Women in Hip-Hop, there’s an interesting dynamic. How to take on an in dusty with a history of belittling and objectifying women and make it work for you? How do you earn the respect to call the shots like Lil Kim or Cardi B? First and foremost by being 1 of 1.
I got to chat with an up and coming artist, Monv Lisa about her goals as a musician and her experiences as a woman in hip hop.
What industry are you in currently?
I’m currently in the music industry.
What are you most proud of at the moment?
At this moment I am most proud that I have not given up. This industry is ruthless and if you allow it, it will tear you down and break you to the point where you might question the things you believe.
Is your industry one usually dominated by women? How did you fight stigmas?
Mostly this industry is dominated by men. I fought stigmas by being true to myself and my desires. Remaining assertive and staying focused and earning my respect.
How big a role has your culture and gender played in your journey?
My culture and my gender play a major role in my journey as an recording artist in the music industry because I thrive to go where no women in this industry has gone. To use my voice and use music to combat bigotry and spark inspiration. My culture and gender will give me the edge I need to thrive.
Any major life events in the last 6 months you’re working through?
Recently in the last 6 months I’ve been in a couple car accidents. It’s has changed me almost because I’m both I could have easily been hurt or even killed. I managed to leave those accidents with only lessons learned. I’ve learned to be more alert and to be more patient.
What’s one thing you’ve realized with age/time in the industry? (and want other women to realize as well)
Over the year I’ve realized in this industry that’s it’s not about being the coolest or the flyest or even the richest but it’s about being your true self. No matter how weird, goofy, or geeky that maybe. People in this industry love authenticity.
Love or success? Should you have to choose?
Love is something that comes natural to us as humans. I don’t think we should have to choose because choosing success without love is nearly impossible. In order to be successful you must love something so much that you dedicated your time, effort and energy into every ounce of it until it manifest into the dreams you so desired.
How did the name Monv Lisa come about?
Monv Lisa (pronounced Mona Lisa) is a name I gave for myself as a recording artist for many different reasons. The painting Leonard Da Vinci did of the Mona Lisa is one of his greatest masterpieces. I often use this name to describe myself and also my craft as my masterpieces. The Mona Lisa is such a valuable piece of art and yet it is a priceless possessions owned by the country of France. I also feel this was about myself a priceless piece of art.
Any new endeavors you’d like to promote?
I just released and song as well as visuals for a feel good record I call “Good”. It’s a song about a state of mind I was in where I felt so good and so great that I could do just about anything I put my mind to. You can find it on SoundCloud and YouTube .
Hip hop industry has been criticized over the years because of its subjugation of the female body, what is your experience with this?
Hiphop is a genre of music and men and women take advantage of its powerful platform being that hiphop is one of the most influential genres of our time. Often they use sex and the female body to sell more music, to get more views on videos and to attract more listeners. My experience was troubling when I was young and just starting out in this industry and most of the time people would try to shape an image of me based on what “hiphop” was supposed to be. “Wear a bikini in your videos,” “look sexy,” “sex sells” was always the motto. But I learned that this was my own art and I was in full control. I did not have to subject myself to the sexist ideas of most of these labels.
You say authenticity is important, but is there a certain authenticity that is more accepted than others? Like would labels support you if you decided to speak on controversial topics that may not have a wide reach, but a deep impact?
I believe some labels would not agree on things an artist chooses to speck about especially if they’re controversial. I’m an independent artist which means I not signed with a label so I am allowed to make the music I want and say what I want without the permission and approval of a label.
What led you to this industry?
I have always had a love and passion for music. I was young and would sing in the church choir. I also grew up with a group of female cousins and we would often pretend to be in a girl singing group when we were young. We were heavily influenced by groups like TLC, Destiny’s Child, and even The Cheetah Girls. I believed the cheetah girls movie really sparked the artist in me that wanted to be signed and recored in a studio and travel the world and make music. Since then I’ve always aspired to be an artist.
What has this industry taught you about yourself?
This industry has taught me so much about myself. It is so easy to get lost and lose yourself in this industry. It is mean and unforgiving, people are manipulative and sneaky. Ive met some good people along the way but I have also meet more bad then good. It has taught me about myself and who I am and who I want to be. I promised myself I would not conform to the sneaky, boastful ways of this industry that I would pride myself in being kind and humble.
What advice do you have for women who would hope to get into the industry?
I would tell women who want to be in this industry to be prepared for people to judge you and try to shape you into what they think the world wants, or what they think will “sell”. If you remain true to who you are there will be room for you here.
The accidents I’m sure, have reiterated the fact that tomorrow is not always promised. What promises/ goals do you plan to keep while you’re here?
My goals are to touch lives with my music. When I am making music it comes from a very vulnerable part of my heart. It has to in order to reach my audience. I open up in a way so that my emotions are translated into sonic vibrations people can feel and relate to. Not everyone will relate or like and understand my music, and thats ok because I understand that. My goal is touch one person and if I can do that then I have achieved my goal.
To keep up with Monv, follow her: