Sydney seems to be a good place for ladies making hip hop as of late, especially now there’s an upcoming jam with a rad line up of lasses making music in support of women in the Queensland prison system. I recently caught up with Exekreye, one of the organisers of the SISTA SOLIDARITY event to find out more about the jam and why she feels it is so important to show support to the Sister’s Inside organisation.
Local jams supporting female hip hop are so rare, what inspired you to put this on?
I have been involved in feminist organsing for over a decade. I have seen so many amazing female emcees at gigs. I had noticed that “Mumma’s Hiphop Kitchen” in NY put on showcases of women talent that is supported greatly by the progressive hiphop community in the states. I approached Madam Wu and asked her if she would be keen on putting together a night of NSW women hiphop. she jumped on board and we now have the gig ‘SISTA SOLIDARITY’.
Yay! Do you think, locally, there are more females getting music out there than ever before?
I think it is becoming more visible and common. I have been around many different music environments and there definitely is more women getting involved in a lot of genres of music. There aren’t as many women performers as men in hiphop but its seems there is certainly growing. This is a fabulous thing.
Agreed. Who should we be watching out for?
Poetic Transition (Mezmerize and Vivid) These women have never knocked back a gig I have put on. From an anarchist gig, to flood relief, reclaim the night and few that paid… lol. They have so much love, passion and talent. If I had money I would back them. I also think that we should watch out for any woman that wants to be involved and create environments for that to occur.
The event supports a worthy cause, Sister’s Inside. Can you tell us about the service and why you feel it needs financial assistance?
I have known for a long time that Sister’s Inside does great work with women in prison and post release. They are a prison advocacy group. They work with a plethora of complex issues in a myriad of ways, counseling, group work, referral, mother-child reunification, social justice campaigns. Many women who are faced with legal repercussion have sustained a life of poverty, abuse and hardship. Sister’s Inside provides an avenue for change of not just individuals but also broader social change. The transition from prison back to ‘society’ is not an easy one. Many issues may be evident including, homelessness, isolation, mental health issues, drug and alcohol issues, isolation, lack of education and training. Having an organisation that focuses on supporting women in prison and post release is essential. After we started organising the gig, the Liberal Government announced they plan to discontinue funding the Townsville outreach component of Sister’s Inside. It’s even more important that the community supports this organisation at this time.
How can that be? I read that something like 90% of women in the prison system have been sexually abused. WTF? Why would the Government ignore this?
The quote from Debbie Kilroy in the Courier Mail said “over 90 per cent can’t read or write, they are totally isolated, they are victims of very serious physical and sexual violence from a very young age that hasn’t been addressed.” I read this quote as saying that many women in prison are victims of serious physical and sexual violence. The sad fact is that many women out of prison are also sexually and physically abused from a young age. Sexual and physical abuse can lead to very volatile situations. Many people who go down paths that lead to imprisonment have done it as a means for survival. Life choices are extremely impeded if you aren’t safe and have to make decisions for survival. The sociology of crime looks to the social factors that lead to incarceration and this indicates that abuse, domestic violence, poverty, intergenerational trauma and neglect are these factors. Crime is a social phenomena that has systemic causes, be it imbued in access to wealth, a history of dispossession or destructive gender violence. Governments create many of the conditions that lead to imprisonment, be it social policy to stringent gender role and the criminalisation of poverty. The over policing of certain groups, dispossession of land and racial discrimination also creates the unequal numbers of Aboriginal women in prison. Governments need to change priorities and systems to address these factors.
Damn straight! Are there any other facts and figures that highlight how important this service is?
I got these from the Sister’s Inside webpage – Ms Kilroy said that in the first three months of 2012, 188 support sessions had been provided by Sisters Inside to women in TWCC – 61 percent of which were Indigenous. I would recommend checking out the amazing work they do here.
We shall. Finally, can you give us 5 inspirational women?
Emma Goldman – Eloquent anarchist feminist who paved the way for my unshackling.
Dr Anne Summers – Assisted in setting up the first women’s refuge in Australia. They squatted to win the first refuge. Brilliant action
Aung San Suu Kyi – Stood by her beliefs. No matter what.
Angela Davis – Her history is amazing. She made so many gains for the people.
Virgin Mary… bahahah…nah, all the women who have survived and fought for change. The women I work with daily are inspiring and all the women who have touched my life.
Thanks Exekreye, we’ll see you at the gig!
If you can make it to Sydney for the jam, it certainly supports an essential service that without continued funding will further marginalise an already severely disadvantaged group of women and their families. All the details are below.
Naomi Wenitong accompanied by Lady Zebrakeyz, Sky’high, Alphamama, She-Rex, Poetic Transition, Madame Wu, Lomas, Sarah Connor, Verity Cox, Dawn Laird, Exekreye + Angry Ol’ Lefty and DJ Prolifik
SATURDAY, JUNE 16 2012, 8PM
SANDRINGHAM HOTEL, KING STREET, NEWTOWN, NSW AUSTRALIA
$12 ON DOOR
Sister’s Inside Website