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Hip-Hop is For Lovers: Sex and Intimacy Through the Lens of Pop Culture's Most Influential Music Form

Speaking with Uche and Lenée, hosts of the weekly podcast "Hip-Hop is For Lovers."

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  Hip-Hop is For Loversis a multimedia web experience dedicated to looking at love, sex and intimacy through the lens of hip hop culture. Its centerpiece is a  weekly woman-centered, queer-friendly and justice-heavy podcast that features discussions about a variety of relationship topics punctuated with the best in rap. After months as a listener, I had the privilege of talking with podcast co-hosts  Uche and Lenée about the making of the show, the tentative relationship between hip hop culture and mainstream feminism, and what we should be listening to next. After the interview, tune in live on Wednesday nights from 8-10 EST to hear Uche and Lenée in action.

LB: First off, I’m a huge fan of the show. As a listener, I am constantly delighted with the variety of messages that you both bring to the show. The treatment of the subject material — love and romantic relationships through the lens of hip hop culture — is a mixture of the intellectual, romantic, raunchy, informational and critical. What mission or experience do you bring to the discussion every week?

Uche: The mission that I bring to the show is to just have fun and educate.

Lenée: We like to have adult conversations. That is, not adult in that FCC way, but adult as in ‘this will not be sugar coated.’ We try hard not to pull any punches; and I know that the transparency with which Uche and I address the subject matter is valuable. I won’t say that everyday folk who are fans of the music and culture simply don’t get into critical affirmation, but it certainly feels that way sometimes, particularly when it comes to the ever-complicated subject of romantic dealings within the culture and in the music. We like to inform folks, play some dope music, laugh, and maybe expand our own knowledge through each live broadcast.


LB: I love that you really emphasize audience participation with Twitter andFacebook. This makes the live listening experience so fun because the audience is encouraged to share stories and comments about sex and relationships. You two also share quite a bit of your own personal experiences. Are you ever freaked out about sharing too much personal sexual information on the show? Like, does your grandma listen in?

Lenée: We make it a point to share exactly what we want, in the ways we see fit. We believe in healthy boundaries, and make sure we enforce them for ourselves. Nobody in my family listens, thank Trap Jesus. My family knows about the show but doesn’t participate in any way. I hope it stays that way. Forever.

Uche: Well, while I am sometimes self conscious about what I say after I have said it but that last only for a short time as it’s out there now and I can’t take it back. I just hope that it is useful to someone now that it’s out there. As far as family tuning in, I know my sisters tune in occasionally, but like Lenée, my family knows about the show but most don’t tune in.

LB: Sometimes the music and the scene are centered — as with “Groupie Love” — and sometimes you approach the topic with a more informational tone — as with “Dedicated to the Kinkster in You” — with the music being more of a side attraction. How do you come up with concepts for each show? Who chooses the playlists?

Uche: The playlists are joint collaborations, tied to the subject matter when possible. We come up with them together. Lenée and I are always bouncing ideas off of each other and sometimes people will ask us to talk about certain subjects or play certain songs. It’s different every time but always a collaborative effort.