January 19, 2010

Communications major’s documentary studies female hip-hop in Japan

by Jeff Cronin for SCT News

Coma-Chi poses with director Maya Shipman, COMM, a senior.

Senior Maya Shipman, COMM, will soon screen her film 33 Queen, an introspective look into the hip-hop subculture in Tokyo, Japan. It will be featured as part of the Black Lily Film Series today Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. at the International House in Philadelphia.
Shipman explores the parallels between female artistry in the history of American hip-hop and the very recent rise of the presence of women in the Japanese hip-hop scene. It highlights the career of Coma-Chi, the first underground woman in Japanese hip-hop to achieve major success.

33 Queen was filmed while Shipman studied at Temple Japan.

“In my second week in Japan, I visited [an underground label’s] record shop in Shibuya. They invited me to a release party for a compilation that I found out had some good musicians on it. That is where I met Coma-Chi, one of the only other women at the party,” Shipman says.

She soon learned Coma-Chi’s story was similar to many other women in hip-hop in Tokyo and around the world. They have remained friends and have visited one another in Tokyo and Los Angeles since filming the documentary.

“This experience has definitely interested me in continuing research on women’s participation in social subcultures around the world,” Shipman says.

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