Lyrical skills: Gina Loring
IN CELEBRATION of Black History Month in Britain, the US embassy has developed a series of cultural programmes and workshops to showcase American artistry.
This year, the delegation brought rapper, poet and actress Gina Loring from across the pond to perform in schools around the UK.
The first American hip-hop artist to perform in Kuwait, Loring took time out of her UK tour to talk to Hazelann Williams about the pressure women face when they try to obtain the unobtainable ‘perfect’ image.
“It’s disheartening that the concentration is so much on image,” said the Lyric Café star. “Television is a really strong form of media and what is offered as desirable is not an accurate perception of us as human beings.
When you look at most women, there are all different types of sizes, skin colours, hair textures and all of the things that really make us women of colour beautiful.
“Look at the percentage rates of anorexia and bulimia; look at the amount of money women spend on products to change the way they look. There is still a difference between the way people of lighter complexions and darker complexions are treated and showcased. It’s very disturbing; Eurocentric brainwashing, to make people think that lighter is better, but it isn’t.”
Leading by example the Def Poetry performer believes being an authentic independent thinker has been key to her progression as an artist and allowed her to win the converted Ignite Your Persona competition, created by Queen Latifah’s to find America’s next hot female rapper.
“Queen Latifah was looking for female lyricists, to give more exposure and encouragement to, because hip-hop is a male dominated art form. It was myself and four other women who were chosen. We went to Miami, spent some time in the studio with her, and did a photo shoot for the Cover Girl Queen [make-up] collection. I was honored to be chosen, it was a great experience. Queen Latifah is a perfect example of how you can take various talents and create a career from it. She’s a great role model for all of us.”
Loring continues: “There are so few women rappers who are given a chance and it’s a little unnerving how male dominated the industry is now. I can tell you as a female MC, who was a self-starter, that there is a hunger for us. Young women want to hear their voices represented.”
For more information, visit www.ginaloring.com