Piper Carter is the founder of the Foundation of Women in Hip Hop. The organization’s mission is “…to educate and empower the community through sharing love of the arts, inspiring growth, building leadership, and influencing the perceptions and roles of women in hip hop for current and future generations.” It is an initiative that will give artists, activists and academics the opportunity to have an intimate and interactive experience with technology, art, music, social justice and community.
Piper is making history in Detroit by launching the first Women in Hip Hop Conference, June 16 – 19, during the same weekend as the Allied Media Conference. The conference is designed to be a contemporary experience empowering women with the elements of hip hop. There will be three days of events that will include a cipher, b-girl dance battle, film screening, workshops, and panel discussions. The conference will also feature a concert hosted by Jessica Care Moore, showcasing the next generation of women in hip hop.
Rolling out caught up with Piper, the conference’s founder, to discuss what it means to be a Female Success Factor. Check out the interview to see what she had to say. To find out more information about the conference, please visit http://bit.ly/rapsodyconcert.
Beyond the scope of your work, what causes do you support and/or participate in?
My business is a social enterprise (a combination of a non-profit and a for-profit). I wanted to be able to serve humanity and my community and earn a living just doing that. So, all of the events and efforts serve beyond just what I’m doing personally because I involve so many other organizations with a youth event I do called Dilla Youth Day. I call myself a “Professional Volunteer”. Outside of the events that I personally organize I support a lot of the efforts in my community, such as Freedom Growers, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, East Michigan Environmental Action Council, Public Allies, and Camp Fabulous.
Tell us about how education has played a role in your success.
I went to Howard University, Fashion Institute of Technology, School of Visual Arts, College for Creative Studies, & Oakland Community College. I studied Photography, Digital Video Production, Web Design, Theater Directing, and Choreography. I learned industry standard software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Final Cut Pro, which increased my professional value. I participated in various internships with professional photographers to learn more about professional practices and networking. I have been and am mentored by entertainment professionals who employ me behind the scenes. I utilized all of my education and experiences to gain access to be a trusted expert on some phenomenal gigs. I’m very much a fan of studying my craft, staying up with technology, networking, being humble to know what I don’t know and need to learn, and continuing to invest in workshops and training’s and more learning.
What is the “art of communication” to you? How has your communication style factored into your success?
I’m all about authenticity and Integrity. I am a fan of just being my best self and being honest. There’s a difference between being honest and being crass or mean. I find that I must also be humble always, especially when dealing with certain personality types. I humble myself for everyone. I believe we were all created by Our Beloved Creator and we all deserve Respect. I practice following up and following through. I also practice asking lots of clarifying questions. I do lots of research so that I strive to be aware of who I’m dealing with. And above everything in person, I practice active listening where I’m giving the person my full attention, not talking, not interrupting with comments nor questions, not waiting for them to finish so I can speak, just letting them speak their full piece and then when they are finished thanking them for sharing.
Describe how making hard choices has factored into your success.
Every day is full of hard choices. When you have a service oriented business or people oriented business, hard choices are the order of the day. Growing up my family was very involved in my life and upbringing. There were lots of rules. I appreciate though that my family explained the rules and why there were rules, and what the purpose of certain rules were, and that constant nurturing supported my decision making as a teenager and then later as a young adult and now as a mature adult.
How has affecting change and taking calculated risks contributed to your success?
That’s funny, I just take risks, I don’t calculate them, that’s where my skills, gut instinct, relationship building, listening, paying attention, asking questions, and double checking kicks in. Pretty much everything I do is a risk. I serve “at risk” communities. I will say that you never know what blessings are in store so always prepare for the Best and God will take care of the rest. Just make sure you back God up on backing you up by doing your home work, ground work and any other work and have back ups to each plan.
What is your favorite affirmation and how has it been a factor in your life?
I have so many affirmations, because living this life as a self-determined indigenous black woman I need as many [affirmations] as possible. I pray a lot (at least five times per day) and my prayers are life affirming. Here’s a pretty good [affirmation]: “I am powerful because I speak my mind. I am powerful because I am a leader, not a follower. I am powerful beyond measure. I am powerful because i am changing the world. I am powerful because I am me.”