Ladies First: Netflix Documentary Series Review

The fight against sexual and racial discrimination runs through music in Hannah Beachler’s documentary series.

50 years after what is traditionally called the birth of hip-hop, Netflix celebrate it with a 4 episode documentary filmed by a newcomer Hanna Beachlerknown to most as the production designer for such successful films as Black Panther AND Moonlight. Ladies First – the history of women in hip-hopin just 3 hours, an attempt to bring together the most marginalized and neglected part of these 5 decades of street music, redefining the boundaries and terms of a musical genre that has been considered exclusively male for too long, but which has always based its potential on the hard work and enthusiasm of many women. Series title taken directly from the single Ladies Firstwritten and performed in 1989 Moni Love AND Queen Latifah, introduce us as one of the most important rap senators in the United States.

Read also: Depp vs. Heard: Netflix documentary series review

Because hip-hop is also feminine

First place for women

The documentary travels through history without concern for temporal continuity, but by dividing episodes into macro-categories and constantly combining rare archival images with the faces and words of real heroes of this unspoken but necessary female ascent into the “hip-hop universe”. : godmothers of the genre like Sha-Rock, Roxanne Shante AND MS Light alternately coexist with new symbols of rap: money doll, Act, Earth Punch, Rhapsodywhose influence comes from the artists mentioned above and such iconic figures as Lil Kim AND Lauryn Hill. The accumulation of talents reaching today’s phenomena Cardi B AND Nicki Minaj starting from the source where Sylvia Robinsongeneral producer of Sugar Hill Records, played an important and, in fact, vital role in the creation of the album. Rapper’s Delightan iconic pioneer of the genre that dominates the charts today.

But the female representation does not stop at the stage, it goes beyond it and at the same time elevates it, listening to the testimonies of those who welcomed and included this branch of music and this way of performing it, who absorbed its meaning. and politico-social consequences: writer and critic Brittney Cooper hip hop archivist Sirita Gatespassing through the teacher Salamisha Tillet and other industry experts who bring to life and further celebrate the invisible line drawn by musicians that connects the struggles and needs of the past with the conquests and rights of the present.

Ladies First: Unity is strength

Ladies First presents the fight against discrimination (gender discrimination coupled with racial difference) as a collective battle waged individually, as a sequence of unique stories that reconstruct the whole, connected pieces of the puzzle that paint the big picture and its progressive evolution. The difficult assertion of those who for years have been only objectified by this toxic masculinity, exposed unfiltered by music videos, misogynistic and denigrating lyrics, has gone through a long period of very little attention, almost no attention, despite the influence Salt N PepaFrom Queen LatifahFrom Roxanne Shante, despite the massive and enduring presence of women in the industry, who were often labeled as male groups, but never truly found their own space. However, the determination and desire to assert itself never faded, and the thirst for revenge now finds saturation with the revelation of a new femininity. a new being, a black and proud woman, free, the mistress of her voice, image and body..

Ladies First: assessment and conclusion

Music, history, culture; a documentary series that is not satisfying, but certainly enriching, and also touches on some harder strings, especially for those who, as fans of the genre, recognize themselves and their sensitive experiences in the names, stories, and short musical passages offered in the production. Supported by full and aesthetically pleasing photographic and archival accompaniment. Hanna Beachler she shows herself immature but stubborn: she opts for reconstruction by means of her personal logical continuity, risking several times the error of impoverishing some passages, neglecting to deepen the key points of the whole movement and preferring, it, the weaving of separate stories and testimonies, according to her in my opinion, is able to more accurately reflect the winding path of a black female voice.

Also read the review of the documentary series Being Moana: Discovery+.

Direction – 3

Scenario – 3

Photography – 3.5

Sound – 4

Emotion – 3.5

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