(? - living) U.S.A.
Born in the Bronx and raised in Yonkers, Hanifah is a social performance rapper artist andactivist now living in Oakland California.
Hanifah , first introduced as Sha-Key with the 1994 Hip Hop LP release A Headnadda's Journey to Adidi-Skizm, has since, along with reclaiming her birth name (Hanifah Walidah), developed a vocal and performance style that is rooted in the midnight of blues, the backrooms of house, the silent moments of soul and the unshaken will of hip hop.
In the early 90's she laid the foundation for the hip hop poetic revolution in New York with collectives Vibe Khameleons and The Boom Poetic. She continued to perform with the Boom Poetic which was an early platform for groups like the Roots and Rahzel the Godfather of Noyze. She and the Boom Poetic were also featured on the Lollapolooza tour of 1994.
In 1995, Hanifah toured Europe on the 19 city Vibe Khameleon Trans Euro Tour. Along with music Hanifah's theatrical background is just as rich. A long standing member of the WOW Theater collective in NYC she was producer and host of Rivers of Honey, an improv and open theater night for women of color.
She was also co-writer and actor of the stage play Bloom (Ain't I a flower), which had runs at both WOW and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in 1999. The debut of Hanifah's one-woman stage play Straight Black Folks Guide to Gay Black Folks at the Black Box Theater was received with tireless standing ovations and amazing reviews.
Hanifah said that, coming out as a lesbian, has given her new strength:
"I look at old videotapes of me performing when I was in the closet, and I could see through my body language that my body was tight, that I was holding something in, I wasn't giving all that I had to give. Sometimes I look at these M.C.'s who I know are gay and they're off the hook and I'm like, damn, wonder what they'll be like when they come out? How dope will they be when they're truly free?"
Quote source: Touré, Gay Rappers: Too Real for Hip-Hop, New York Times, April 20, 2003