Updated: Saturday, 11th July 2020 @ 7:39am

Strength in numbers: Queens of Hip Hop unite at The Deaf Institute for International Women's Day celebration

Strength in numbers: Queens of Hip Hop unite at The Deaf Institute for International Women's Day celebration

| By Amy Bush

To celebrate International Women’s Day, The Deaf Institute are hosting an evening of female hip hop artists with MC, poet, and all-round superstar Shay D taking the top spot. 

Shay D Presents Queens Of Art: Women In Hip Hop is a touring celebration of women in hip hop, grime, RnB and rap and on Sunday March 8 it reaches Manchester for what promises to be an epic evening of empowering music and lyrics. 

It’s an impressive line-up, with globally successful DJ Ellie Prohan joining Shay D on the bill, alongside big local talents: OneDa, Katbrownsugar and SJ Soulist who have all been making noise on the Manchester hip hop scene. 

The headline rapper and curator is the multifaceted Shay D. Hailing from North London and with Persian heritage the rapper, spoken-word poet and youth mentor has worked hard to become the respected artist she is today.

She now wants to use her position to help struggling young people and female musicians to have their voices heard.  

MM spoke to Shay D about Sunday’s event, the Northern hip hop scene and the obstacles she’s faced working in such a male-dominated industry. 

We love that you’re showcasing local talent on Sunday. How do you see the Northern female hip hop scene at the moment?

There is so much talent in the North. We rate them a lot but I think they may feel like all the opportunities are in London. But we really do respect the talent.

OneDa is dope, Katbrownsugar, Ms Tempz.  Lady Ice smashed it in the Rap Game! SJ Soulist, TrueMendous, there are so many! 

How have you found it breaking through into rap as a woman artist? 

It’s been a long game to break-through and be highlighted as a female MC in a mainstream world. I didn't take any shortcuts or handouts, I worked on my craft, made good music I believed in which had a message.

I didn't want to sell my sexuality and body to have a quick response, it’s just not me. Good music is timeless and I'm grateful to be respected by my peers. 

It’s so important to get women’s voices on to stages. It brings new angles to subjects such as love, parenthood, relationships, empowerment, and entrepreneurship. Being a female rapper gives you a hunger and fight inside… it’s hard to explain.

You’re also a youth mentor. What advice would you give to young women artists who are struggling to get their voices heard?

I would tell younger women and aspiring artists to take up and occupy spaces in music. I would encourage them to collaborate and unite with women in their local areas - power in numbers is stronger. I would also say don't be shy - network and get out there! 

It’s important for young rappers to know that to sell or make music you don't have to flaunt your body or be overly sexual if that doesn’t come naturally to you. JUST BE YOURSELF.  Make high quality music and get better at your craft.

The event on Sunday is an all-women line up, why do you think it’s important to put on shows like this? 

Creating more visibility for women in such a male-dominated scene is important so that audiences can experience the voice of the female and respect it as much as our male counterparts.

We put on shows to prove that events can be a success and audiences can have a great time with a balanced line-up. Hopefully that will become normal practice but we can see from our festivals and line-ups that currently there are only a few slots offered to women, especially if they spit bars rather than sing.

What can people expect from the show on Sunday?

Expect a fiery, energetic line-up, positive vibes and seeing artists unite. We definitely want to get a MC cypher going on, men welcome too! It’s a short night but packed-full of good music and friendly people.


Shay D’s new song Freedom was recently released for the Redbull TV Show ‘The Cut’.  Hear it on here on Spotify.

For £3 tickets for Sunday’s event use code CCMCR on eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/shay-d-presents-queens-of-art-women-in-hip-hop-grime-tickets-94504151461

For more details of the event: https://www.thedeafinstitute.co.uk/event/shay-d-presents-queens-of-art-women-in-hip-hop/