Newsbeat

International Women's Day: How female grime artists are marking it

Roxxxan Image copyright Ellie Ramsden

Artists like Lady Leshurr and Nadia Rose have both been a major part of the UK grime scene for years.

But when it comes to chart success, they still haven't matched male artists like Wiley or Stormzy.

Women who work in grime - whether as MCs, DJs or producers - will be discussing their talents tonight as part of an event to mark International Women's Day.

Radio 1 Newsbeat went along to talk to some of the people taking part.

Roxxxan is a grime artist from Birmingham who'll be part of the panel.

"When grime first came out, and it would be everyone round a mic, the mic would not get passed to me," she remembers, "unless it was, like, my best friend.

"And then, say you were good - I grab the mic, kill it - everybody goes crazy. Everyone would turn round like, 'oh yeah, Roxxxan's here, she's sick.' And then they want to pass it to you."

Image copyright Ellie Ramsden

"When I started on the grime scene, women were alien," says Coelle, who's recorded as Lady Fury.

"You had women behind the scenes, and the photographers or videographers, but as an MC? You had Ms. Dynamite, but she was more garage. So it was unheard of."

"The way society is, I think the men would always have got through first.

"It's like women playing football. Why aren't women footballers paid the same as men? They're probably just as good, if not better - and they're better looking! That's my opinion anyway."

"Music should be measured on its merit, not on its gender," according to Dotty, the host of the Radio 1Xtra Breakfast Show.

Dotty was a Grime MC herself at one point.

"I think we need to stop looking at 'women in grime' or 'woman in rap' as a separate category," she adds, "and put them on a level playing field with the guys."

Image copyright Ellie Ramsden

Ellie Ramsden's a photographer. Tonight's event has been organised to launch a book featuring her pictures of women in grime, Too Many Man.

"I saw there were so many talented women in the scene, but they just weren't getting the recognition the guys were," she tells Newsbeat.

"I just thought it was really important for someone to showcase their talent."

And she says there are stereotypes around the genre that need to be looked at.

"Grime is seen as more of an aggressive genre, and I think we're trying to break out of that. It's about breaking those boundaries and saying 'it's ok for women to do this'."

"We should be further, but you know what? Let's celebrate the fact that we've already made some steps," concludes Lady Fury.

"The world is changing."

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