ICYMI: rapper Le1f performs in the Blue Room

Le1f performs at MoMA PS1 Warmup in July 2012. Photo courtesy Tom Keelan '14

Le1f performs at MoMA PS1 Warmup in July 2012. Photo courtesy Tom Keelan '14

 “[Hip-Hop] started with the alpha males. And now it’s being given to the beta males to try to flex their shit,” says Bran Nubian Lord Jamar in his recent New Yorker profile.  Jamar has been releasing inflammatory statements on a weekly basis for a while now, firing shots at Kanye West for wearing a leather Givenchy skirt on stage and now at openly gay rapper Le1f for straying from hip-hop’s macho roots.

Musically, Lord Jamar is irrelevant. However, the spotlight turned to him recently after he released a song entitled “Lift up Your Skirt,” insulting West for his “pioneer[ing] of this queer shit.” Lord Jamar believes that “in order to preserve a culture there are certain guidelines and boundaries that have to be there.”

Hip-hop culture is not about xenophobia or fear of the unknown; it is about combating those issues and more. Lord Jamar’s hateful messages turn him into an oppressor. His actions go against the philosophy of the movement he is trying to “preserve.” 

Le1f is primarily known for being an openly gay MC, but he is first and foremost and creative artist who brings the all-too-often homophobic hip-hop world a new flavor. He recently performed live on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” advertising his latest project, Hey. Following his performance, Lord Jamar responded to a fan on twitter who sent him the video of Le1f’s performance, exclaiming:

Lord Jamar sounds and acts like a conspiracy theorist obsessed with the “feminization” of hip-hop. Le1f performing on a nationally-televised late-night show will always be positive for the culture. This kind of exposure is another in a long line of steps towards acceptance and respect for hip-hop.

Le1f released an inspiring statement in response to Jamar. In it, he breaks down the struggles he has faced and highlights the ignorance that fed Jamar’s judgements. It reads:

Dear Lord Jamar,

Choose your battles. If the whitening of rap is a concern to you, please leave my name out of it. If you think being gay is the same as being white, you are as ignorant as your enemies. I’m darker than you. I’m african. I’m a black man and I experience all the same racism you do, if not more, on top of homophobia, including from black men just like you. Are you proud of being a hateful member of a majority? Rap started out as a creative response to oppression, and no matter my outfit, I know oppressions you will never understand.

All respect,

Le1f

“Alpha males” do not speak down on others based on their appearance or dress. They do not keep hip-hop from growing by using negative stereotypes. “Alphas” are game changers, leaders, and innovators. Chance The Rapper, who is using a vibrant and refreshing sound to call attention to Chicago’s murder epidemic, is an “Alpha.” Nicki Minaj, who is bending the definitions of masculinity and femininity, who is destroying rap patriarchy, is an “Alpha.”

“Alpha” artists prove to the less enlightened that femininity and masculinity are not based on who puffs their chest out the most or who dresses differently. Being an “Alpha” and being a part of hip-hop are about empowerment and representing voices that need to be heard. Le1f is one of them. 

by Julia Schur '15
jschur@gm.slc.edu


Photos by Tom Keelan '14
tkeelan@gm.slc.edu
http://tomexists.tumblr.com/ 
cargocollective.com/tomkeelan

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

SLAC hosts Beyoncé themed dance to unprecedented turn out

Students anxiously awaited in the cold to get in to the Beyoncé dance in the Blue Room on Friday, February 28   Photo by Ellie Brumbaum '17

Students anxiously awaited in the cold to get in to the Beyoncé dance in the Blue Room on Friday, February 28

Photo by Ellie Brumbaum '17

For the first time in a long time, the Sarah Lawrence college campus was in a frenzy. Whispers were exchanged, tweets were sent, Facebook invitations were confirmed, and an incredible turnout appeared at the Beyonce themed party in the Blue Room on Friday, February 28. Only Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child music was allowed at this much-hyped event. Doors opened at 10PM, but an hour into the evening the Blue Room was packed with a huge line going out the door. A nice change from previous Blue Room events was that pizza, garlic bread rolls, and soda were provided for attendees. 

Despite the build up, by the end of the night I was disappointed. To be fair, the Blue Room was the most packed that I had ever seen it and people seemed to be having a good time; however, the regular pauses in between music made the atmosphere awkward. At one point in the night there were five whole minutes when dancefloor denizens chanted “no music.” In addition, the DJ’s tried cut and mix up the songs too much—just play the full song! I felt that it should have been a no-brainer to make a playlist and simply press play, seeing as only one artist was being represented. We didn’t want anything fancy—just our Queen Bey!

by Adrianne Ramsey '17

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.