A few months ago, I posted an interview with Uche and Lenée about their podcast, Hip Hop is for Lovers. I’m a huge fan. You might remember Lenée’s guestblogging stint from this summer, where she spoke about TLC hitting the mainstream with their messages about safe sex and women’s sexual agency. The HH4L network, in a nutshell, is a multi-platform conversation about love, sex, and relationships as seen through the lens of hip hop culture. It’s funny, interactive, informative, fat, womanist, feminist and queer, and they consistently advocate for fun, safety and consent in sex and dating. One of the things that makes HH4L so crucial to the scene is that it’s a show encompassing hop hop as a cultural movement by a group of people who are frequently excluded from conversations about that movement. HH4L centers the experiences of oppressed people, advocates for health, information, and consent, and speaks to current events that are relevant to the hip hop community, which is largely young and African-American. In the HH4L world, self-love is a given and the lives of oppressed people are honored and celebrated. They come together weekly to speak on topics ranging from street harassment, to BDSM, to how to deal with the ubiquitous Nice Guy, to advocating for yourself in the bedroom. Also, they’re a riot.
I make a habit of contributing to the projects I love. Way back when, a thousand years ago when I started blogging, I was broke. I was beyond broke. I was a single mother in my late teens putting myself through school on student loans. At the time, I had a small feminist blog (Feministe, circa 2000-2005 AD) with a dedicated readership that would sometimes pool funds to help me pay for this and that. One time, the readership pooled money to help pay my way to speak at Blogher. It was an invaluable personal and professional experience, and the overwhelming generosity of the readership that made this happen still moves me.
In the following years I have made a point of donating to independent media projects, including bloggers, podcasters, illustrators, and movie makers, people who are doing creative, critical, and socially responsible work out of their own passion and out of their own pockets. While I am rarely able to give much, it is vital to me that I thank creatives for the work they do and let them know that I believe in the importance of their message. I know how much that money meant to me, and it feels like good karma to pay it forward.
Today, Hip Hop is for Lovers needs our help. As a mega-fan, I want to implore you to listen to their show and consider donating to their mission. They have started an Indiegogo campaign to raise seed money for merchandising to help them continue the show. Additionally, funds will help cover the costs of equipment and will be used to help the makers attend conferences and panels to help spread the HH4L message. I talked to Uche about the campaign, and she said,
When I started [HH4L] I had a full time job with enough income to not even notice the costs. Since becoming apart of the 9% praying for an unemployment extension I feel it more and more the cost of HH4L on my pocket. The more we grow, the more we need, the more we spend. Its getting expensive on my paltry unemployment benefits. Sometimes it’s come down to groceries vs paying for our hosting or recently buying a new computer vs paying the rent.
I love HH4L and I don’t want it to end on a technicality like we didn’t have money to give it a real chance… We are just at a critical space where we have to acquire more resources, grow and offer more to keep ahead of the pack and we can’t do that on my unemployment benefits.
In activist circles, we are too often made to choose what we have to do instead of the work we love to do, the work that sustains us as human beings.
There needs to be safe, language-accessible space for youth and adults to talk about love,sex, intimacy, etc. Too often, I find that people are put off by clinical language, or uncomfortable sharing in spaces that in no way affirm who they are. Enough of that.
HH4L is something I believe in. We have the potential — and are building the momentum to — impact the culture at large. Not just Hip Hop culture. I’ve seen myself transformed through this work. I know and believe to my core that we can reach folks with what we do.
Please consider giving a donation to the HH4L project, lovers. These folks are doing good work every week and they need our help to thrive. You can also listen to HH4L show every Wednesday from 8-10pm EST, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.