When I first entered the Apollo Theater, I was expecting more of a performance rather than panelists talking about themselves and their careers. Although it was an educational presentation, it still sparked the interest of how many things influence one another. Many of the panelists had a experiences while growing up that shaped them into the person they are today and influences the career they’re in in the present moment. The influences ranged from trying to gain the lyricist respect from a brother, impressing one’s father or simply trying to prove to a male that a woman can do things just as they do. They do this by showing it in the career they’ve chosen to pursue.

They don’t have to prove themselves or the skills they own to any random stranger on the street but instead reveal their talent at work. They put it out to the public, that way it will actually get recognized. Two panelists that really grabbed my attention were DJ Reborn and Ana “Rokafella” Garcia. DJ Reborn really held my attention because of the similar interests and viewpoints we shared about DJ-ing. One cannot call themselves a DJ right away after buying a software system of a computer.DJ+Reborn+CHEVY+Shot+Caller+Dinner+Cocktails+ybFOmuI84g6l  They have to know what each thing does first and actually have a successful project to be referred to as a DJ. From people telling her–especially men–that she can’t be a great DJ because she was a woman is just demeaning. As a confident woman she was able to hold a positive ground and spin records better than those who discouraged her. Ms Garcia was an inspiration to begin with by really being able to connect with the crowd by really being herself verbally, openly, and sharing her experiences. Her passion for dancing is a strong connection that I view as inseparable.

Her description of a scenario where she would break her neck by dancing at her age and telling the actions she would take afterwards is just phenomenal. She will be willing to go right back to dancing as soon as she recovered, she said proudly. These are some of those people that are worth following in their footsteps. But it is also good to find ourselves as an individual and get out our inner swagger. The role of Hip Hop helps play a vital role in the influences of these women.

Ana Rokafella GarciaCompared to Hip Hop of the past, now the genre has very different styles and forms. But the basis of many songs still reflects back to the messages spoken in Hip Hop. Poetry can be interpreted from the style the song or even the way the beat is being presented. Today those influences are brought to present-day to bring back unique, once popular style, or incorporate it into a new generation of music. Hip Hop like many other genres express feeling but for many people coming from street backgrounds or tough situations, they can relate to what is spoken through lyrics. One of the panelists referred back to an experience in her life when her brother listened to Slick Rick’s “A Teenage Love” to get over his first heartbreak. As many today do, we use Hip Hop as an influence to relate to or connect.




The Apollo Theater Women in Hip-Hop panel was held on March 23, 2015