TOO MANY MAN: WOMEN IN GRIME
International Women’s Day
Ellie Ramsden is a 23 year old portrait and music photographer from the UK who really had a vision to highlight and push forward the Girls of Grime in such an empowering way, marking the date of the book launch to coincide with International Women’s Day.
Earlier on Ellie explained:
I started this project in Spring 2017 and have since photographed and interviewed 20+ women in the grime scene, including artists, DJs, radio presenters, producers, videographers and musicians. Grime is a hugely male dominated scene, with women being much less visible than men, often struggling to get the exposure and recognition they deserve. This book aims to celebrate these women and their talents, and to give them a platform to share their experiences.
Working alongside Girls of Grime, Laughta and lots of beautiful ladies, Ellie’s project is now at the forefront with BBC Three and Radio 1 Newsbeat taking a keen interest!
Talking exclusively she said;
“I saw there were so many talented women in the scene, but they just weren’t getting the recognition the guys were,”
“I just thought it was really important for someone to showcase their talent.”
There is such a huge bridge between the recognition male mc’s get compared to the females, it has been apparent since the birth of Grime and the girls are really challenging this now!
The event took place at Keakie, Shoreditch. Sponsored by E&J with media outlets left right and centre, and a nice lit up minimalist display of Ellie Ramsden’s photography was set up behind the panelists.
On the panel were women who work in Grime – MCs, DJs & Producers who discussed their talents, the challenges, the trials and tribulations and how they are now, as a collective, coming to light.
Some of the panelists shared the challenges they have faced being female in a male dominated genre.
Roxxxan was very passionate talking about when she first started mc’ing saying that;
“When grime first came out, and it would be everyone round a mic, the mic would not get passed to me,” she remembers, “unless it was, like, my best friend.
“And then, they say you were good – I grab the mic, kill it – everybody goes crazy. Everyone would turn round like, ‘oh yeah, Roxxxan’s here, she’s sick.’ And then they want to pass it to you.”
“When I started on the grime scene, women were alien,” said Coelle, who is also known as Lady Fury and took part in female clashes from as early as 2002.
“You had women behind the scenes, and the photographers or videographers, but as an MC? You had Ms. Dynamite, but she was more garage. So it was unheard of.”
“The way society is, I think the men would always have got through first.
It’s like women playing football. Why aren’t women footballers paid the same as men? They’re probably just as good, if not better – and they’re better looking! That’s my opinion anyway.”
Coelle (Lady Fury) wrapped up the talk explaining
“Grime is seen as more of an aggressive genre, and I think we’re trying to break out of that. It’s about breaking those boundaries and saying ‘it’s ok for women to do this’.”
“We should be further, but you know what? Let’s celebrate the fact that we’ve already made some steps,”
And with that sense of gratitude, and praise for the steps that everyone has already taken, it was only right to have a a cheeky E&J
It was such good vibes, all the girls took to the mic, our girl, DJ Kaylee Kay was spinning the sickest instrumentals and no word of a lie, the girls went sick, 16 bars turned to 64s as the gas levels went up. We heard different flows from Lady Shocker, Roxxxan, Miz, Keedz, Frankie and so many more talented female mc’s
My good friend Francesca and Rebekah were there and Francesca asked me a really good question, to me it was just general knowledge because Grime is the genre I grew up listening too and invested my time in and lost hearing in my left ear because of.
SO, I was more than happy to enlighten her.
She asked me;
How do the girls know when to switch the mic over or do they just grab it when they want?
I told her that mc’s spit in bars, so generally you have 8 bars that goes to the 140 beat, more common are 16’s so when you hear an mc feature it will usually be a quick 16 but because mc’s know that they spit in bars, they can automatically determine when they can reach for a mic (more time after a 16, but if she’s going in, she might just be left to shell for about 48/64 bars with the other mc’s showing respect and then pass it when she’s done)
I was about to start rambling on about JME’s 96 bars of revenge and Chip’s verse on Hear Dis… 8/16s/24s/48s/64s/96s but thought I’d save that for another time.
One to watch