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Where Are The Women’s Stories?

Queen Latifah

"There have been other girls (in rap), Sandy “Pepa” Denton told the Los Angeles Daily News in 1987. “But we are the ones who will be remembered. There are a lot of new groups coming up, and we have paved the way.”

Salt-N-Pepa were still a relatively new group then, their debut album, Hot, Cool, & Vicious, just one year old, but Denton and fellow group members Cheryl “Salt” James and Deidra “DJ Spinderella” Roper seemed confident that their place in hip-hop history was already secure. They were right, both about their own import and about the other women emcees who followed the trail they helped to blaze; in the nearly 30 years since, countless women have shaped rap’s history.

Now that the genre is old enough to inspire big budget biopics like 2009’s Notorious and this month’s Straight Outta Compton—and given how much discourse the latter film's omission of women has sparked since its release—I wonder: What might a hip-hop biopic about a woman look like?

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