To be a woman who loves hip hop at times is to be in love with your abuser. Because the music was and is that. And yet the culture is ours.

– Ava DuVernay


Hip hop is a part of my identity. It’s ingrained in who I am.  It’s defined my coming of age and is easily a touchstone for many milestones and memories. It’s a genre that has influenced my thoughts and attitudes towards society, love, relationships and politics. While hip hop holds such a huge space in my life, like any relationship – it’s not perfect. 

Lyrics depicting colorism are often embedded in mainstream hip hop music. This photo series is the backdrop to a conversation exploring how hip hop and rap music have impacted our perceptions of beauty. The good, the bad and the ugly. 

I’m a huge fan of A Tribe Called Quest (ATCQ). Their music is a cornerstone of the Golden Age of Hip Hop and instrumental in taking the genre from poor, Black, American ghettos and evolving it into a movement that has influenced every part of the world. I was super hyped about the mural erected in St. Albans Queens. The location of their first video, “Can I kick it.” The mural mimics the artwork from their 1991 album The Low End Theory,  the red, black and Green proudly and defiantly shouting black pride. I thought it was the perfect location. Enjoy!