What would be the acoustic equivalent to „visibility“? Well, whatever the right terminology: amplifying „it“ lies at the end of strategies that aim at creatively counter-striking androcentric ignorance in HipHop music. Soon, the Female Focus Festival (July 2015, Berlin, germs) opens a forum for the exchange, critique and networking all around this issue.
In exited anticipation of that I’m gonna dig in my collection and polish some of my most precious picks to add to your in depth knowledge and reckoning of what is captured behind the label „female“ in rap. This time I am going to present you the acoustic equivalent to honesty – and that would be: Eternia.
„I refuse to be subordinate!“
Writing about those artists who mean the most to me isn’t easy. You need to know: Eternia is one of my first and dearest. When I got so lucky to see her live on stage in 2008 I instantly was overwhelmed and cried of excitement. Part of it goes back to her energetic presence, her deep, loud voice, that resonates quite intensively in my chest. And what still strikes me with Eternia is her relentless honesty about the cost we pay for being independent as ordinary straight women who live to make this world our own.
Eternia’s writing is very biographic, based on personal experience. Based on deep disappointment, frustration and the blunt abuse of her vulnerabilities and longings, of her desire for freedom and love.
„You never see what I see yo /
You never see that unless you was me yo /
Ladies never loose who you be yo
never loose sight always be free yo!“ (Control, off It’s Called Life)
For some that might be too personal, too intimate. But once you feel how she steps from that to a more general perspective you learn a lesson about „female“ HipHop: in our case, being real about the hardships in life means to reveal spheres of our live others might be privileged to disclose as „private“, as the last bastion against life’s hardship: intimate relationships. For some of us, however, they’re the very heart of danger as much as they might be the target of our last longing. Struggling with all that as a central contradiction of a woman’s live and being open about it: that’s Eternia. Writing rhymes about being abused and raped, about abortion and the awareness how such details of our biographies devalue us culturally and socially in the eyes of a possible future male partner (To the Future), without ever wailing: that’s Eternia; swearing at haters without ever hating: that’s Eternia; claiming a room of her own (Goodbye): that’s Eternia. She is: Honest Independence.
And she is independent as an artist: based in Toronto and New York and well known in several hiphop communities. She is touring worldwide, released several tapes and two studio albums (It’s Called LIfe and At Last), runs the „my favorite rapper wears a skirt campaign“, and is being saluted to by MC Lyte for her dynamic stage performance. Nevertheless, the MC never went in chart wise. Because she never tried. Because she never felt the urge to do so. Because she wants to run her own business. Because she celebrates live concerts, jam sessions and the street life. And the freedom to write whatever she feels like.
Reading this contribution it’s more than obvious: I am a fan, identifying, admiring, celebrating. A fan of this strong persona who left home early as a teenager, moving to New York, diving in the scene, being one of the boys, realizing she’ll never be one of them, who later graduated from college, who survived sexual violence, who participates in girls education programs against sexual abuse as an activist, who is outspoken, who is a writer, who is a rapper, who is one of my favorites, who sometimes wears a skirt.