In celebration of Women's History Month, tireless Bay Area artist DJ Zita of B.A.S.S./Bay Area Sistah Sound, in conjunction with La Pena, has organized the first in an annual all female artist hip-hop showcase that pays tribute to each of the genre's four elements: MC'ing, DJ'ing, breaking, and graffiti. Artists scheduled to appear include DJ Pam the Funkstress, Conscious Daughters, Deeandroid & Celskiii, Josie Stingray, Aima The Dreamer, Tendaroni Crew, Bodirock Culture, De La Femme, Slide, Dime, and Lucha E.S.P.
Titled Queendom: Fly Ladies Reppin The 4 Elements Of Hip Hop, this all ages show, which takes place at La Pena in Berkeley at 9pm tomorrow (Sat 3/13), is also a benefit for A Safe Place, which provides invaluable domestic violence services for women. Admission is just $10 and $8 for students. They are even giving out goodie bags at the show.
DJ Zita, along with Pam the Funkstress (of The Coup fame, who spun at Amoeba Berkeley's Record Store Day two years ago), will soon be celebrating the two year anniversary of their ever popular, female-run SF party Everlasting Bass. I was aware that DJ Zita had wanted to do an event like Queendom for some time, so yesterday I caught up with the hard working promoter/DJ, who will also be spinning at tomorrow's event, to ask her a bit more about this exciting new annual hip-hop women's event.
Amoeblog: How did the idea for this event come about?
DJ Zita: I've wanted to do an event that features women reppin' the 4 elements of hip hop for years. I've been to and DJed many b-boy/MC/DJ shows and battles and always noticed the lack of female representation among all 4 elements of hip hop. When Susie Lundy, the new development director of La Pena, approached me with an opportunity to do a hip hop event there, I finally had the space to create the event I've named Queendom. A grant from the Ford Foundation solidified it.
Amoeblog: Was it difficult finding women within each of the four elements or were you overwhelmed with people to choose from in each category?
DJ Zita: It was not difficult at all for me to find women within each of the four elements. By being a woman DJ and promoter for over 10 years and by the line-ups I have put together for Everlasting Bass over the last two years, I already had a strong network in the Bay Area from which to choose the talent. This is only the first annual Queendom and I'm planning to have a fresh line-up of ladies each year.
Amoeblog: Many folks are already familiar with the emcees and the DJs, but can you talk a little bit about the women participating in the dance and graf elements?
DJ Zita: Of the dancers, I've worked with Bodirock Culture multiple times. They're a fresh crew of ladies and one man with dancehall and hip hop styles. De La Femme is a large, all-women hip hop choreography group. About 15 of their dancers will be performing a piece for Queendom. Crix is B-girl Crykit of Sisterz of the Underground who I've known for years. I asked her to do a b-girl/breakdancing piece and she's bringing in Ivy and Karina. Of the graf artists, I met Dime last year when I DJed for the Rock the Bells event at Skyline College. She was painting outside and I was impressed by her work. Slide (19 years old) I met through Susie Lundy, and Lucha E.S.P. is an old school painter who I met through the Estria network.
Amoeblog: On the topic of Women's History Month, do you feel it necessary to have such a month and how come there is no Men's History Month?
DJ Zita: Hip-Hop in many ways reflects the broader patriarchal society. Queendom challenges those patriarchal norms. Women's History Month is necessary because I think it is important to recognize and celebrate the women before us who have struggled to gain as much equality with men as we have today. I couldn't imagine a life in which I don't even have the right to vote while men do, or only earning 59 cents for every man's dollar doing the same job. We've come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.
Amoeblog: I love that you are having the event at La Pena, a really cool spot and an all-ages one too. Did you pick that venue because of its all ages status?
DJ Zita: I think La Pena is most appropriate for this event because it's a cultural center and a community space, not a club. The fact that it can be all ages is icing on the cake.
Amoeblog: What's going to be in the goodie bags you are giving away?
DJ Zita: Surprises!
The first annual Queendom takes place this Saturday at La Pena in Berkeley, located at 3105 Shattuck @ Woolsey. It is an all ages show from 9pm until 1am. Tickets, which are $10, or $8 for students, are available at the door only from 8:30pm onwards. There will also be Happy Birthday Marcella! goodie bag giveaways. For more information click on djzita.com or lapena.org.