Music by VICE

Sydanie’s Pillars Of Life Are Motherhood and Hood Resistance

The Toronto-based rapper uses her music to tell the stories of her unique experiences and makes space for other mothers to do the same.

by Sharine Taylor
Jul 25 2017, 7:03pm

Ghetto girls run the world. Seriously. They are often on the frontiers of innovation and fashion and though they are demonized, they truly deserve to be celebrated. As a self-identifying queer, Black, femme mother, Toronto-based rapper Sydanie uses her music to tell the stories of her unique experiences and makes space for other mothers to do the same. She recently organized a panel called Ghetto Feminism and Hood Resistance and followed up with a showcase called Liquid Gold where she gave mothers of colour who rap the opportunity to talk back to the criticism surrounding who and what they are. "Liquid gold is literally a yellow breast milk that women get near the ending of their pregnancy... just a couple days before and after you have your baby," she shares in an interview with Noisey. "You get this kick ass breast milk that can bounce off walls and shit! I'm joking, but really it is high in all of the nutrients and vitamins that a baby would need when they're first born."

Hood feminism may not be the exact term that Black feminist Audre Lorde used in Sister Outsider but she does speak about the ways different kinds of feminism leave out people who are deeply marginalized when she says, "Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society's definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference—those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older—know that survival is not an academic skill." Being an artist and mother is not something you'd find as a priority in any given school curriculum, however, the two events afforded women from different artistic disciplines to speak about the lessons their hardships have taught them.

Amidst the highly opinionated pieces on motherhood—especially the ones regarding Beyonce—the necessity behind events like Liquid Gold are doubly important. The panelists and performers talked about the complexities of their motherhood and identities allowing that terribly dry commentary that usually permeates conversations about who and what is a good mother take a backseat. "How often do you see showcases of Black and Brown moms who make cool shit?...I feel like we never get the space to be all of who we are. We never get the space to be sexy moms who smoke weed, or to be sexy moms who play instruments or cool moms who do tattoos," she says. "The fact that I am a struggling Black or Brown mom, I'm an artist and I'm good at what I do, I'm an artist and I don't fit into your stereotype, I'm an artist who talks about being sexual, I'm an artist who is sexual in my music."

The artist's most recent project, Stillwater, had its own set of difficulties. On the four-track EP the artist discusses womanhood, unreciprocated loyalty, and her sexuality but when she tried to censor herself on her experiences as a mother she had a difficult time making it come to fruition. She says, "I didn't realize this until after I dropped the project but purging all of my experiences through the EP is what helped the writer's block. It's like the universe, my energy, my higher mind wasn't allowing anything else to come out until I told that particular story [of motherhood]. That's what made it take so long. There's aspects of myself that I wasn't willing to share or wasn't ready to share and once I broke down those barriers, I wrote some really good shit."

Liquid Gold was a celebration of the unconventional. It was for the women that unapologetically stood firmly in who what they are and perhaps we need that kind of visibility in an industry where motherhood is rarely spoken about so boldy. "I'm from the hood that means I'm a little bit ratchet. I'm not formally educated, I identify as queer and then on top of being a Black mom, it's like finding power in my intersections."

Watch the video below to see how Sydanie navigates the world of rap and motherhood.

Sharine Taylor will be bumping Stillwater for the rest of her life. Follow her on Twitter.