Today at 2:00PM, Can A Sista Rock A Mic? Arts & Music Festival closes with the screening of young mic-rocker, P-Star, in the feature documentary, “P-Star Rising.”
The documentary tells the story of 9-year-old Harlemite, Priscilla, who pledges to her dad that she will fulfill the rap dreams he didn’t get the chance to. But Miss Priscilla is giving more than just a cute kid’s promise.
Gabriel Noble and Marjan Tehrani–more film school than hip hop–direct and produce P-Star’s story as a young female emcee. Hip hop, however, is growing its own cinema, thanks to ladies who rock mics and cameras.
One of Detroit’s finest is doing just that. As an emcee, director, multi-platform communicator and face of Emergence Media, Invincible opened the CASRAM Festival preshow, and shared why independent production and auto-promotion are key to amplifying your voice.
JT JOHNSON: How did you come to be a part of Can A Sista Rock A Mic?
INVINCIBLE: I first met Kimani about 10 years ago. There was a mutual friend of ours named Yejide the Night Queen, and she was throwing a women in hip hop event every month, and he came out to one of her events.
Then about four years ago, my friend, Stacy Epps. came out and did Can A Sista Rock A Mic? and I came out and performed a song with her.
So I always knew about the festival and, then, this year they asked me to be a feature at it, and I’m just honored to be part of this legacy of DC supporting women in hip hop, and bringing out of town artists to connect with the local DMV movement.
JT: Tell me about Emergence Media. Why was it important for you to create that venue, and why is it important to have those outlets?
INVINCIBLE: For me, I feel like having my own outlet, or having independent outlets period is the most vital piece of being self reliant. Because as much as you can be progressive with your own artistry, as much as you can be progressive with your own products, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t control the outlets.
So for me to start my own label and media company and release things like the film, “The Revival,” and to be a part of the events we’re a part of (is crucial). I produced an event down at SXSW, and it was the first women in hip hop event done at SXSW, and this is the 25th year of the Festival!
So it takes somebody from the community to do something that actually represents the community, or somebody from the outside is going to do it incorrectly, or not do it at all.
But if we actually create our own tours, and our own distribution, and our own websites, and are promoting our work in relevant ways—that’s the only way we’re able to start nurturing a support base and listener-ships in our music that actually appreciates it for what it is, as opposed to a record label or a media mogul or a corporation that’s, basically, trying to sell another product.
They’re going to mold your work into whatever it is they’re trying to market, and i just feel like creating our own outlets is the only way to have that total control, and to be able to not compromise like that.
JT: Why was it important for you to create “The Revival,” as well as the upcoming SXSW edition?
INVINCIBLE: I’ve been in so many women in hip hop documentary series, I can’t even count. And a lot of times—not all the time, but a lot of times it’s almost like an anthropological approach. They’re not part of the women in hip hop community, and so…there’s something missing.
I started doing film work a couple of years ago, when I did “Locusts,” about gentrification in Detroit, and then I’ve done a couple others since that.
So when I went on the tour (We B Girlz with Roxanne Shante, Bahamadia, Eternia, Shortee, and Stacy Epps), I felt like, ‘This needs to be documented.’ It was the first time such a large independent women-in-hip hop tour was happening for such a long period of time, and I also didn’t realize until I got there, that it was the first time Roxanne Shante and Bahamadia were meeting each other.
And after I released it, the feedback was just so immense. The story of women in hip hop, and just in general, unheard voices in hip hop needs to be told.
I feel like our world is a parallel universe. It’s like it exists and it’s flourishing, but people are just stuck in another dimension, but once they realize it, it’s like an awakening. And that’s what, to me, “The Revival” is about—reviving people’s faith, and reviving the whole culture in a sense. People say, ‘hip hop is dead.’ but, a lot of us lost our faith, because it’s the same story being repeated. And now these new perspectives are going to help—not just innovate the topics—but innovate the art form, because they’re going to bring the expression of their story as well.
This is a movement—and it’s growing—but it has to be supported to grow. Giving people that visibility will hopefully inspire people to take action and start actually going out of their way to support those artists and make sure that they are able to continue using their perspectives to fill these voids.
Catch the future of hip hop’s voice in cinema this afternoon, and say so long for now as CASRAM joins forces with Hip Hop Cinema Cafe and the Washington Historical Society for the last day of the festival. “P-Star Rising” begins at 2:00P at 801 K Street, NW.