“Since its inception, hip hop has spotlighted voices and movements of resistance. However, at times it has been used as a patriarchal tool for oppression. Queendom seeks to reverse that by placing women at the center of this art form.” -DJ Zita
A veteran in the Bay Area hip hop scene, DJ Zita has witnessed first-hand the lack of female representation at b-boy jams, MC battles, DJ events and shows. Partnered with Susie Lundy, Development Director at The La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley, Calif., the 1st semi-annual Queendom event came to fruition in March 2010. Two years later, on 2 June 2012, the 5th installment was held dedicated to the Center for Young Women’s Development.
“Women are a largely absent part of hip hop, not just in the Bay, but everywhere. Much of my event production and promotion efforts are toward reversing the patriarchy in hip hop by producing events which spotlight hip hop’s fly sisters through my semi-annual Queendom benefit and through my lady DJ crew B.A.S.S. (Bay Area Sistah Sound),” says DJ Zita.
DJ Zita’s love affair with hip hop began when she listened to KDAY AM 1580 on the radio religiously, with her first hip hop cassette tape being Boogie Down Productions’ Criminal Minded. She instantly fell in love with the beats from the drum machines, the rhythms, and the rhymes. She grew up collecting cassette tapes and then CDs, spending hours in music stores even though she was broke. She also recalls recording music from the radio onto cassettes and making mixtapes for her friends. When she learned how to DJ in 1999, she began building her extensive vinyl collection, and that’s when the magic began.
Queendom 5 showcased an all-female lineup of DJ’s, MC’s, b-girls, and artists such as DJ Lady Ryan; MC’s Invincible (Detroit) and Mamaz consisting of Aima the Dreamer and Persia; B-girls SF Soulstars and Bay Area Steppers; Artists Wrenagade and Agana; and the Femme Arts Collective.
What is significant about Queendom is that it’s not just a hip hop event striving to showcase females in the hip hop community, but it also benefits non-profit organizations around the Bay Area. The first-ever Queendom, was a benefit held for domestic violence victims/survivors and the non-profit organization A Safe Place and raised well over $1,000 for the cause.
Queendom was not only a celebration of women, but also a celebration of the passion & love for hip hop. If you missed the event, visit DJ Zita’s website here or on Facebook for information and future updates.
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Born in Manila and raised in Santa Cruz, Charmaine best known as Char Sydney or CharParazzi has been blessed to be surrounded by the Hip Hop, Art, and Music Communities. As a survivor of domestic violence, Char found her healing within the Hip Hop and Arts Culture. These days, she focuses her energy towards supporting people/groups around the Bay Area who are doing amazing things for the community. She enjoys volunteering for Soulciety.org and has a major love for tacos and photography. Catch her at an upcoming event this summer snapping flicks for Paperclip Society, and make sure you’re camera-ready!