Rap: Hip hop models
Hip hop models are also known as hip hop honeys, dimes (or dymes or dime pieces), video vixens, video hoes, and eye candy. All of these phrases and terms have the same meaning. There are primarily two classifications of Hip hop models. There are models who strictly do print media (magazines, calendars, etc.), while others do print media as well as hip hop videos.
For hip hop models, landing a part in a music video is an important step in furthering their careers. They will often start from the bottom, and work their way up the ladder. After making their way into the scene of Hip hop music videos, a model will often attempt to land a big role in a video of a major rapper. Doing so will allow them to gain more exposure.
Depending on one's success, a model may even go beyond just music videos. A prime example would be Gloria Velez. After doing a number of hip hop videos, she is no longer a Hip hop model. In an XXL interview, she spoke of her success, saying "I went to the highest level a video girl can go. So now I'm not doing any videos unless I'm rapping in it". Another example is Melyssa Ford, who is now is the host or co-host of several Black Entertainment Television shows.
The hip hop modeling industry has become more popular over the years. Today, there are numerous websites and magazines dedicated in part or totally to this industry. Magazines such as XXL have created entire sections for models, while websites such as CutieCentral.com have dedicated entire websites to them.
Aspiring hip hop models have abundant areas for work, because this industry has also reached calendars, DVDs, VHS, etc. Game Video Inc. has created all these products and features them on their HiphopHoneys.com website. All of these business ventures are a way to make money from these models. Noticing how lucrative the market has become, rappers such as 50 Cent have created DVDs for this purpose. In 2004, 50 Cent "signed an exclusive deal to create an interactive sex DVD bearing his name". Playboy has also joined the industry with its "first music oriented hip hop themed show" entitled Buckwild.
As with all aspects of hip hop, hip hop models and the entire hip hop modeling industry have come under attack. There is a long list of incidents of criticism pertaining to controversies created by hip hop models and/or rappers. For instance, in 2004, Nelly caused protests and words of anger because of his music video for "Tip Drill".
A year later, in 2005, a former Hip hop model released a book entitled Confessions of a Video Vixen. In it, author Karrine Steffans lashes out at the world of hip hop modelling, complaining that something is seriously wrong with it. The book's publisher describes the book as "part tell all, part cautionary tale". Another hip hop model, Candace Smith, said in an XXL interview, "what I've seen on [music video] sets is complete degradation".
Criticism has also reached the very networks that allow these videos to be broadcast. For example, BET has a late-night program called Uncut. Uncut often features explicit music videos that ordinarily would not have been shown during the day, many of them containing partial nudity. "Before, artists were mostly making sexually oriented material for the underground market - providing them to strip clubs, or selling them as part of videos or DVDs. Now, they're bringing them directly to television, through places like BET Uncut and the Playboy network. And more outlets are growing for those who want to see more - or less - than a bikini".
Today's popular hip-hop artists join suggestive lyrics with racy visuals, usually carved up slices of women's posteriors, blatant, ample and jiggling to the delight of fully-clothed MC's and their posse.
Nothing in these lyrics or images convey respect, appreciation, honor and love for women. These artists and image-makers, mostly male, seem to despise and exploit, rather than to appreciate and honor women's sexuality. At best, these songs praise strategic body parts, not whole women. At worst, they are barefaced assaults.
Successful hip hop models
For those who have been fortunate enough to make a name for themselves as hip hop models, the following a number of them. Some of these girls have only done limited work as hip hop models.
La'Shontae aka Tae
Buffie The Body
Ki Toy Johnson
Summer Walker ("Badd", Ying Yang Twins)
Erica Mena ("Breathe", Fabolous)
Veronica Rodriguez ("Gold Digger", Kanye West)