Skip Links

All About...
Joan Morgan

A self-confessed hip-hop junkie, whose passionate documentation of the genre, combined with adept cultural criticism, has placed her at the forefront of music journalism.

Georgia McKay
Sydney Opera House

She coined the term ‘hip hop feminism’  

While the music industry continues to reckon with its own #MeToo moment, Morgan coined the term “hip-hop feminism” as early as 1999 with the publication of her book, When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost. Giving voice to the most intimate thoughts of the post-Civil Rights, post-soul generation, Morgan offered a provocative and powerful look into representations of the modern black woman: a complex world in which feminists often had not-so-clandestine affairs with the most sexist of men; where women who treasured their independence frequently preferred men who picked up the tab. She called for a more capacious form of feminism: “We need a voice like our music – one that samples and layers many voices, injects its sensibilities into the old and flips it into something new, provocative, and powerful”.

She is one of the pioneering voices reporting on the intersection of feminism and race

Born in Jamaica and raised in the South Bronx, Morgan began her journalist career at The Village Voice. Her first article, “The Pro-Rape Culture” explored issues of race and gender in the case of the Central Park jogger. Her coverage of the rape trial of former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson earned her an Excellence Merit Media Award from the National Woman’s Political Caucus.

Mike Tyson in the City-County Building in Indianapolis. Image: Chuck Robinson | AP Photo

 

She wrote a book marking 20 years since The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

Her latest book, She Begat This pays homage to hip-hop icon Lauryn Hill, marking 20 years since the release of her seminal solo debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. A musical portrait of pan-African love and feminism, the album sold over 19 million copies worldwide, resonating across multiple generations and inspiring a new generation of artists like Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj and Janelle Monáe.

“And here comes Lauryn, slaying in double time and flipping her own respectability politics on its head. She’s that L-Boogie effortless sexy that became her trademark: wedge-heeled platforms, thigh-high miniskirt with a matching spaghetti-strapped tee topped with an oversize denim shirt simultaneously reserving the right to indict hair weaves and fake hair while wearing a straight wig.”

 

She doesn’t mince words

Morgan pulls no punches in examining the public’s mixed reaction to Hill’s first pregnancy, the lawsuit filed against her from producers claiming unsung credit on the album, the fallout from Hill’s confessions about her secret love affair with fellow Fugee Wyclef Jean, and a look at Hill’s life following Miseducation’s success, a life mired by years of inactivity, rumored relationship troubles and creative fasting.

Lauryn Hill @ Sound Academy (Toronto) in 2014. Image: Eddy Rissling | The Come Up Show

You may also like...

hip hop & feminism

What happens when we love problematic music? Journalist Joan Morgan has spent her life examining hip hop from a black feminist perspective. Join this session as she explores the contradictions of pop culture at All About Women.

all about… soraya chemaly

A prolific voice on the role of gender in culture, politics, religion and media, American writer Soraya Chemaly’s body of work has always had a strong feminist focus.

all about… sohaila abdulali

Meet the woman changing the way we talk about rape.