5 Women in Bay Area Hip-Hop Get Honors From Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao

The Conscious Daughters, composed of CMG and the late Special One, were ahead of their time with lyrics that championed gender equality on their 1993 album Ear to the Street, which later earned them props from Nas. Almost ten years later, Digital Underground member Mystic came out with her debut solo album Cuts for Luck and Scars for Freedom, which led to a BET Awards nomination for best female hip-hop artist, a recognition of her artistry and deep reflections on joy and trauma.

Bartlow, meanwhile, grew up on funk and hip-hop in Oakland, became a principal dancer at multiple New York dance companies and returned to the Bay to work with the likes of The Coup and San Francisco theater company Cultural Odyssey.

In the ’90s, Black carved out space for herself and other queer DJs of color among the largely white LGBTQ+ nightlife scene. Last year, she served as Community Grand Marshal at Pride in San Francisco, the city where she met Pam the Funkstress as an aspiring, 20-something DJ almost three decades ago. The late Pam, who made her mark in DJ battles and with Boots Riley in The Coup, told her that with practice, Black had a place in San Francisco’s scene, a prophecy that continues to ring true.

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