In 1979, Angela “Angie B” Stone, Cheryl “The Pearl” Cook, and Gwendolyn “Blondy” Chisolm claimed the title of first all-woman rap group when they released the hip hop hit, “Funk You Up.” The former C. A. Johnson cheerleaders had grown up together in Columbia, South Carolina’s Saxon Homes Projects. Like many aspiring artists of their day, they took inspiration from the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” who they finally met following a performance at Columbia’s Township Auditorium. But it was the owner of Sugar Hill Records, Sylvia Robinson, who changed their lives that night. Stone, Cook, and Chisolm performed a few songs for Robinson, and she took them to New York to sign a recording deal.
As The Sequence, the trio thrived within a burgeoning hip hop community, touring with the Sugarhill Gang, and performing alongside the likes of Grandmaster Flash, Kool Moe Dee, and Kurtis Blow. And they also influenced the artists that followed, including En Vogue, Ice-T, De La Soul, and Dr. Dre, who later sampled their work. Now, forty years later, the group is being hailed as hip hop royalty – Rolling Stone featured them as “Hip-Hop’s First Ladies.”
This weekend, Columbia honors the trio at its annual Love, Peace, and Hip Hop Festival, which features a lineup of all women for the first time – and frankly, sets a new standard for gender equality in hip hop festivals in the region – including the legendary MC Lyte. The focus of the festival is women’s empowerment, and The Sequence will receive a special homecoming with an event hosted by the godfather of South Carolina hip hop and Love, Peace, and Hip Hop founder and organizer FatRat Da Czar and Columbia mayor and established hip hop devotee Steve Benjamin. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate the legacy of women in hip hop and emerging Southern artists.
WREN (Women’s Rights Empowerment Network) will host a free workshop for women entrepreneurs at Tapp’s Arts Center from 5-7pm – before The Sequence event.
The Sequence will be recognized by “Love, Peace & Hip-Hop Honors” at 7 PM on Friday, April 13 at Tapp’s Arts Center (1644 Main St., Columbia, SC). Tickets are $20.