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Unformatted text preview: 19 [ Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism 2008, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 19–52] © 2008 by Smith College. All rights reserved. whitney a. peoples “Under Construction” Identifying Foundations of Hip-Hop Feminism and Exploring Bridges between Black Second-Wave and Hip-Hop Feminisms 1 Abstract This essay seeks to explore the sociopolitical objectives of hip-hop feminism, to address the generational ruptures that those very objectives reveal, and to explore the practical and theoretical qualities that second- and third-wave generations of black feminists have in common. Ultimately, the goal of this essay is to clearly understand the sociopolitical platform of hip-hop feminists and how that platform both impacts and figures into the history and future of black American feminist thought. I have titled this essay “Under Construction” after the fourth album, of the same name, by rapper Missy Elliot. Elliot begins the album by explaining that “under construction” signifies that she is still “working” on herself. Additionally, it represents Elliot’s project of taking hip-hop back to “the rope” or to the beginning when it was about the music. As Elliot says in the introduction to her album, my album which is titled under construction, under construction simply states that I’m a work in progress I’m working on myself. . . . We all under construction trying to rebuild, you know, ourselves. Hip-hop 20 meridians 8:1 done gained respect from, you know, not even respect from but just like rock and roll and it took us a lot of hard work to get here so all that hatin’ and animosity between folks you need to kill it with a skillet. You don’t see Bill Gates and Donald Trump arguing with each other cuz both of them got paper and they got better shit to do, get more paper. So all I’m sayin is lets take hip-hop back to the rope, follow me. (Elliot 2002) I find Elliot’s words and the title to her album a fitting comparison to the work of a cadre of black American feminists that I read as an attempt at “(re)working” black American feminism and its response to the contempo- rary lives of black women and girls. Young black female writers such as Kristal Brent Zooks (1995) and Joan Morgan (1999) have argued that black American women are in dire need of a new feminist movement. 2 Zooks and Morgan, both of whom I consider “third-wave” 3 feminists, argue that second-wave black feminism has failed to address the current realities and needs of young black women. To this extent, shani jamila argues, “as women of the hip-hop generation we need a feminist consciousness that allows us to examine how representations and images can be simultaneously empowering and problematic” (jamila 2002, 392). To address this perceived deficiency, jamila, Morgan, Pough, and others have begun a dialogue between two unlikely partners: hip-hop and feminism....
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This note was uploaded on 12/11/2011 for the course WMST 1101 taught by Professor Miller during the Fall '08 term at UGA.
- Fall '08