nittyscott

A Woman's Worth: Nitty Scott MC On The Beauty Of Struggle

Rapper Nitty Scott MC shares her story for Vixen's 'A Woman Worth' series in celebration of Women's History Month.

Nitty Scott MC laughs in the face of adversity. Better yet, the flower child's determination mirrors the tenacity of a rose blooming in the concrete.

“Sometimes those darker moments of life are the most inspiring,” the 24-year-old lyricist tells Vixen. Yet, these days, the rapper finds peace of mind by standing in her truth and sharing her journey through progressive rhymes and stories of love, abuse, self-discovery, and women empowerment, that reach the souls of listeners.

With bars galore (you'll definitely find them on her 2014 'tape The Art of Chill), the Brooklyn MC has turned both her passion and talent into more than just a hobby as she confidently juggles the underground rap scene in the palm of her manicured hands.

Here, Nitty opens up about the beauty of her struggle, her balancing act as a female in rap, and why her vulnerability will impact generations to come.

Origin of the Nitty Scott movement:
My story really starts online. I put out my freestyle to Kanye West’s “Monster” and it went viral. It was picked up by a lot of blogs and popular online platforms. The birth of my movement started there ­­– built off of the word of mouth, a very organic and grassroots movement.

On pursuing music:
It started with a passion for words moreso than just creating music, but I’ve always been a music lover. I was attending school as a Creative Arts major and studied different forms and mechanism of writing. My strong point was poetry, spoken word, short stories and things of that nature that were very message-driven. One day, as opposed to simply having music be the background of the pieces, I was performing. I selected beats first and then wrote according to the rhythm of the song. It was totally thrilling and so DIY-like. When people began to gravitate towards it, it really sparked a passion in me for creating music as I was able to combine music and my skills as a great, formally trained writer, and marry the two together as an artist. People responded to the raw talent that was there and I never looked back.

My purpose as an artist:
I want to bring balance. I’d like to think that I’m a part of a balancing act in music where mainstream and underground coexist. I’m here to help bring things full circle as a voice for women, minorities, hip hop artists, and young people alike. While there is a mainstream representation of those things, I think my message is a contrast from what’s popular. Essentially, I want to have an impact on my generation and help people figure out themselves by sharing my story and journey. If you haven’t noticed, I’m really heavy on introspective and existential things because that’s where I feel like the root of our problems come from. As an artist, I want to challenge people to really take a deep look at themselves, and have an impact on my generation that promotes spirituality and humanity.

Advice I take to heart:
My parents always instilled in me the idea that I could do whatever I wanted, as far as what my passions were. That has stayed with me until this day. In the past I would question whether I could actually be successful in music, but I’ve grown out of that way of thinking. Now, I truly have this confidence that I can do whatever I put my mind to. As cliché as it might sound, it’s actually a very profound thing to fully grasp and understand. Knowing that you’re going to excel at whatever you decide to do and truly believing it is so powerful.

On being a female in the rap game:
As a young woman in the rap industry, I feel totally empowered and liberated. I’m in a great place now where I am able to fully recognize my power as a woman. That wasn’t always the case though. I used to walk around with a rain cloud over my head, wondering how to maneuver in this industry. I wasn’t comfortable in my skin and it was a horrible feeling. In a male-dominated industry, you find yourself in a lot of those situations where you’re worried about how you’re being perceived, but I have learned to be comfortable within myself to the point that I’m no longer influenced by what people think. I really do feel like it’s all about how you carry yourself though. Energy is always felt and reciprocated, so if you walk around with a certain aura that reads you’re here to be respected, then it’s understood and it’s reciprocated. I am no longer afraid of the way a woman with sexual prowess, like myself, might make a man feel. I am a woman. I am here. Hear me roar (Laughs).

I credit my growth to:
Misery. I had allowed a manufactured mentality that wasn’t fit for my multidimensional being to dictate a lot of things for me early on in my career. Personally, I think the transparency of my vulnerability as an artist is beautiful and very relatable for young women out there, even though I’ve gotten some backlash, some side eyes, and misogynistic comments. People attach me becoming more in touch with my feminine side to selling sex because it’s so easy and has been proven time and time again that it works. I welcome all of that to demonstrate how people react when a woman decides to be their complete and true self. I want to lead the way and be brave and show people, yes, I was actually afraid to be myself but I did it and so can you.

I am inspired by:
The whole hip-hop era of Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Slum Village – that is totally where my roots are. But my family gives me the most inspiration. We’re pretty dysfunctional, like most families, but I think coming from that chaos and tragedy makes me a better artist. It’s made me a person that is constantly seeking, growing and learning, and it also made me creative because I had to make sense of a lot of the things I saw growing up. So, in a sense, I needed that craziness because it turned me into this sensitive, emotional, and thoughtful person that I am. Sometimes those darker moments of life are the most inspiring.

If I wasn’t rapping:
I would probably be doing something in broadcast journalism and the communication field, which was my original passion before I fell into music. I even interned at the New York Daily News and took serious steps towards pursuing it.

My next project:
Definitely conceptual. I’m taking records from my favorite group of all time, which I will not mention yet (laughs), and sort of flipping them and putting my touch on them. Just know it’s going to be dope.

ALSO SEE:
Estelle On Owning Your Sexuality
Justine Skye On Growing Into Your Confidence
Sevyn Streeter On Being True To Yourself

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Best Of VIBE Vixen's Boss Talk Podcast: Saweetie, Amara La Negra And More On Making Boss Moves

VIBE Vixen's Boss Talk podcast amplifies the voices of women and she/her-identifying individuals in their respective industries as they discuss their journeys toward becoming the bosses we know today. From their demeanor and confidence and persevering through life’s pitfalls to make a name for themselves in their own way, being a boss is much more than 'just running sh*t.'

We rounded up some of our favorite pieces of advice from our first few episodes! Our bosses so far have ranged from rappers (Saweetie and Kash Doll), to authors (Karyn Parsons) to activists (Peppermint). Each of the bosses invited on the show have had some incredible journeys, and we thank them for giving us insight into how they've become the bosses they are today.

Whether they're thanking their mothers for inspiring them to be their best (like Amara La Negra), or chalking up some boss moves to being their authentic selves (Bevy Smith), this retrospective episode focuses on the awesome words these bosses have shared with us thus far.

Listen below to our "Best Of..." episode as well as all of the episodes of Boss Talk Podcast. Be on the lookout for new episodes coming soon.

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Photo by Chance Yeh/Getty Images for A+E

Andrea Kelly Says She's Been Attacked For Calling Out R. Kelly's Behavior

Andrea Kelly has found it hard to march for women as they continue to support her polarizing ex-husband, R. Kelly.

The former choreographer shared her sentiments on an upcoming episode of Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta shared on Entertainment Tonight. Speaking with close friend Debra Antney, Kelly tearfully expressed her frustrations with her ex-husband and praised Antey for sticking by her side.

The former couple was previously in a child support battle for their children Joann, 21, Jay, 19, and Robert, 17. During the time of filming, Kelly owed $161,000 in back child support to his ex. In May, it was reportedly paid off by a mysterious donor.

"When I think about the ways that I have been abused by Robert, from being hogtied, having both of my shoulders dislocated, to being slapped, pushed, having things thrown as me, the sexual abuse, the mental abuse, words can't even describe," she said.

In addition to the child support case, Kelly was charged with 11 felony counts of sexual assault. He's pleaded not guilty despite reported evidence of videotapes that reportedly show the entertainer engaging in sexual acts with minors. Andrea tells Antey how difficult the process has been for her since speaking out about Kelly's behavior in the Lifetime docu-series, Surviving R. Kelly. 

"Here I am, putting myself in a position because I want to help women, and they are attacking me," she said. "There's some things that I don't even speak anymore, that I feel like, once you give it to God, you better leave with God, because if I don't leave it with God, I'm definitely going to be somewhere with my hands on the glass, visiting my children every other Sunday."

Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on WEtv.

Watch the clip here.

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Courtesy of Baby Tress

Baby Tress' Edge Styler Ensures Women Of Color Will Always Shake The Beauty Table

"Do you have edge control in here?"

It's an inquiry my niece asked me over the weekend as we got ready for our cousin's graduation. Atlanta's heat is friendly but mixed with nimbus clouds, frizz (and thunderstorms) are on the horizon. Given the circumstances, a high bun seems to be the best choice for me and my niece, a slick-back style with extra attention to our baby hairs. It's typical for either one of us to grab a toothbrush to slick and swoop our edges with pomade or gel, but with The Baby Tress Edge Styler, the process is easier and equally as stylish.

Created by boutique communications agency Mama Tress, the styler is everything baby hair dreams are made of. It's also a testament to the rise of the "style" in popular hair culture. With a dual comb and brush top, its pointed tip elevates a consumer to baby hair connoisseur.

But the styler isn't something created to appropriate black culture or piggyback on what boosts the most likes on social media. The handy styler was created by Mama Tress CEO Hannah Choi and her team consisting of other women of color like public relations coordinator Mariamu "Mimi" Sillah. The New York native tells VIBE Vixen the styler was made as a gift for an event they hosted but its intentions to propel black hair were always present.

"We try to make it clear that this is for women of color. Because we all understand the history of baby hair, we all have connections, we all have stories, we all do it differently, some people swoop it; if you see some of my coworkers they do the swirls," she said. "This is a product that we want everyone to see and think, 'I don't need to be using a toothbrush. I deserve more than a toothbrush.' This is a tool made thoughtfully with women of color in mind and we are women of color who came up with the idea because we know what we need."

Coming in six different colors, the styler's bristles are stronger than a typical toothbrush and give anyone's edges a look all their own. Over the years, styled baby hairs have gotten the white-washed celeb treatment. From the runways of New York Fashion Week to fans of black culture like Kim Kardashian, its recent love affair among popular culture crosses out its rich roots.

Many have attributed the actual rise of baby hairs to the '70s with pioneers like LaToya Jackson and Sylvia Robinson of CEO Sugar Hill Records sporting their luxurious edges with Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas being the all-time queen. Recent entertainers like Ella Mai and FKA twigs have made them fun and creative. There are also the many Latinx and black around the way queens who have kept the culture alive.

 

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“Our tool is more than a beauty product, it’s a conversation starter," Choi, who is of Korean descent, previously told fashion site Beauty Independent. "There are nuances of someone’s world that you won’t see if you’re not part of that community. And we felt that the conversation around why this market is so underserved should be brought to light and talked about. We are seeing such a big change now in fashion and beauty in terms of representation, and we want to be able to have that conversation without it being heavy. We want it to be approachable. Our brand is very approachable.”

When it comes to moving in the black hair space, Sillah feels empowered at Mama Tress. It also makes it easy to develop black hair tools like the styler. "I feel like my voice is listened to because I am a consumer of all these things. It's empowering to be in a position to have more control," she said. "If we're being honest, a lot of the black hair spaces are not owned by people who look like us. To be in a position where I can say "No, don't create this product, we don't wear things like this,' or 'Actually you should name it this because this resonates with this community,' I'm an advocate for my community. That's part of the reason why Baby Tress was created because it's about a larger conversation, about things not being thoughtfully made for us."

Baby Tress' next steps are to make the styler accessible to consumers and create even more products dedicated to black women.

“We need to be in retail spaces because this is a product you need to see up close and touch it and play with it,” said Shannon Kennard, account executive at Mama Tress tells Glossy. “Everyone who tries it falls in love with it.”

Sillah is more than ready for women of color to elevate their beauty regimen, one creation at a time. The future of Baby Tress includes an array of more products designed with women of color in mind.

"Anything that has to do with baby hair, we can bring to Baby Tress and make it beautifully designed and effective," she said.  "That's what this is about. It's about that step up. Again, we should not be using a toothbrush anymore."

Learn more about Baby Tress here.

 

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