It's been 25 years since Queen Latifah first rhymed, "The ladies will kick it the rhyme that is wicked / Those that don't know how to be pros get evicted!" on All Hail the Queen, her debut album. That very same "Ladies First" spirit lives on and thrives this Saturday in Santa Ana at an event called "Womyn in Hip-Hop," showcasing the talents of women in all elements of hip-hop culture.
"I've had the intention of putting something together like this for awhile now," says organizer Zuleica Zepeda. She's a hip-hop head, photographer, artist, poet and activist in her hometown of Santa Ana. "My love for hip-hop and the work that I do around women, I combined both of those elements to celebrate and honor women in hip-hop."
And it promises to do just that. The show is headlined by Krudas Cubensi, an Austin-based rap duo originating from Havana, Cuba. Pasa Kruda and Pelusa MC are well known for their Spanish spitfire 'New Caribbean Feminist' anthems that have blazed through OC on more than one occasion, but not since releasing Poderosxs, their latest studio album.
Other acts include Sista Eyerie's reggae-influenced rhymes and the indigenista raps of Alas. As a young girl Zepeda had few women on the mic to look up to like the ones she's assembled for Saturday's show. "Going back to the root of hip-hop what we know is the pioneers being all men but we were there as well," she says. "Unfortunately I wasn't exposed to a lot of female emcees growing up, though. What I do remember is listening to Queen Latifah and MC Lyte."
The First Annual Womyn in Hip-Hop Gathering isn't just about the music. All the elements of hip-hop culture will be well represented. DJ Yellow Black Bird, a Santa Ana staple, is set to spin on the ones and twos. Fellow local B-Girl Motavation will floss her break dancing skills. Graffiti art, vendors and feminist organizations round out the event hosted by Abeni Moreno and Vanessa Rodriguez of KBEACH's Conscious Radio.
"We're so caught up with connecting online and having thousands of friends on Facebook," Zepeda says of her inaugural gathering. "The event is about building real community and making real connections."
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Or as Monie Love rhymed alongside Queen Latifah in '89, "We are the ones that give birth / To the new generation of prophets because it's ladies first!"
The 1st Annual Womyn in Hip-Hop Gathering takes place at the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association (VAALA), 1600 N Broadway, Suite 210, Santa Ana. www.4elementzz.tumblr.com. $10 at the door, $5 student w/ ID. 6 p.m. All ages.