LL Cool J, Questlove, & Nas Called Out For Lack Of Women Included In Hip-Hop 50 Events

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A GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 08: Host LL Cool J speaks onstage during A GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop at YouTube Theater on November 08, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
The post also listened numerous pioneering female MCs who were left out.

Last year was the 50th Anniversary of rap music and there were a variety of celebrations. Superstars of the genre's history both old and new came together for live performances and written pieces all year. Despite the massive celebration, there were some criticisms with who was included int he story of the genre's history. MC Debbie D, who identifies herself as the first solo female rapper took to Twitter to publish an open letter. It was addressed to LL Cool J, Questlove, Nas, and all the organizers of Hip-Hop 50 events asking why some of the most pioneering women in rap weren't included.

She began with some praise of the conceptual achievements of Hip-Hop 50. "The Grammy Awards and Yankee Stadium events were a beautiful celebration of hip hop commemorating 50 years of our existence. With the recent Grammys show in particular, LL says ‘everyone cannot be in the show,’ to which I understand," her letter begins. “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.” Check out her full letter below.

MC Debbie D's Open Letter To Rap 50 And LL COOL J

Her statement wasn't done there though. “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.”

After listing off some female MCs she felt should have been included she finished her statement. “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.” What do you think of MC Debbie D's claims that events hosted by LL Cool J, Nas, and Questlove overlooked women in rap's history? Let us know in the comment section below.

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About The Author
Lavender Alexandria is a music and culture journalist based in Los Angeles, California. She’s covered dozens of musical genres and styles from the most mainstream to the most experimental and underground on her blog and accompanying YouTube channel that looks at music, pop culture, and Billboard charts since 2017: Lav’s Music Corner. Lavender has produced editorial and listicle content both in written and video form over the past far years and has also interviewed up-and-coming artists like Censored Dialogue. Her experiences covering culture have taken her from Hyperpop parties in LA to underground rap shows in Atlanta, to DIY punk shows in Charlotte. Lavender has also written for iHeartRadio, covering some of the biggest artists in Hip Hop such as Ice Spice, Drake, Doja Cat and Cardi B. She also has bylines with ScreenRant and continues to write for Ringtone magazine. Lavender is a lifelong Charlotte Hornets fan and her favorite rap artists include Clipping, Little Simz, Earl Sweatshirt, and Kendrick Lamar.
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