My Earliest Encounters With Sexism Had a Hip-Hop Chaser

Before I discovered feminism I was already neck-deep in hip-hop culture.

The facts are simple: I was raised with hip-hop. That was the emerging culture my parents were immersed in as teenagers in the early 80s*, and even to this day there are older songs I hear that sound like lullabies to me. Old tracks by LL Cool J, the Sugarhill Gang, Kool Moe Dee, even old Common (back when he was Common Sense) fill me with a strange sense of familiarity and peace. My earliest memories are filled with the sweet mana of hip-hop.

So, it should come as no surprise that my earliest encounters with sexism also had a hip-hop chaser.

When I was about ten years old, I remember being at one of my mother’s friends house. They were doing hair in the kitchen, so they expected me to go and amuse myself by playing with the woman’s eleven year old son, Bryan. I was rapidly approaching the age when I could make my own music choices, so I was often getting in trouble for raiding my parent’s CD collections. That day, a lot like any other, I had grabbed a handful of CDs when my mom wasn’t looking, a copy of Word Up magazine, a few books (I always had a book or two on hand) and headed to the basement to try to find music videos on TV.

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