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Ladies First

Hip-hop began as the little genre that could. When the Sugarhill Gang and Kurtis Blow started spitting rhymes in the late Seventies, few dreamed that hip-hop would become mainstream and that rappers would own fashion labels and star in corporate commercials. The bass keeps booming and the movement is unstoppable. This year the Miami Light Project’s fourth annual Miami/Project Hip-Hop is offering a week of activities that draws attention to the slept-on artists who provide the backbone as well as the booty, a body part frequently discussed and objectified in the culture.

“We don’t want to say that it’s about women in hip-hop, because that’s trite. Women are hip-hop. They’re just as much a part of it as men are. We’re just bringing that a little more into the foreground,” explains board member and artistic director Teo Castellanos. “The mission is to enlighten folks. Even white mothers from the suburbs who have prejudice against hip-hop can learn something and groove to it.”

This year’s schedule of events will display the diverse talents of female movers and shakers through still art, film, music, and dance. B-Girl Ballet, a new theatrical work by the Floor Angelz, will take the stage Friday, May 12. Jamiah Adams’s work-in-progress documentary, Mujeres de Hip-Hop Cubana, will be screened Saturday, May 13, before the inspiring opening address by renowned performance artist Rha Goddess. During the artist showcase that night at 8:00, viewers will enjoy the hosting skills of Deborah Magdalena, and a performance from last year’s D-Projects breakout hit Scratch & Burn. An excerpt from next year’s commissioned performance, Giovanni Luquini’s Idalina, will make its debut. DJ Snowhite will provide world beat rhythms to get the crowd moving. One of this year’s highlights is a discussion of We B*Girlz -- a book that traces the evolution of ladies who would rather pop and lock than shake their butts like Beyoncé -- presented by break-dancing legend Anita “Rokafella” Garcia.

“Because you normally see men breaking, it seems like such a huge undertaking for women. It requires a lot of strength,” explains Rokafella. She will back up her words with a dance demonstration at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, May 14. Tonight at 6:30, gain illumination at The Light Box with “Habaname,” Diamela Fernández’s photography exhibition that documents street culture in Cuba. Admission is free. Call 305-576-4350, or visit for a complete schedule of events and locations.
May 11-14


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