written by Gale Dukes RN, BSN, MSA

How do women have success and longevity in the music industry? A male dominated industry owning most of the control. BET answers this question in its new documentary “My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth about Women and Hip-Hop.” I attended the documentary’s viewing party at Tongue & Groove to celebrate their accomplishments in music. Rapper Princess was the hostess of the event. The panel consisted of:

Princess, formerly of Crime Mob/solo artist

Shanti Das – Music Industry Executive

Dr. Joyce – Morehouse College Hip-Hop Studies Professor

Rasheeda – Rapper and solo artist DJ

Traci Steele – V103

Dawn Montgomery – Model

Dee Dee Cocheta – Hip Hop Publicist

Rohda Racha Penrice – Pop Culture Expert

Eshe – Rapper from Arrested Development

The lovely panel of entertainers represents entrepreneurs, wives, single parents and educators. They openly shared their feelings about their industry and the role they played in it. Each panelist offering her own bit of wisdom to aide others wishing to be like them, to learn from them as an effort to gain cohesiveness for other female artists. These women identified traits of staying consistent and standing on their merits as means to their survival. These tools help to bring balance and stability to their lives. Banishing strong self-esteem, they refused to change their self-image to accommodate what others wanted them to look like. A few sacrificed family for career by placing music first. Others decided to juggle both, beginning families in the midst of striving for a successful music career.Women should be able to have both and still maintain their self identity. Once you marry or become a mother in the music industry are you no longer viewed as a sex symbol? Is it different for men? Is there a double standard? Men with children are often times viewed as a stud. Often faced with controversy, these women refused to compromise their integrity. Stay strong, stay the distance, support and empower each other is the message I received while admiring the women who’s music impacted and sometimes guided lives. It’s a job, like any other that can be stressful. These women demanded their respect and worked harder than their male counterparts who often times made it competitive for them with other female artists in the business. They could’ve easily given in to the pressures but that’s not the women they are, they came to shine and bright it is. Nothing worth working for comes easy and in order to achieve you must stay the distance as these women have.Many on the panel voiced they would have preferred the males to have been more supportive and respectful of their talent. Educating listeners using all forms of hip hop as a vehicle was just one of many crafts these women possess. They all agreed it’s important to have a support system in place. TheHEALTHY CHEAT they graciously shared is simple and so easy to apply to our everyday lives.Find support for yourself, whether it be a spouse, a friend or someone with a similar interest that can be there for you when times are unfavorable.

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