Brooklyn emcee Siya joins the ranks of upcoming women rappers featured on the reality show Sisterhood of Hip Hop. Grammy award-winning rapper T.I. is the executive producer of the program which will follow Bia, Brianna Perry, Diamond (of Crime Mob), Nyemiah Supreme and Siya as the women strive to create successful solo careers. Sisterhood of Hip Hop will issue a teaser episode on July 22nd and air its serial debut on August 12th.
Siya’s presence in the show definitely offers a welcome perspective into the diverse lives of artistic queer women. In an interview with Fuse TV, Siya discusses some of the hardships she faced in her early life, saying “My mother was on drugs and my father was incarcerated for the rest of his life. All the struggles that I went through made me exactly who I am. So I’m not ashamed of anything I went through.” Truly it’s encouraging to see a lesbian performer openly discuss her background without shame.
Furthermore, by appearing on Sisterhood of Hip Hop, Siya grants visibility to more masculine-presenting queer women of color whom mainstream media often fails to represent. She uses her musical platform to raise awareness about issues that queer people and especially queer people of color may face. In the 2012 single “D.Y.K.E. (Damn You Killin’ Em)” from the mixtape of the same name, Siya talks about her coming out process in the first thirty seconds of the song, confessing, “I used to struggle ’til I found the courage to say fuck it, that’s what it is/Coming out was never easy, but neither was denying it/My grandma said she loved me no matter who I was lying with.” She goes on to talk about negotiating religion and homosexuality and also reveals that as a female rapper, she’s expected to embrace a stereotypical form of femininity (“But to be honest I’m not polished like these bitches with deals/Probably’ll never be acknowledged until I put on some heels”).
Sisterhood of Hip Hop is an important move in promoting women’s contributions to hip hop. In spite of women like MC Lyte, Foxy Brown, and Queen Latifah, who have disrupted the way that hip hop has centered predominantly on male artists, women still have to fight to be taken seriously in the rap industry and face sexist double standards in terms of how their success is measured. Sisterhood of Hip Hop proves that women don’t need to earn a space in hip hop because we already belong there. Keep your eyes out for the series, airing on Oxygen later this summer, and pay special mind to Siya!