Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop

Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop



Hip-hop celebrates 50 years, and this docu-series celebrates the women that shaped it


TV Show

Latto, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah


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What it's about

Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop is a docu-series that celebrates the trailblazing women who have shaped hip-hop culture.

The take

Often overlooked, overshadowed, and overwritten, the contributions of Black women in the 50-year history of hip-hop are seldom celebrated. In the four-part series, the hip-hop legends (Sha Rock, Roxanne Shanté, Queen Latifa, MC Lyte) all the way to the current stars of the genre (Tierra Whack, Saweetie, Chika, Latto) break down the history and hardships of being a woman in hip-hop. From misogynistic treatment and predatory contracts to the reclamation of sexuality and autonomy, the docu-series covers a broad enough spectrum to be an introduction to the women at the forefront and cornerstones of the beloved genre. The tone is positive and uplifting, building an overall bright sisterhood vibe that never breaches the more tumultuous in-fighting/policing and equally influential controversies. This isn't necessarily bad but is, instead, limiting for viewers that won't dig deeper. But in the spirit of celebrating, this series gives these women their flowers, pays homage to the pioneers, and shine a light on the future of hip-hop that fights for inclusivity, representation, and equality. 

What stands out

When mentioning 'Women in Hip-Hop', many names come to mind, but there are many unsung heroes. And in this day and age of excess information and high-speed feeds, the inclusion of journalists, academics and archivists was a great addition to this series. Not only were people like Syreeta Gates, Brittney Cooper, and Nadirah Simmons invaluable as lovers of hip-hop but their immersion and work in its history helped contextualize the pivotal shifts. Although fifty years can't be fully compressed into four episodes, seeing these Black women actively documenting and preserving history was a great touch.


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