On March 7 and 8, Essence presented Queens Rule, a show exploring the objectification of black woman by today's hip hop artists. In 20 vignettes divided by positive and negative hip hop lyrics, performers danced out their response to the objectification within the music.
“The original idea behind hip hop has changed,” said artist-in-residence Adenike Sharpley, artistic director of Essence. “It’s purpose was for young people to get away from fighting and gangs and be productive with what was available to them because there was a lack of inspiration and role models to look up to. … [But] today's artists focus on money and women. This leads me to believe that record companies are promoting a certain kind of hip hop artist; they are promoting those that feed the black stereotype and disrespect for women rather than community empowerment.”