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Bronx Museum Event to Celebrate Women in Hip-Hop

By Eddie Small | September 2, 2015 10:27am
Ana "Rokafella" Garcia (far right) poses with the women featured in her documentary "All The Ladies Say."
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Full Circle Productions

THE BRONX — A hip-hop performer who focuses on domestic violence issues, the founder of a traveling school for creative activism and a Canadian street artist will all be featured at an upcoming Bronx Museum of the Arts event celebrating women in hip-hop.

The free showcase takes place on Oct. 2 from 6 to 10 p.m. in honor of the anniversary of director Ana "Rokafella" Garcia's documentary "All The Ladies Say," which came out in 2011 and focuses on the work of female break dancers from San Jose, Atlanta, Miami and Chicago.

"My interest was to see how women were existing in a male-dominated genre of dance," Garcia said. "I knew what I had been through since I lived it firsthand as a pioneer and second-wave female break dancer in the 90s, but I was curious to see how was it in other cities or around the world."

Garcia will host the event, which will include live painting by Bronx Graffiti Art Gallery co-founder Lady K-Fever, performances by Lah Tere and Queen Godis from the organization Momma's Hip Hop Kitchen, and a female break dancing exhibition.

Lady K-Fever began writing her name in the streets in Vancouver in the early 1990s and has since worked as the curator of Chelsea's Aurora Gallery and been invited to paint in Harlem's Graffiti Hall of Fame, according to her biography.

Tere is a co-founder of Momma's Hip Hop Kitchen and a founding member of the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective in The Bronx, according to her bio.

She performs and writes about issues surrounding domestic violence and connects examples in the media of violence against women to a silence surrounding issues like molestation and rape in communities of color, her bio says.

Queen Godis founded QGUniversity in 2001, which her website describes as "an International Traveling School of Healing Arts and Creative Activism," and she has released two albums and performed in three solo off-Broadway shows, her bio says.

The event is meant to help shine a spotlight on the important roles that women play in hip-hop, according to Garcia.

"Women are invisible if not inaccurately portrayed in the hip-hop mainstream," she said, "so it really is important to celebrate the contributions of women in hip-hop, along with inspiring people to believe in themselves."

She was particularly excited to hold this event at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, as that location played an integral role in launching her project that eventually became "All The Ladies Say."

"It is an honor to return to the Bronx Museum for this anniversary since it was there that the first panel discussion took place for this project in 2005, when we did not even have confirmation of funds," she said.

Lauren Click, director of community and public programs for the Bronx Museum, said she was equally happy to host Garcia, as the museum had been a longtime supporter of her.

"It will be an evening to reflect on all of the amazing work that she and her colleagues have done in the last ten years," she said.

It can be tough for women to succeed in hip-hop, according to Garcia, who said they have to be phenomenally talented with a very concrete vision to make it in the industry.

"You have to know what are you saying, what are you about," she said, "because if there’s no depth to it, then people don’t take you seriously. If I go down to dance and I look weak, I’m trembling, then the guys are like, you’re wasting my time."

She predicted that the event would appeal to hip-hop fans from multiple eras of the genre's history.

"I expect the attendance of many generations of hip-hop lovers to enjoy hip-hop in its most natural state at this event," she said. "I believe hip-hop was always about fusing art and business and community, so now is the time to get back to this concept."