By Guest Contributor DJ Kuttin Kandi
Nearly 20 years after the film Nobody Knows My Name by documentarian Rachel Raimist many of us can still relate to the many stories of the wom*n in Hip Hop that were told in the film. We, the Anomolies crew can most definitely relate as we are just a few of the thousands upon thousands of names you never knew existed.
Anomolies originally started off as an “all female Hip Hop” collective back in 1995 with over 26 members. In the last few years, we have evolved to be inclusive to being a gender justice collective. So, we don’t appreciate the assumptions and the misgendering of any of our crew members. We came together to create a safe space for ourselves within Hip Hop so that we can be all that we are and do what we love without having to worry about ridicule, judgement and overall oppression that many of us so often receive within many patriarchal-dominated Hip Hop spaces. Anomolies’ intentional goal was to support one another and to offer our support to many of us within Hip Hop who are so often marginalized and underrepresented. We started Anomolies because we knew that we had to be our own agents of change because if we didn’t, who else would?
The dictionary definition of the name aNoMoLIES is 1. To deviate from the norm. or 2. Something that occurs once in a lifetime. When you break down the name it spells out No Mo Lies (no more lies). Anomolies dispels myths about our identities in Hip Hop culture. We are proud to deviate from the “norm”, we are proud to question and to challenge myths.
Beyond our own Hip Hop crew, so many of us are Anomolies — trying to break gender norms, defying myths and trying to use Hip Hop as a platform to be heard.
So many of us are local to global wom*n-identified, wom*n of color, black and brown bodies, indigenous, queer, trans, two-spirited, gender non-conforming, disabled, adoptees, (im)migrants, non-working to working class Hip Hop artists and communities that you never knew had skills. So many are the voices that many have never heard of because either they are pretending we don’t exist or they are pretending to be us. We’re either the ones many want to “rachelize” or we’re the ones they want to call “old skool” b*tches and not give us our due props. We’re the ones you would never know about until an actor like Shia LaBeouf shows up on video footage somewhere in the woods reciting some of our verses from one of our songs and “fake the funk” like he was actually freestyling.
But we are more than just any of this …
We are more than just rappers/lyricists/battle mc’s, DJs & turntablists, producers, graffiti writers, and Bgirlz. We are more than just “independent Hip Hop”. We’re not just from that “true hip hop” cypher we so often call the “underground”. No, we are more than just all this …
Because we also practice the 5th element of Hip Hop which is knowledge, we’ve got knowledge of self. Because we have knowledge of self we know our roots and where we come from. We know the realities of the world and we are aware of the struggles that we face. We are conscious and because of this consciousness we know that even as I write this, many will still never know our name or care about us.
Because we are the marginalized, underrepresented, and the oppressed; we know that many will never know what it feels like to have been around for more than 2 decades to then have a few of our lyrics which was written and recorded in 1999 to be used in a cypher by a famous white cisgender-male privileged famous actor like Shia LaBeouf as though he “freestyled” it himself. We know that many will not even care to understand what it’s like to be attacked by random people defending his “freestyle” by calling us “b*tches” and to tell us that he was doing us a favor by biting our verses. We know that many will tell us it was only a few bars and that we should move on but yet only true Hip Hop heads will know this is disrespect. We know that many will not know what it feels like to now have white amerikkka watching over us and reaching out to our personal lives just to attack us with misogynist threats and even our children just because we were trying to speak up for ourselves. Because we are from the “underground” and are about that “true Hip Hop” we know that Hip Hop has reached suburb America into white backpacker homes who all love to rap Hip Hop, BE Hip Hop, and be us but yet never want to BE us.
Because we are all Anomolies and nobody knows our names – we know that after the buzz feeds and hashtags fades away, we will once again be forgotten and only those of us who truly know and love Hip Hop Culture; will continue to salute and honor us. We know that after all is said and done; we will continue to feel unsafe and unprotected as many will continue to troll the feeds with their racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist and overall oppressive comments just to protect the Rachel Dolezal’s, Iggy Izalea’s and Shia LaBeouf’s of the world – because we are the often imitated, the often erased, and the often oppressed.
But it had been our dearest friend, black lesbian feminist Audre Lorde that has taught us that our silence will not protect us. While some of us may not call ourselves feminists, some of us know that it is because of Audre Lorde that we know that Anomolies is our form of feminism. In the troubled times that we are currently facing and have been facing — from continuously being sexually assaulted, raped, harassed, to Rachel Dolezal’s blackface to Ferguson and to Charleston, to the hurtful attacks against Jennicet for demanding that trans women be released from detention centers – we know that now is not the time to retreat and be afraid of our rage for we know that our silence will not save us.
So, while to some this is just “Hip Hop” and a few bars off our track the “Perfectionist”, to so many of us this means so much more — for Anomolies is our family. nomolies is our ANSwer to speaking truth to power. We’re not here to do anything but to speak our truth because we know that this is bigger than us. We know that all this will just come and go, so we really don’t have time to continuously check the privileges of white cisgendered men of mainstream America because there are far more relevant issues going on in the world. We’ve got work to do and we are working hard to get more organized. As we organize, we know that we need to say our names and say it loud for we are proud to be more than just your average “norm”.
We are not the first to have our music and lyrics bitten, we are not the first to have our h*stories and our lives erased, nor are we the first to be culturally appropriated. But we know we at least said something and did something. We called out whom we needed to call out. We are done.
The rest is up to you all —- We are NOT going to do interviews on this subject because we got work to do. So, we’re going to let our media justice friends do that, should it be done. Btw, a big shout out to all of our fans/supporters/families who all brought this to our attention and who have had our back in responding to all this unnecessary business.
If any of you all wanna continue supporting — then support our work, support our lives, support our movement, support organizations that are doing grassroots gender rights work, call out those only all male hip-hop line ups, buy our music because some of us pay our rents and feed our families with all this, organize in your community, speak out against gender injustice when it needs to be called out — if you don’t know, then learn — not just about Anomolies but support all wom*n, wom*n of color, queer, trans and gender non-conforming with all shapes and sizes, (dis)abilities and ages. Don’t wait for us till we’re no longer here. Do this now —- for again, this is bigger than us — this is not for some “spotlight”. 20 years later you think we care about all that? Nah —- THERE ARE IMPORTANT STRUGGLES GOING ON IN THIS WORLD, we don’t got time for this unwanted attention based off of Shia LaBeouf. SO LET’S ORGANIZE. This is all that is asked to be done to speak and say our names — all of us from the “underground” to all over this world. Say that we are here … speak our names into existence for we are more than just the Anomolies… we are the family you never knew existed.
DJ Kuttin Kandi is a member of the Anomolies hip-hop collective, as well as a poet and activist.
The post On Shia LaBeouf And Appropriation: This Is What Happens When Nobody Knows Your Name appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.