Womyn Emcees are Creating Sacred Space in SanTana through Hip Hop

This past weekend saw the staging of the 4th Annual Womyn in Hip Hop, a sacred gathering that honors womyn through hip hop.

The Womyn in Hip Hop is a gathering branched from a strong foundation of womyn who saw the need for a sacred and safe space for womyn in hip hop. Seven years ago Zuleica Zepeda, known by her artist name 4elementzz, founded the Seeds of Resistance collective in Santa Ana for womyn to come together, create, and inspire one another through art and music.

The seeds were planted as this collective of artists in hip hop, art and craft came together to hold space rooted in friendship and honored creative growth.

Three years after the formation of Seeds of Resistance, Zuleica felt that there was still a need to hold space for womynin the hip hop world. So, the idea for the Womyn in Hip Hop Gathering took hold and branched out of Seeds of Resistance.

Their first event was huge!

Although  the budget  was small, the collective was able to bring in amazing artists like Kruda Cubensi, a queer hip hop crew based in Texas with roots in Cuba. There was a need to hear voices like Kruda Cubensi, Sista Eyerie, Alas, Earthstonez and the many artists who came together to celebrate womyn in hip hop the first year. As the gatherings continued, the event attracted artists like Maya Jupiter, CHOTTI MAA, Vel the Wonder, graffiti artist Blosm, and our local Chulita Vinyl Club Santa Ana.

The impact that this event has had in SanTana and on those joining the gathering from other parts is immeasurable. To have a space where Santa Ana youth, womyn of color and local community artist can see themselves reflected in art and rhyme is healing. Since the first gathering the event continues to honor the struggles of our communities and has brought light to issues like police brutality, indigenous resistance, LGBTQ rights, womynhood, the sacred mother earth, decolonization, autonomy and more.

For Zuleica, the event’s founder and organizer, the dancing and choreography that served as her portal into hip hop started in the fifth grade. Then in high school she was part of a dance crew named Flava N’ Da House.

As her love for hip hop grew, the lack of representation of womyn and the prevalence of misogyny in mainstream hip hop became more and more obvious.

She recalls that as a senior in high school, popular radio only played songs with lyrics that degraded and bashed womyn. There was no womyn representation, much less music that uplifted and celebrated womyn. As she grew older, working in the community brought consciousness and the understanding that there was a lack of spaces for womyn of color to come together.

Today, Zuleica  and Seeds of Resistance are holding creating spaces that are welcoming, healing, sacred, and safe for womyn of color.

This week’s 4th Annual Womyn in Hip Hop Gathering continued those effortsand served as a celebration of the community, hip hop and womyn.

Missed the Womyn in Hip Hop Gatherings? Check out our playlist highlighting some of the artists who have been part of the show over the years! And don’t forget to follow Zuleica and Seeds of Resistance to support their work!

Diana Luz Morales grew up in Santa Ana after immigrating from Mexico at the age of four and is currently a student at UC Santa Cruz. Now in her junior year, she hopes to return to Santa Ana and continue community work for immigrant rights and youth spaces through art, gardening, and activism. This summer, Diana served as a Youth Coordinator along with her younger sibling, Jose Morales for a mural project in the Centro Cultural de Mexico, to address issues of health and accessibility to the local community. Diana also participated as a research intern for Chicanos Unidos de Orange County over the summer to address issues of gentrification by using community surveys and photography.

Follow Diana @brown_resister @diana_luz