How Hip Hop Boosted My Self – Confidence

In a world full of Kylie and Kendall copy-cats and Rihanna wanna-be’s it’s hard for girls out here. Body image has improved over the years thanks to models like Ashley Graham and Jordyn Woods breaking the mold. But it is still hard to feel truly comfortable in your own skin, when the entertainment and media industry are still looking for thin!

When I first discovered rap music my sister and I were watching a Notorious B.I.G. music video called “Big Poppa”.  It showed a bunch of girls at a party dancing, drinking and having a great time.  I wasn’t able to understand what the song meant at the time but I notice the girls in the music video were something different. The girls weren’t the typical girls you saw on advertisement or on TV. The lead girl was curvy women with braided hair, and as someone who watched a lot of Disney and Nickelodeon this was not something you came across too often. I loved Ginger, Hannah Montana, and Wizard of Waverly Place but I couldn’t relate to those girls physically. Hip-Hop not only changed the realm of music but also beauty. As I fell deeper in love with rap I started to realize that girls with different body shapes can be leads too.Rap music is widely known to objectify women with hip hop artist constantly degrading women and sometimes promoting rape. Majority of rap song call women ‘bitches’ with most rap videos have half naked girls dancing. It’s hard to image that such a negative representation of women could build any girls self-confidence.
But rap music isn’t all about making women feel bad, most rappers praise women in their own way. B.O.B started his career calling all the girls all around the world beautiful. Lil Wayne’s music video ‘How to Love’ focused on the importance of mother and daughter relationship. And my personal favorite 2 Pac’s ‘Dear Mama’ is a song about how much he loves his mom.Hip- Hop like all kinds of genre of music has its pros and cons but what I love about hip hop is how it praises individuality. Female rappers may not get the same praise men do, but female rappers are praised for their uniqueness. Unlike pop and country music female rapper’s aren’t constricted by the chains of being feminine. Queen Latifah, Dej Loaf, and Young Ma aren’t being overly sexual in their music video. Hip Hop encourages girls to be strong and often describe women as the bread winner.

Rap music makes me feel like I can co-exist in a male world and be just as successful as a man. It tells me that the stretch marks and cellulite are actually what some guys describe as beauty.
Words by Samha Ndossy

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