Do our ladies run this mug?? HECK yeah.
This month across our social media, we’re giving it up for the #RapQueens who hold us down. From the OG female MCs who put Black women’s voices on the map to the new queens who keep the party going, we’re playing their lessons back on the 1s and 2s to share some of our favorites. May what we learn from their lessons of Black brilliance help us build blueprints for our own legacies.
Lesson 1: Seize the moment – Doja Cat
Life is all about taking control of the moment and making it yours. And that is exactly what Doja Cat did when she created Mooo! The song might seem silly, but at its core, it’s a tender and affecting piece of songwriting about perseverance and individuality that just so happened to go viral and change the trajectory of her carer. By letting her hair down and doing what she loved, she pushed the boundaries by thinking outside the box, laying the foundation for a legacy that centers on fun, enjoyment, and of course, Black brilliance.
Lesson 2: Stand for what you believe – Queen Latifah
“You have to stand for what you believe in sometimes you stand alone.” Queen Latifah (Two snaps for the Queen).
Queen Latifah is often credited as rap’s first feminist for using her platform to shine a light on Black women’s issues. She was often alone in a genre that was not only male-dominated but also hyper-focused on seeing women for their sexuality. Yet, her message and legacy of U.N.I.T.Y. lasted because she dared to raise her voice.
Lesson 3: Embrace all of your dimensions – Kellis
Who knew that the milkshake Kelis sang about was made from cows on her farm? Oh, didn’t you know Kelis had a farm? How about the fact that she is a professionally trained chef and a Grammy-nominated artist? Who says you can’t do more than one thing? The brilliance of being multi-dimensional means you don’t have to decide between either/or, but you can embrace the beauty of both/and.
Lesson 4: Let joy lead you – Left Eye
Known for being an animated, electric rapper in the public eye and a huge goofball to her family and friends, Left Eye taught us that wearing a smile and leading with joy while also being a skillful master at your craft is possible.
But don’t get it twisted, though. Left Eye also taught us to do anything to protect our joy and that burning bridges may not always be a bad thing. Letting go of the past that may be holding you back from a better and new beginning is a necessary step in moving closer and closer to your most joyful, authentic self.
Lesson 5: Self-preservation is self-love – Lauryn Hill
Self-love is a key part of Lauryn Hill’s legacy. As an act of self-preservation, Ms. Hill removed herself from the harsh light of the music industry after releasing one album.
Though many people didn’t, and still don’t, understand her decision, her album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill achieved so much success. Lauryn teaches us that it’s ok to confuse people in pursuing our own well-being and that self-preservation, however it may look, is radical self-love and care at its finest.
We’re thankful for all of the Rap Queens who teach us on the daily. To all the cool aunties, epic mommas, dope dads, and lit caregivers, we hope you’ll use these lessons to connect with your young ones on what they can learn from their favorite rap queen.
Let’s give our kids blueprints of Black brilliance that go beyond what we see in our history books or classrooms. Black brilliance is everywhere! Thanks for the reminders of brilliance QUEENS!
CAREGIVER BRILLIANCE BONUS: Check out this free mini-Rap Queen coloring book–it’s great for the kids (and for you, let’s be real)!