With Women’s History Month in full swing, female artists are taking over in almost every genre of music, including hip-hop. While current artists such as Doja Cat, SZA, and Beyonce continue to dominate the charts, it’s important to understand the history of trailblazing women in the genre who helped carve out a place for females in what was once considered a male-dominated space. In honor of Women’s Month, check out some of our top documentaries about women in hip-hop as well as how they overcame some of the many challenges that they faced along the way.

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Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop (2023 mini-series): This Netflix documentary takes viewers on a 50-year journey, highlighting the groundbreaking achievements of women within the genre. Featuring artists such as Queen Latifah, Saweetie, Coi Leray, MC Lyte, Roxanne Shante, Latto, Angie Martinez, and more, this mini-series showcases the vital role that females have played and continue to play in creating music and contributing to the culture.

First Ladies of Hip-Hop (2023 mini-series): Narrated by Neneh Cherry, this mini-series tells the stories of both American and British early female rappers and hip-hop artists including Lauryn Hill, Lil Kim, Roxanne Shante, Estelle, Sha-Rock, Salt-n-Pepa, Speech Debelle, and more.


The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion (2019 documentary): This documentary examines how hip-hop music and culture influenced  fashion, leading to the stratospheric and global rise of street wear and influenced both fashion trends and cultural movements on a global scale.

Queens of Hip-Hop (2003 movie): An oldie but a goodie, this film (available on Amazon Prime) tells the story of early female pioneers such as Salt “N” Pepa, Lady Luck, Rah Digga, Charlie Baltimore, and more as they broke down stereotypes and barriers to secure their rightful place in what was once almost exclusively a male-dominated industry.

Roxanne Roxanne (2017 film): This film, which was showcased at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, is a biography of Lolita “Roxanne Shanté” Gooden, a teenage girl who defied all odds in the late 1980s to become one of the most feared battle MC in Queens, New York, before eventually becoming a hip-hop legend.

Queens of Rap (2021 documentary): This BAFTA award nominee documentary focuses on Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion and the creation and cultural influence of WAP as well as its broader implications on the role of women within the hip-hop and music industries in general.

Nicki Minaj: Queen of Rap (2022 documentary): This documentary explores the multi-talented and multi-faceted Nicki Minaj, diving into her ever-changing looks, iconic sound, and unique alter-egos, all while exploring the impact that they have had on hip-hop’s complex culture.

Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes (2007 documentary): This PBS special documentary takes a deep dive into the masculinity that plagued hip-hop culture for decades and explores the challenges that females within the industry faced and how creative genius, poetic beauty, and mad beats all collided with misogyny, violence, and homophobia to create the good and bad of the culture.

About The Author

Zoe has been a staff writer at The Source since January of 2017. She specializes in pop culture, music, tech, politics, women's issues, and more. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @zoeshrugged.

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