Grime music is one of the latest music genre introduced in London in the early 2000s. This genre generally originated from the United Kingdom music styles such as UK garage and jungle. Essentially, the grime music is a result of inspiration from other forms of music such as hip-hop, ragga, and dancehall. This form of music is described by the rapid break-beat. Additionally, other important elements in this music category include rapping and, in most instances,, the lyrics often contain or describes the urban life. Due to the widespread use of modern technological advancements, the music genre has not only become popular in the UK but has also been adopted in other parts of the world (Miller, 2011, 23). However, the main concern that most people have raised is the representation of the feminine gender in this music genre especially the black women. Many critiques have been postulated from the audience regarding the role of black women in grime music (Entwistle, 2015, 74). From the audience observation it is a fact that there are black ladies in the grime music, however, the representation is distinctively based on the ethnicity lines especially in the UK (Hall, S., 2015, 12). This paper outlines how black women have been represented in grime music and the roles they play. The misrepresentation of black women in this type of music is symptomatic of a larger problem with black women in British music and the entire workforce.
The study report conducted indicates that the United Kingdom is one of the places in the world that gender equality is observed. Over the years a positive progress on the gender equality has been noted in the UK and both genders are given the same privilege and access to opportunities compared to other nations (Hall, S., 2015, 43). Nevertheless, the ethnic diversity issue still remains a challenge when it comes to the kinds of jobs assigned to people. For example, in the management, one out ten of the management jobs in the UK are allocated to members of the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME). According to the study that was conducted by the British Academy of management, only 6% of the management jobs are held by the minorities (Prsformusic.com., 2017, 1). Despite the multiculturalism that is currently practiced in the UK, the managers are still not comfortable in talking about diversity at work. Therefore, the workforce diversity in the UK is not yet clearly defined.
The growth in grime industry is as a result of the hard work by both men and women. However, it is worthwhile noting that black women are often underrepresented in the grime music genre. In most cases, the white women dominate in few performances. Racial discrimination in the grime industry is one of the main reason why black women struggle for parity representation in this genre. For example, in 2017, in the I-D magazine, only three out of the ten listed game-changers were black. Also, the black male representation is not always questioned in the grime scene industry as in most instances the black feminine representation has been the central focus. Racial discrimination has been the main factor that undermines the black female representation in the grime music.
Generally, the number of black women in the grime music is far much below that of black women in British music scene. This fact is due to the intense discrimination based on ethnic lines and the preference of male characters in the industry compared to the female counterparts. In most instances, the white female artists are preferred to the black ones because of humor and the captivation that they present to the audience. In the British music scene, the female talent is highly recognized and in quite a good number of songs the females contribute significantly. The main factor behind the rising demand for female artist representation in the music industry in the British scenario is the introduction and rampant recognition of the blending music genres which involve artists of the different genders working together. However, it is worthwhile noting that in the recent past the neglect of female talent is on the reducing mode in the grime music industry due to the emergence of the women movements that fight for equal representation of the feminine gender in this particular genre.
Feminism refers to the belief that men and women should be equal politically, socially and economically. The feminism theory is the fundamental principle that regulates gender disparity in the society. This theory does not subscribe to the differences between men and women or even similarities between men and women (Beasley, 1999, 60). Thus, it is a way of looking at the social world through the lens of gender inequality. In the society, gender inequality issues are characterized by provisions that champion for unequal chances or opportunities for both women and men. The way women are underrepresented in the grime music in the UK reveals that there are instances on gender discrimination in the UK based on the ethnic lines (Entwistle, 2015, 34). Social stratification of gender based on the stereotypes undermines the objective of equality and inclusiveness. However, in the British music industry, black female artists find it easy to contribute to the genre development compared to the UK grime music industry.
Women underrepresentation in the grime industry is still an issue that needs to be addressed. In spite of the excellent talents that women have, there are instances where the audience fail to recognize these special aspects of creativity. Instead, black male artists get credit and recognition as opposed to the female counterparts. The females in the grime industry are always blackmailed by the fans as the fans fail to nominate them to compete favorably in the international awards such as BRIT. However, in special cases after white female artists sometimes get the privilege to be nominated for other competitive posts just after giving the male artists the first priority. Even though there exist high levels of stereotypes against women in the grime industry, currently, women are working behind the scenes to overcome such limiting factors in the industry.
Additionally, black women are not recognized so much in the grime music. This particular genre is associated with the social classes in the society. Generally, the artists that the audience prefer to contribute significantly in this genre are those from the working class. The vast part of the audience that enjoys literary composition in this field is the middle class. Therefore, black women are not valued in this genre as the whites have the feeling of superiority complex. As a result, the black women find it convenient to channel their talents and expertise in other music genres where they can be easily identified. Also, it is logical to argue that black women are involved in the grime music up to certain limits. For example, quite a good number of them participate in the writing and recording of grime music but stage performance remains the challenge since they are not recognized. The main reason for this is because of their skin color that makes the audience feel that they are inferior (Wolfson, 2017, 1). In the UK the appreciation of black women in the grime music is still worrying compared to the white artists due to the limited market and the negative attitude towards the black artists. (Hall, S., 2015, 8).
Simbi Ajikawo is one of the grime artists who writes and performs in London. She is one good example of how the black girl's struggles to rise up. She started writing grime songs while she was young, she managed to produce an album, however, her album was not included in the list for the best hundred. She admitted that British men grime artists such as Giggs and Skepta have been producing grime songs for almost a decade. Also, she realized that the new songs produced by the British boys fetched good money and as they easily penetrated the market (Obbo, 2016, 1). However, the two main factors that are hindered her to rise to the top were her skin color and gender.
In the early days of the grime music, the industry was undeniably dominated by men, however, there also existed female performers such as Queenie, Nolay, Lady Lushurr, Lady Fury, and Shystie (Rymajo, & Groutm, 2016, 1). These female performers competed favorably with the male counterparts but unfortunately, their efforts in this industry were not much recognized. Similarly, the United States Hip Hop sexualized women in the industry through lyrics and visuals, the UK grime always tends to reduce women to imply sex thus, reinforcing the men dominance and superiority. The masculine artists in the Hip Hop music normally use misogynistic music language that is normally expressed in the lyrics and this has developed widely as the same language is used in social media and interviews. The nasty language used in these songs captures the attention of the young generation as it majorly dwells in money, love, and sex (Anderson, 2014, 1). Therefore, the women in the grime music have been vilified by their male fellow artists by always making them look as sex objects.
The mode of dressing that the female grime artists especially the black girls adopts irritates as this is another cause for their rejection by the audience. Majority of the female artists put on thin sexy clothes that reveal their body parts (Entwistle, 2015, 34). The main reason behind this is to convey the romantic content in the songs vividly to the audience (Anderson, 2014, 1). Also, the male artists involved in the grime music put on funny kind of dresses such as oversized trousers and T-shirts. It is therefore ironical to note that the female artists are much criticized for their way of dressing more than the male artists. The boys and girls who play the grime music put on clothes in their own fashion as per the music genre in question that they are performing (Miller, 2011, 14). The way the artists in this genre dress does not spare them from the criticism from the critics of grime music most especially the older generations. Therefore, Grime music has its own mode of dressing that gives it a brand image. However, people are capitalizing on this dressing mode to stereotype or discriminate the grime music performers especially the black women.
In conclusion, Grime music is one of the latest music genres in the United Kingdom that can be used to understand the societal inclination in terms of gender and race. From the above discussion, it is evident that the black female representation in this genre is not up to standards. The male artists tend to dominate as the black female artists get the rejection from the audience because of their skin color. Generally, there is an underrepresentation of the feminine artists in the grime music industry. The social stratification based of the ethnic lines greatly undermines the role of black women in this music genre. Additionally, some audience has developed the negative perception towards the feminine performances in grime music. However, for prosperity and continuous growth in this industry people should change their attitude towards the black women artists in grime music.
Anderson, S., (2014). Why Did Grime Never Go Right for Women? [online] (updated 9 Feb. 2018) Available at: <https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/rpdepn/why-did-grime-never-go-right-for-women> [Accessed 10 Feb. 2018].
Beasley, C., (1999). What is Feminism?: An Introduction to Feminist Theory. Thousand Oaks, Calif, SAGE Publishers.
Entwistle, J., (2015). The Fashioned Body: Fashion, Dress and Social Theory. Hoboken, Wiley Online Library.
Evans, G., (2017). Girls in grime: in conversation with Alika. [online] (updated 9 Feb. 2018) Available at: <h...
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