Unformatted text preview: YOU HEARD MY GUN
Female Agency & Aggression in Contemporary Rap Music
Donna Troka Role of Black Women in Hip Hop
What has been the role of Black women in hip hop culture? How have BW been portrayed or viewed by hip hop culture? Role of Black Women continued
Role According to Nelson Grange (1999), author of Hip Hop America, Black women have had little impact on hip hop
On the other hand, Tricia Rose’s analysis of hip hop culture examines the roles of both female and male rappers in her 1994 book, Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America Role of Black Women cont.
Role Rose states that Black women are in “dialogue” with several different ideologies and communities:
• Black male rappers
Dominant notions of femininity
Black female sexuality Rose identifies the ways BW rappers work within and against the dominant sexual and racial narratives in American culture Role of Black Women
Role Three main themes identified by Rose in music of female rappers
• Heterosexual courtship
Importance of female voice
Black women’s public display of physical and sexual freedom Other additional themes in work of female rappers since 1994:
• Economic independence
Importance of community
Resistance to all types of abuse and violence Themes in Rap Music
Themes Rose states that 2 themes of importance to women in rap music: • Changing the parameters of heterosexual courtship so that women have equal relationships with men while maintaining their autonomy In their music female rappers express intolerance for abuse and intent to resist it • Need for female voice Black Racialism
Black Rose says rap industry affected by racism and sexism as well as classism which makes it an oppressive place for BW
Many people see hip hop as a Black (maybe Latino) male cultural form where women are merely interlopers
According to Kimberle Crenshaw, rap presents monolithic view of Black experience ignoring many of its nuances and silencing some including BW as well as erasing their experiences
Everything interpreted through a malecentered narrative Eve’s Song: Challenging Male
Cultural Author seeks to disprove assumption that BW are merely interlopers using Eve’s song, Love is Blind, to show how women are making great contributions to rap’s artistic growth and to demonstrate how Eve is changing cultural norms by representing the experiences of being Black and female Oppression
Oppression Young discusses oppression’s 5 faces or categories and author addresses the last three faces of oppression as expressed in Eve’s song:
Violence Oppression in Eve’s Song
Oppression Powerlessness • Eve challenges issues of power in heterosexual relationships by challenging man who killed her girlfriend.
• Eve tells story of how BW are often controlled, manipulated and threatened –examples of being oppressed by powerlessness in relationships with BM Oppression in Eve’s Song cont.
Oppression Cultural Imperialism • In her song Eve addresses how the dominant meanings of a society make the particular perspective of one’s own group invisible and stereotype the group marking it as the “other”
• When the hunter tells the story, the lion never wins. (Afrikan proverb)
• BW experience multilayered cultural imperialism: As women and as AA
• AA experience cultural imperialism as a part of White supremacy Cultural Imperialism continued
Video exposes domestic violence within the Black community which is revolutionary in that it is ‘airing dirty laundry’ and Eve could be seen as a ‘race traitor.’ In rap music, women often experience cultural imperialism. • Their experiences made invisible and they are marked as the “other.” Oppression in Eve’s song cont.
Oppression Violence • Eve challenges violence as another form of oppression
• In song she challenges not only the acts of violence but social context surrounding them
• She shows how domestic violence functions as a social practice and is often seen as “private matter” that occurs in the home and should not concern those outside home Violence continued
Violence Video shows abusive boyfriend dragging his girlfriend into bedroom to continue beating her and the men that are present continue to watch TV disinterested or desensitized to what is happening; show lack of empathy for plight of this woman
Violence doesn’t stop until little girl lets Eve in house and she pulls the boyfriend off her friend Violence cont.
Violence Video addresses the systematic/institutional violence of racism and sexism that ignore, erase, and invalidate the experiences of women of color who are in abusive relationships—rarely do they get attention or concern
By telling her story Eve resists those institutional and systematic violences that attempt to erase her and her experiences Violence cont.
The last type of violence Eve addresses is the violence of the boyfriend battering and ultimately killing his girlfriend and violence at the hands of Eve as revenge for the murder of her friend. Challenges notion of women as victims and women as being helpless and powerless Analysis
Analysis Eve’s video brings to the forefront the issues and experiences of BW and how they stem from the simultaneity of race and gender
By doing this in the context of rap music, Eve is changing the malecentered “master narrative” of rap music and hip hop culture propagated by folks like Nelson George
Eve brings out into the open the issue of domestic violence and how real and serious it is and not a “private matter” Analysis continued
Analysis Eve demonstrates Black sisterhood, a loyalty and camaraderie rarely seen in popular culture • Rather than portraying BW as competitors she presents a demonstration of “womenlove”
• Rather than shooting a man because he did her wrong or to maintain a relationship with him, she does it for her “girlfriend” or “sister”
• She tells the story of a woman fighting back against a man on behalf of her murdered girlfriend Analysis cont.
Analysis Rather than succumbing to racism and sexism that often contributes to depression and other forms of mental disorder in BW, Eve provides us with an example of resistance, challenging the faces of oppression that are often the basis of depression in BW ...
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