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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Differing Audiences - A Battle of the Sexes
Monday, July 18, 2011

I go to a monthly event in NYC where once a year they have an all-female lineup and open mic. Something very interesting happens on that particular night - the crowd changes. Some of the regulars are still there, but for the most part the males are absent as the female artists end up having to bring their own crowd with them. They usually do a good job of packing the place, but the problem is glaring - men, and male artists, stay at home, or go elsewhere, when women are performing.

Ironically, many of the male artists who choose to skip out on the all-female shows are the same ones who continually wonder why they aren’t drawing any female fans. Sometimes an artist doesn’t draw female fans because of the venue (not in a safe part of town), their content (say “bitch” a lot and most women will tune you out... unless you’re on the radio), or the cliche underground hip-hop vibe that’s all about being the best and hating the mainstream (it’s not just women that can’t stand that, by the way). Even if an artist is on the right side of all of these things he still may not be drawing many women to his shows and the fact of the matter is the women he wants showing up aren’t going to materialize from nowhere, he has to seek them out, and one of the easiest ways to develop a female audience is to support female artists in the same genre. Your presence alone at a show sets you apart from other male emcees. It makes you part of the female emcees’ struggle to be respected and heard. It makes you a kindred spirit. It also instantly puts you in contact with female hip-hop fans.

Taking things a step further, when attending an all-female show an artist can see who they like and make them a part of a future lineup for one of their own shows. At that point both artists would be sharing their audiences and everyone’s potential for growth is bigger.

Believe it or not, not every female emcee is trying to be Lil’ Kim or Nicki Minaj (thank God), and not every female emcee spends her entire time on the mic male-bashing and talking about her period (leave the latter to the terrible stand up comics, please). Many female emcees are simply dope emcees who want to catch your ear. Yes, I know, sometimes female emcees have that annoying moment when they try to hush the crowd, and as aggravating as that is to an aggressive male hip-hop audience, just imagine being a female hip-hop audience member being referred to by offensive slang epithets non-stop. In other words, I think we’re even.

Show support for the ladies and the ladies will show support for you. It’s really that simple. I’ve never understood why a male artist wouldn’t want to be in a room full of women who appreciate the craft he does, but apparently it’s a frightening idea to many. Man up and hang out with some female artists and their fans. Either that, or be happy performing for audiences that are predominantly made up of dudes.

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posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:25 AM  
2 Comments:
  • At 3:54 PM, Blogger Tah Phrum Duh Bush said…

    Thanks for stepping up to the plate with this one Adam

     
  • At 1:23 PM, Blogger DJCynic said…

    I think you're totally right about male rappers showing up to female performances. However, there are counter-examples to your point about derogatory behavior turning off female fans.

    Lil'B has legion of female fans despite his gross lyrics.

    Charlie Sheen had plenty of "Tiger Princesses" who followed him despite his tendency to beat women.

    I'm not saying that derogatory lyrics and gratuitous use of the word "bitch" won't turn off the majority of females. It's just that there are other factors that prevent this type of clean narrative.

     
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