Special thanks to guest blogger Kitty Wu for this profile!
Sista Hailstorm fascinates me. She is simultaneously that rare emcee that commands me to stop and really listen, a shaka and malika in the Universal Zulu Nation Seattle and Los Angeles chapters, a warrior that recently smashed a marine at her last ring-style fight, a chemical dependency counselor for youth in the Central District, and a world traveler. She has a strength about her that is first and foremost in her stance, and that duality and softness that brings you closer so you can feel her energy. During our conversation last week she reminds me that she is also the original graffiti artist “LostOne” from Los Angeles, and when I mention the word lesbian, she gently corrects me…she is “an indigenous two-spirited woman bringing the balance of both male and female sunrays.” Indeed.
Alias: Sista Hailstorm
Representing: 206 Zulu / B-Girl Media / Native Youth Movement / Rebel Alliance
Hailing from: NorthEast Los Angeles
Groups: Murder She Wrote, Projekt Medicine Wheels
kw: In the beginning…
SH: I left home at 14 spent most of my time gang bangin, sellin dope, beefin and trying to survive and make it out alive. It was true for me I was either gonna end up in prison or die a victim of the streets in this f*cked up society, the only thing I had was Graffitti, Hip Hop and my culture my people who were struggling just like me. I wasn’t alone but at the same time I was lost in the concrete jungles and my street art and street smarts bombing, taggin, freestylin n flowing is what gave me a voice and made me feel like someone was out there hearing and seeing my message. Like a lot of Graff writers it’s not just bout the fame but marking your turf and showing yourself you could do it better then the rest “Like that’s right I caught that heaven over that freeway” and most cats thinking I was a dude until they met me and was like what you’re “LostOne” you’re a chic I see you up everywhere I thought you were a dude.” I’m like nah homie I’m a chic and I’m putting in work even more then some of these dudes haha. People respected that I was Woman and holdin it down just as hard as a brother would and I had MAD STEEZ.
kw: This is our 5th Zulu Jam Folklife Edition and although you have performed with other performers this is the first time that you are being featured as a solo artist on stage at Folklife…what are you bringing to festival this year?
SH: This year like every other year I ain’t holdin back. I speak the truth and I walk what I talk. Hip Hop and graffiti saved my life and all I’m doing is opening up the doors for our youth who haven’t experienced real Hip Hop, helping them understand they are a powerful voice in the community and can express themselves through all the elements of HIPHOP the root of our young people today and of course our founding men and women of the HIP HOP CULTURE ONE UP IN RESISTANCE AND SOLIDARITY TIAHUI. You see, you have a lot of wack rappers in the game getting fame and highlighting their names but don’t even know the History/Herstory of how it all began and what it took back then and now to make it a infinite universal culture. Wherever you go in the world Hip Hop is there and alive.
You can see Sista Hailstorm at the 206 Zulu show at the Vera Project on Sunday, May 27th 3-6pm w/ Central Intelligence, The League of Extraordinary Emcees, NW B-Girls. Hosted by King Khazm & DJ Shonuph.
Be on the lookout for a (currently untitled) feature album with the lead single Angels in the Skies & an upcoming mixtape from B-Girl Media & Project Blowed in 2012.
About Kitty Wu
As a teen growing up on the Eastside, Kitty Wu started attending shows in Seattle in 1987–and hasn’t been able to quit the habit. A pillar of Seattle’s electronica and hip-hop media scenes since the mid ’90s, Kitty now handles all things administrative for the Hip Hop TV show Coolout Network -celebrating its 21st anniversary in 2012- and serves on the Board of Directors of the award-winning local chapter of the Universal Zulu Nation and Seattle’s much loved all-ages music organization The Vera Project.