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  • Writer's pictureShenead Poroosotum

Lex On The Decks Challenges The Stigma Around Women In The Music Industry

Many moons ago when we were young, happy and naive, rapper T.I decided to share his list of the 50 greatest rappers of all time on Twitter. As much as this list had the social media app erupt into other rappers and fans alike to produce their own lists and debate on the site with each other, there was one underlying issue that was skimmed over by most people; this list only featured three female artists: Lauryn Hill, Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim. Similarly, Billboard once released their 'Top Ten list of Rappers' back in 2015 which featured Lauryn Hill as their only female artist to make the list. With Ranker, which is a site that encourages public voting, Missy Elliot was the highest-rated female artist at number 57 (at time of writing). Even The Brit Awards was faced with criticism when only one British female artist was nominated out of 25 available slots in a mixed-gender category.

Whilst putting the internet into an utter shambles (such as having seen lists with Joe Budden as number 3 for some reason) it sparked the conversation that when it comes to women within the music industry, regardless of how progressive we think we are, gender inequality is still very much prominent in today’s society. Data that was taken from previous Grammy nominee data for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist and Producer of the Year, showed that there was only 10.4% of womxn that were nominated between the years 2013 and 2019.

But the injustice in the system doesn't stop there. As well as facing huge criticism from other artists and critics from the types of music they produce or the content of it, women are constantly brought down by men within the industry. A large factor is usually based around the identity that they carry within music, whether they are talking about sex, relationships, how they're earning money and so forth. We see women on a daily basis crucified for simply mentioning more-or-less the same things that men sing/rap about as well. Since the 1990s, production continues to overall be gendered in a very conventional way and especially in regards to those in power. There are stats such as women receiving less than 10% of airtime across radio and CEO's across 11 music industry trade bodies that were 73% Male / 27% Female. The online music publication Mixmag was thought to have been sexist in their July 1998 issue which had an advertisement for 'The UK's first all-girl DJ club tour' which stressed glamour and image rather than ability. As much as there were flyers, adverts and television treatment of club culture that tried to suggest otherwise, the end result was always having a male-biased perspective that was 'testosterone-filled' and against females and female success.

Today, we are much more aware of what goes on. As social media, jobs, television and anything else creative try to be as inclusive as possible, women are freely able to speak about what they please. More notably as well, being liberated is the biggest element in being successful. Taking into example artists such as Flo Milli, Megan Thee Stallion or Rihanna, we are able to see how these greatly appreciated and talented women are within the industry, and we are able to see them confident and liberated, which makes us feel confident and liberated. There is no denying that there is a huge bias within the industry, but one woman came through with a huge concept to highlight and talk about these issues online to grasp a better understanding of the prejudice that has been going on for years.

London based DJ and founder of magazine Cleopatras Worldwide, Alexandra (Lex) Hearth, known as Lex On The Decks came up with an idea. She, alongside her team: Akua Ofei, Jasmine Luby Barrow and Ngina Mwendo decided to create their own podcast show called Hot Girls, inspired by the likes of Megan Thee Stallion and Ms Banks. It focuses on womxn within music, speaking about the raw details that are entailed with having a career within the creative industry and having the perseverance to stay there.

The Hot Girls Podcast paves down an enthusiastic pathway which has topics about tackling the gender pay gap in urban music, introducing and honouring artists, encouraging their guests to share how they got to where they are today and including the important lessons they learned along the way. After Hot Girls had a very successful first season by reaching the iTunes Top 5 Music chart and no.1 Music Commentary, The Hot Girls Podcast is now back for a second season featuring some fabulous guests that will be open and honest in sharing their lives, loves, successes and struggles. Released bi-weekly, these episodes are here to inspire the listener whilst sharing lessons from some of the most successful artists of our time. Some of these will include “What Rihanna taught me about confidence”, “What Erykah Badu taught me about Soul”, and “What Janelle Monae taught me about Identity”. 

The Season 2 guests will include:

Jasmine Dotiwala (MTV, Channel 4, Media Trust)

Jords (Artist)

Truemendous  (Artist)

Laani (Worldwide FM, Brownswood Recordings)

Natalie (Girls About Peckham) 

Michelle Hung (Eden Zine)

Alex Ampofo (Acoustic Live, ​Metropolis Music​, Women Connect)  

From London for the world, Lex On The Decks explains and talks about the different people and artists that she looks up to whilst giving lessons to listeners. In her last series, she viewed the careers of some of the most successful artists of all time and what they did to get to where they are today. Being hip hop focused, Lex wants to look at the lives of these female creators, selecting a powerful quality that they have and how we can use that within our own lives.    

Sounding good so far? The Hot Girls Podcast is available to stream right now on platforms:

Amongst all this, there is also an accompanying mix series that will be released on Soundcloud that features womxn-orientated tracklists by some excellent DJs on the scene right now. The first set of DJs that were featured included: Melle Brown, Bklava, Juls, Shireen Ramezani, Tailor Jae, Luna Lisabet, Bamz, Sophie Simone, Khadejia, DJ Rosegawd, Oh Annie Oh, DJ Kayla G, Drewmula, Kelly Daniel and Hannah V.

We're so excited to see what season 2 brings for us!


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