Depending on who you listen to this is either a man’s world (James Brown), or girls we run this mutha (Beyonce). This is what was trickling through my mind when Tara McPherson asked me to contribute to the second Tiny Trifecta show at her Brooklyn gallery, Cotton Candy Machine. So while I’ve feathered some paint around honoring some of my male musical favorites…
But who are those birds? Up at the top we have Da Brat, (Shawntee Harris) who was discovered after winning a rap contest on Yo! MTV Raps in the early 90’s, and went on to become the first female rapper to go platinum with her album Funkdafied.
She was promoted as kind of a girl version of Snoop Doggy Dog but she rolls pretty hard (convictions for assault, misdemeanor conduct). This bird is flying free again now.
Dana Elaine Owens picked the name Latifah out of an Islamic name book when she was eight, but though the name meant “delicate” she went on to be a power forward on her high school basketball team, and put her out her album “All Hail the Queen” when she was just nineteen.
Queen Latifah went from rapper to actress, where she’s racked up a couple Golden Globes, a Grammy, and nominations for an Emmy and Oscar. She’s owned that whole regal queen thing from the beginning.
I saved my favorite lady rapper for last. Melisssa Arnette “Missy” Elliot — she’s got everything going on, songs I can never shake out of my head and terrifically wacky music videos.
The only female rapper to go platinum six times, I don’t even know how to pick a favorite song. She’s done pretty well for a girl who grew up in a “vermin infested shack.”
All this goodness and much, much more is currently on display at Cotton Candy Machine‘s exhibit “Tiny Trifecta”, in which over 80 artists have each contributed three pieces, all of which are for sale for a mere $100 each. (Yes you read that right.) The Wall Street Journal was kind enough to write the show up (read it right here), and with artists like Eric White, Josh Keyes, Natalia Fabia, Doze, James Jean and a host of others, it’s easy to see why. Shows like this are great because they allow people without deep pockets to become art collectors, and I think buying art is sort of an addictive process — once you do it, you start looking at art a little differently, maybe a bit more acquisitively. I’ve had some collectors who’ve grown with me over the years, starting when we were basically still students and continuing the relationship as we all became a little more “solvent.” It’s a great thing. Buy art, people!
Tiny Trifecta runs at Cotton Candy Machine thru August 5th, so trot on over to 235 South 1st Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Time to get back to work!