There’s definitely been a corporate takeover of hip-hop in general; it has happened to men as well. Some male artists have been kind of sidelined.
TR: What gives you hope that hip-hop can become less of a male-dominated and sexist space?
BB: I’m hopeful because there are a lot of talented women out here whose voices need to be heard; there are a generation of girls behind them. Those girls need to see examples of what a woman can look like and what they can be. They need that variety. We used to have Lil’ Kim, Foxy [Brown], Lauryn Hill, Rah Digga, MC Lyte, Missy Elliott, Yo-Yo, Da Brat, Left Eye—all women and people [who] had their own styles—Jean Grae, Isis, Queen Latifah.
I think that the music industry itself can’t stop the music, and the industry might mess it up, but the music will live on. People will desire and need and want to hear women in hip-hop. Giving them a platform is something I’m happy to be a part of—giving them a chance to shine and show what they have to offer.
Rock! Like a Girl takes place on Saturday, April 5, at 8 p.m., at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Jenée Desmond-Harris is The Root’s senior staff writer. Follow her on Twitter.