Yesterday’s Uberlicious adventure led me to cross paths with Hip Hop royalty when I picked up Sweet LD of the pioneering female rap group Oaktown 3.5.7. Originally background dancers for M.C. Hammer in the late 80s and early 90s, Lil P., Terrible T, and Sweet LD eventually started their own rap group releasing two albums Wild & Loose in 1989 and Fully Loaded in 1991. This was at a time when women like Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, Roxanne Shante, Monie Love, J.J. Fad and MC Sha Rock, to name a few, were emerging as forces to be reckoned with in rap music. And if you want to take it all the way back to the ladies who broke ground on the Hip Hop scene, then you have to dig in the crates and pull out the 1979 hit “Funk You Up” by The Sequence, which included Cheryl the Pearl, Blondie and Angie B., known these days as soul singer Angie Stone.
So, I asked Sweet LD, who I picked up from the airport, what brought her to NYC this weekend. Turns out that she came to town for the 3 Days of Celebrating Women of Hip Hop event taking place in Harlem and The Bronx. Produced by the Universal Hip Hop Museum, of which MC Sha Rock is the Chairperson of the Women’s Committee, special events on June 3rd – 5th will celebrate the female pioneers of rap and their contributions to Hip Hop culture. It was really interesting vibing with Sweet LD about her history with Oaktown 3.5.7, their experiences touring with Hammer, and the truth of what the group went through back in the day evolving from dancers to rap group. As most music groups tend to have the most fascinating backstory of how they came together and what led them to split up, I told her that Oaktown 3.5.7 definitely needed their own Unsung episode on TV One. And while they haven’t always been acknowledged for their place in the history of women in rap, Sweet LD, now known as the hip hop dance and fitness instructor Suhayla Sabir, spoke very positively about how fans have reached out over the years and continue to show love and respect for Oaktown 3.5.7 and their jams from the New Jack Swing era. As her stage name would point to, she was incredibly sweet and so excited to be in NYC again for the first time in over 30 years. “I can’t believe it… Last time I remember being here was performing with Hammer at the Apollo Theater!”
The three day Women of Hip Hop celebration weekend is where Sweet LD will get a chance to meet and share with many of the sistas (some for the first time) who also left their mark on Hip Hop culture. Being part social gathering, part activism and part fundraiser, events will include informative/educational forums on healthier approaches to everyday living and overall empowerment in womanhood and sisterhood. So, if you are around this weekend, definitely check out the this historical celebration!
Friday, June 3rd
The Celebration of “Women of Hip Hop”
8:00pm until 2:00am
The Alhambra Ballroom, 2116 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. Harlem, New York 6th Floor
Saturday, June 4, 2016
Women’s Advisory Board presents “Know Your Worth”
4:00pm until 7:00pm
Old Courthouse, Bronx New York, 513 E 161st St, Bronx, NY 10451
Sunday, June 5, 2016
“I am Me”/”Women of Hip Hop Family”
12:00pm until 5:00pm
Van Cortlandt Park Bronx, Broadway & Van Cortlandt Park S, Bronx, NY 10462