Where do words like “thot,” “hoe,” and “bitch” come from, and how do they affect us? This question began a conversation with female hip hop fans and recording artists that led to some very deep understandings…and many many more questions. These topics get broken down in the new Free THOT videos, a series exploring female sexuality and hip hop.
Free Thot episode 1 features local recording artists such as Jennifer Johns, Kevin Allen (fka Erk tha Jerk), A-Plus (Hieroglyphics), and Kisura Nyoto (Midtown Social), as well as commentary from female hip hop fans. The videos discuss words like “thot,” “hoe,” and “bitch,” what their context is, and how women have used hip hop in powerful ways to find liberation. “Free Thot” was created by Bay Area producers Charlese Banks, Adria Bani, and Aja Lenae of Subversal Media.
“This topic rarely gets talked about from the perspective of women. The conversation about what’s acceptable or not about female sexuality is usually defined by men,” says series co-producer Aja Lenae. Free THOT hopes to create more productive dialogue on the topic by sharing the voices of women/femmes of color, and examples of how controlling ideas about sex and womanhood are expressed in popular music.
“Hip hop is a powerful art form and culture, and in the tradition of other forms of Black music it provides a counter-narrative to the mainstream. This alternative culture is key to escaping from, and healing, some of the harms caused by systemic racism and sexism,” says co-producer Adria Bani. As the first episode addresses, hip hop has been scapegoated in the past as perpetuating misogyny, but the negative language is merely playing out sexism from the broader society in its own way.
As co-producer Charlese Banks has pointed out, “there’s a lot of sensitivity around this topic, but it’s important that we talk about it. We might not all agree, but we have to start thinking more deeply about these ideas.”
On Thursday July 27th, Pandora Radio HQ in Downtown Oakland hosted a live screening and panel discussion for the first full-length episode in the series. Anyone who couldn’t attend may watch a recorded stream of the panel on the Subversal Facebook page. Subscribe to our email list to get the full-length digital release of episode 1: “What is a free thot?” in your inbox.