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They’ve been essential parts of decades-worth of rap videos yet rarely get the spotlight. That all changes with this book, where the women move to the foreground to be celebrated and showered with attention all their own. It’s time to flip it and make the male rappers the window-dressing!
What do you call the women in hip-hop videos? The often nameless ones who are featured dancing or posing, whose presence signals baller status for the usually male rapper they are there to support—are they hip-hop honeys, video vixens, video girls, models, dancers? Are they revered, over-sexualized, demeaned, or empowered? Are they stars or set pieces? Who are the women you see in videos? Photographer Brian Finke spent three years hanging out at backstage music-video shoots, getting to know these “hip-hop honeys,” as he calls them. Finke brings his style of robust portraitrature and documentary photography to the women who appear in countless videos for artists like Busta’ Rhymes, Kanye West, and many other B and C level video artists.
Brian Finke’s visual commentary on American and global culture focuses on authenticity and the absurdity of everyday life. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, Finke received a BFA in photography. He is the author of 2-4-6-8: American Cheerleaders and Football Players, Umbrage Editions 2003, Flight Attendants, powerHouse Books 2008, Construction, DECODE Books 2012 and U.S. Marshals, powerHouse Books 2014. His first monograph was named one of the best photography books of 2004 by American Photo magazine. Also in 2004, Finke was one of twelve artists nominated for the International Center for Photography’s annual Infinity Award, and he won a prestigious New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. A self described stylized documentarian, his work has been placed in nine museum collections in the US and abroad, and he loves to shoot for editorial clients like National Geographic and the New York Times to commercial clients like Delta Airlines and Southern Comfort. A native Texan, Brian loves barbecue and is never without a Nikon and a trademark pair of checkered Vans.
Abigail Covington is a freelance music journalist based out of Chicago, IL. Her byline frequently appears in Pitchfork and Oxford American where her most recent piece entitled, “When the Fire Broke Out” was recognized as a “notable” essay by Jonathan Franzen in Best American Essays 2016. She’s always listening to Prince.