The 2023 Martha's Vineyard African American Festival saluted the pioneering women of hip hop with an opening night screening of Netflix's Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop, in celebration of #HipHop50 executive producer MC Lyte.
Held at Martha's Vineyard Performing Arts Center, festival attendees were welcomed with a special set from the legendary rapper, where she presented music from Queen Latifah, Foxy Brown, Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj, Lyte herself and more. Special guests of the night included Carri Twigg and Rae Nijhon of Culture House Production, along with festival founders Stephanie and Floyd Rance.
After the screening, The Cut's Lindsay Peoples hosted a panel featuring MC Lyte and Ladies First director dream hampton. Noting that her favorite era of hip hop is now, hampton declared that the movement women rappers have today and the diversity among them is an empowering and proud moment.
MC Lyte shared that when she's asked about her experience as a woman in hip hop, she's not sure how to answer because she doesn't know any other way than being female in the genre.
Ladies First—a Culture House Production—is a four-part series that celebrates women in hip hop over the past 50 years. Featuring a parade of legendary emcees, up-and-comers and artists currently at the top of the charts like Latto and Tierra Whack, it contextualizes the indelible impact women have made in the genre, in front of the mic and behind it. From rap originators like Sha-Rock and Roxanne Shante to the women making music today, Ladies First examines how these artists have and are changing the social, racial and political landscape of the times through a female lens.
Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop streams on Netflix beginning August 9.