Boss Lady Joins TheSTASHED.com Hip-Hop Roundtables

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News and culture site TheSTASHED.com recently invited me to take part in their fun roundtable series.

Hosted by the STASHED editor Kazeem Famuyide, I joined fellow media types Jeff and Eric Rosenthal (It’s The Real), Tracy G (“Sway in the Morning” on Shade 45) Jayson Rodriguez (Editorial Director, REVOLT) David Amaya (Complex) and STASHED writer Nate Santos to share our 2015 music predictions for newcomers and legends in the game plus pay tribute to A$AP Yams.

Why “Sydney Vs Everybody” Strikes A Big Nerve

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Back in November, I scripted a small note packing a big punch to my personal Facebook account. Snoop Dogg had just posted an image to Instagram about an upcoming Los Angeles version of “Detroit Vs Everybody” (the Eminem-lead track inspired by Tommey Walker‘s movement) and while that particular cut was make-believe, my belief in my city to produce one wasn’t.

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I put the call out and immediately received a response from my longtime friends The Movement Sydney a.k.a. The Green Room, ready and willing to produce a cipher plus visuals and merchandise. They assembled a crew of rappers for the inaugural “Sydney Vs Everybody” with the song and video dropping six weeks later on New Year’s Day.

Did a majority of the most popular rappers out of Sydney make the first release? No. Are the guys who handed verses in on deadline super proud of contributing and now promoting the hell out of their collaborative debut? Yes. Are there plans for newer versions showcasing an even wider array of the city’s rap talent (including big names) coming up? Stay tuned.

I’m dedicated to providing a platform for Australia’s multicultural hip-hop artists who don’t receive the same music industry and public recognition their Anglo counterparts do. This is largely based on the fact I felt the same exclusion myself back home. Australian rappers from diverse backgrounds have colorful, controversial stories that deserve to be played by and for the mainstream. And as a collective (including our like-minded Anglo-Australian brothers and sisters) we’re not stopping till that sea change occurs.

Not to shine a light on negativity but video comments like the ones below (taken from YouTube channel HUSTLEHARD TELEVISION) are indicative of the work ahead of us:

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While both remarks are problematic, let’s tackle the second one first. While you clearly have no issue using American-derived slang like “da” in your username “calemdadestroya,” your small mind obviously can’t grasp the notion “Aussies” include artists like Nate Wade whose father is from North Carolina and mum is Australian via England. All artists on “Sydney Vs Everybody” are AUSTRALIAN and consider themselves just that, despite having to grow up in a country where bigots like you consider them otherwise.

As for pondering the “American accents” featured, save the subliminal questioning “junglejosh13” and say what you really feel. It can’t possibly be hip-hop from Australia if anyone spitting has an international sound rather than a Paul Hogan twang, right? Wrong, motherfucker. It’s 2015! Real hip-hop fans are smart enough to decide what factors are important to them when throwing their support behind a local rapper, whether it’s lyrical content, cadence, speech pattern, vocal tone, image and the list goes on. Am I personally a fan of Australian born and bred rappers who sound exactly like Jadakiss or YG or Andre 3000? I’m not. However, I find the “ocker” accent and “lad” persona just as grating. While I prefer MCs who fall somewhere in the middle of these extremes, I’m open to everyone brave enough to pick up that mic. Only through constant experimentation will we reach the promised land of global recognition. And while everyone is entitled to their opinion, incessant nitpicking will get us nowhere.

If you’re pessimistic about a movement based on unity and pride in one’s city where everyone is welcome, you need serious self-reflection. Don’t waste your breath targeting the artists involved: they’re too busy getting the job done. Come at me if you like, but all you’ll do is inspire me to push harder. We’re tired of being apologetic. We’re even more tired of being silent. We love that we’re striking this chord, sparking regional pride and stirring the pot like never before. Finally, we live and breathe hip-hop way more than you do — trust and believe. To our supporters, join us here: SydneyVsEverybody.com.au. Peace.

New Year’s Day Marks A New BossLady.tv

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I’ve tried various themes for this website over the years. It began as a placeholder for my on-camera interviews then morphed into a female-oriented, news-based site with contributors. In 2015, things are getting a little more personal.

A journalist from the days when impartiality was key, I’ve always found it difficult voicing my opinion in public. In 2015 I’m pushing myself to switch things up and bring the noise. I’m not a “quick-to-form-an-opinion” person but when I do feel passionate about something (especially on matters of race, female empowerment and my beloved hip-hop), watch out. So all content posted here moving forward will be my own.

Hand in hand with my hesitation to socially weigh in on hot topics is my fear of writing. In her HBO special Public Speaking, author Fran Lebowitz half-jokingly bemoaned the high self-esteem my generation possesses that makes even the most basic amongst us think we can construct a literary masterpiece. Her candid observation outlines my real hesitation to write. I’ve had it for years now—since I wrapped up Urban Hitz magazine back in 2006. It’s crippling. I have a love for words beyond measure, yet that same love holds me back from exploring them. I pit myself against those I feel are the best and while I know I have it in me to get there, I’m stricken with doubt and negativity about my skills. Blame the Virgo in me. I’m the classic perfectionist and HATE the idea of failing. At anything.

I’m throwing caution to the wind today. I’m aiming to write as much as possible this year and open myself up to becoming a trusted voice on important matters. My years in the game have afforded me a nice level of respect amongst my peers and I hope to build on that. Would love to see my comment section grow, too. So here goes nothing!

Boss Lady Hosts “Sound & Style” Panel At A3C Festival

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BossLady.tv presented our first “Sound & Style” panel at this year’s A3C Hip Hop Festival.

Hosted by yours truly, the panel focused on the merging of music and fashion and how artists, branding specialists, marketers and more can develop relationships and ultimately make a living out of both worlds. Special thanks to Drumma Boy (producer and CEO of Fresh Phamily Clothing), Demetrius Tatum (CEO, Publik Trust Clothing), Mary “Mz Skittlez” Seats (CEO, Cupcake Mafia) and Dove Clark (Publicist for DJ Paul and more, Journalist and Business Development Manager, Flat Fitty) for sharing their wisdom.

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Photos: @NightLifeLink

Indique Celebrates “Sweet Pink” Breast Cancer Event

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Indique Hair put on a finalé event across their nationwide boutiques yesterday for the #SweetPink initiative, which promotes breast cancer awareness during October.

I hosted at the brand’s New York City location and we had a blast! We had cupcakes and cocktails on deck and gave out chocolate bars (a la Willy Wonka) with special tickets inside promising goodies like discount codes, hair care products and more. One lucky winner per boutique won four tubes of hair and one overall winner won a whopping 20 tubes of hair in addition to becoming Indique’s newest ambassador.

Throughout October, Indique’s #SweetPink movement highlighted breast cancer awareness through initiatives like free makeovers for breast cancer survivors, referrals to mammogram screening centers and more. For more information, head to IndiqueHair.com.

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A Letter To Iggy Azalea

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Dear Iggy,

I want to talk to you. I lost all my numbers and had no way to call you, so I’ve tried emailing and DM’ing you on Twitter with no response. I’ve asked your record label numerous times to organize an interview with us to no avail (you might want to look into that). I’ve stayed uncharacteristically quiet on the subject of “you” as non-stop dispatches fire across my social media recently. I’ve read every conversation and comment closely, waiting for the right time to share my thoughts. I’ve got no other way to reach you, so here I am.

When you were brought to my attention as an artist, I was hopeful. I was shocked at how hopeful I was, actually. I’m a proud person of Middle Eastern descent, one of many minorities back home in Australia who took to hip-hop as shelter, growing up in a country that shamefully denies its race problems. I thought I’d look at you suspiciously, especially when I realized you were rapping in a voice different to the one you were born with. Something in my heart told me to not only give you a fair shot but also throw my support behind you, so I hosted your first on-camera interview. When you walked into the DrJays.com offices, you had that gorgeous “star in the making” vibe. I’ll never forget when you registered I was the woman who created the magazine you used to read back in the day (Australia’s most successful hip-hop/R&B magazine, Urban Hitz) and how excited you were to be conducting our interview from the plush New York City offices of the same website you ordered Baby Phat and Apple Bottoms gear from on the other side of the world—a teenager in a country town called Mullumbimby who was outcast because she was white, a fan of hip-hop culture and an aspiring MC.

You’ve come a long way in a short time. We bond when we see each other. You dropped everything to make me a namesake track, “Boss Lady,” for my Woman On Top mixtape. I remember your confusion and heartbreak when you and [A$AP] Rocky ended things. I remember your joy and elation (shout out to Peezy) at the first sold-out show you did at S.O.B.’s, a show I hosted with fans lined up for blocks before you had a hit single. I remember your disappointment when blogs like NahRight.com and RapRadar.com wouldn’t post your music or acknowledge you. When Rah Digga spoke on you and you diplomatically responded, “I honestly don’t really mind if I’m described as rap or pop” I could hear you silently screaming, “I am a fucking rapper!”

When a veteran like Snoop Dogg “teases” you on Instagram, you publicly take offense. Snoop’s instinctive reaction, of course, is to go harder. He’s been disrespecting women since I was gleefully singing along to “Ain’t No Fun” as a teenager. You know that; we all know that. You have a genuine supporter in T.I., one I hope you recognize and appreciate.

Rap’s obviously a tough space for women. White female rappers have come before you, but none have reached your success. Mainstream media now holds you up while hip-hop media disassociates itself from you, just as it was starting to give you the shine you [once?] craved.

In Australia you’re a hot topic, especially when it comes to your ever-changing accent. People love you and people hate you. Some support your audacity while others bemoan your perceived trickery. None of these people really know you, including myself. I don’t think most people actually know you at all. What I do know is you prefer it that way.

The days when you were known as “Regal,” an awkward white girl who was a regular at Sydney hip-hop clubs wildly aspiring to be a rapper, are long gone. They’re nothing in comparison to the firestorm you’re experiencing now. We’re about to see how you ultimately handle the highs and lows of being at the top of the music world and boy, are you experiencing them at their extreme (I won’t even touch on this Hefe Wine mess).

If rap is what you want to do, do it. Most doubt you’re in it for the long run so prove ’em wrong. Much more important than holding onto your accent, hold on to that Aussie trait instilled in us from birth: if you’re getting caught up in hype and hysteria, pull your head in and get back to work. You once told me, “The American dream just means anything is possible for anyone, no matter how crazy your dream seems.” Don’t ever let anyone make your dream feel crazy, Iggy.

~Simone

Boss Lady To Host #TheSummitMC In Denver [9/6]

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After its launch event was a sold-out success, The Summit Music Conference returns to Denver next month.

The conference is the Rocky Mountain region’s premier gathering of aspiring entertainment industry talent. Power players from the fields of blogging (Karen Civil), print magazines (Vanessa Satten, XXL), A&R (Jean Nelson, The Blueprint Group) and more will be featured on panels throughout the day with performances from the area’s top artists and more.

#TheSummitMC takes place September 6 at Casselman’s Bar & Lounge. Tickets and information available here.

A New Era: DASH Radio Platform Launches Today

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DASH Radio is here and ready to change the way you listen to radio forever.

The brainchild of my long time friend DJ Skee, DASH offers up everything you love about radio: top-rated DJs and hosts, free to air via the official website and app, tons of diverse channels to choose from and absolutely no commercials.

“Radio was the first social network, the first time people really listened together,” Skee tells Billboard today. “And we want to bring that feeling back, but with more freedom than what FM and satellite can offer. Digital radio today is not real radio — it’s like making a mixtape for your friends. There’s still a time where you just want to listen to curated radio, and we want to be that option.”

My weekly show, “International Affair With Boss Lady”, officially launches tonight on DASH’s “The Cut” channel at 10pm ET / 7pm ET. With exciting segments like “Sound & Style,” “Woman On Top” (with first guest Brianna Perry from Oxygen’s Sisterhood Of Hip Hop) and “Change The Game” (with first guest New Zealand’s new pop sensation Janine & The Mixtape), “International Affair” looks set to be one of my proudest achievements to date.

Download the DASH Radio app here and be prepared for a new day in radio!

Meek Mill Celebrates “Dreams Worth More Than Money” With Private Dinner

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Meek Mill is preparing for the release of his sophomore set, Dreams Worth Than More Money, due in September.

The “Dream Chaser” himself hosted a private dinner during BET Awards Weekend for a select group of DJs from across the country who were privileged to hear the upcoming album. Attendees were gifted with Monster “24K” headphones, sipped on CIROC cocktails and enjoyed a three-course meal at Mr. Chow’s.

 

Boss Lady At The Summit: A Rocky Mountain Music Conference

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This past weekend I was part of the first edition of The Summit: A Rocky Mountain Music Conference in Denver, CO.

Organized by LA-born entrepreneur Michael Gomez, the unprecedented event brought the city’s avid music community out to hear words of wisdom from the industry’s best. Representatives from Hip Hop Nation (SiriusXM), Atlantic Records and Skee TV were in attendance. Hundreds of aspiring artists, bloggers, managers and more gained priceless information from the panel, who sat for hours to speak on various topics and answer questions from the crowd.

A huge thank you to the Fogo Management, Top Flite Empire and the city of Denver for the warm welcome. Can’t wait to come back!

Simone Amelia Covers Boss Lady Magazine’s April Issue

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What an incredible honor!

I am the April cover star of Boss Lady magazine. I met Rhonda Rachelle, Founder/Editor, at the Atlanta launch of my Reebok Classics sneaker and we connected instantly. We share the same theories behind the powerful title “boss lady” and carry it with respect and love. When Rhonda reached out to me about shooting for the cover of her magazine during my next trip to Atlanta, I jumped at the opportunity. We did a great interview, took some amazing photos and it looks like I’ll now be joining the team as a columnist for future issues.

Read my in-depth cover story here.

Thank you again to Rhonda Rachelle and the magazine crew, Indique Hair for providing their Atlanta boutique for our cover shoot, and everyone involved.