends with a punching, crescendoing chorus:

"Your world view is infertile, your seed is wasted on cement. Your world view is infertile, your seed. Is wasted. On cement."

Thanks, Mr. Williams. You have made me excited about poetry again.

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