Covering Performers, Discovering Femininities: US Hip-Hop Journalism and Female Artists
Keywords:hip-hop, music press, performative identity, gender, race
AbstractThis paper examines female performative identities as portrayed in the hip-hop press. The research approach is based on discourse analysis of selected texts in US hip-hop magazines, as well as of qualitative interviews with their main editors. On this basis, the paper investigates the editorial practices that appear to inform hip-hop female performative identities in relation to the commercial strategies of artists and record companies. Female artists occupy scarce and hyper-sexualised space within the hip-hop press. This suggests the existence of underlying editorial and marketing agendas which perpetuate mythologised discourses of gender and race. The evidence shows that hip-hop editorial strategies are co-opted by interdependent commercial interests of the press and music industry. Significantly, female performers appear to be complicit in their journalistic positioning through the mediation of femininities which jeopardise their artistic authenticity.
Baron, Zach and Juzwiak, Rich. 2010. Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday, Debated, in The Village Voice, 24 November 2010, http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-11-24/music/nicki-minaj-s-pink-friday-debated/ Accessed: 4 September 2011.
Butler, Judith –
Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. London and New York: Routledge.
Bodies That Matter. On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”. New York: Routledge.
Cepeda, Raquel, Ed. 2004. And It Don’t Stop! The Best American Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years. New York: Faber and Faber.
Chang, Jeff. 2002. Word Power: A Brief, Highly Opinionated History of Hip-Hop Journalism. In Steve Jones Ed. Pop Music and the Press. Philadelphia: Temple University Press: 65–71.
Elafros, Athena. 2007. Are Female Rappers ‘Authentic’? In Mickey Hess Ed. Icons of Hip-Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture. Westport: Greenwood Press: 193–216.
Eldridge, Amber. 2009. Sex Sells: A Content Analysis of Women in Magazine Advertisements, Senior Seminar, 485, Dan Cronn-Mills, 03 May 2009, http://mavdisk.mnsu.edu/eldria/7A.htm Accessed: 31 March 2012.
Fenster, Mark. 2002. Consumers’ Guides: The Political Economy of the Music Press and the Democracy of Critical Discourse. In Steve Jones Ed. Pop Music and the Press. Philadelphia: Temple University Press: 81–92.
Forman, Murray. 1995. Media Form and Cultural Space: Negotiating Rap “Fanzines”. Journal of Popular Culture 29 (2): 171–188.
George, Nelson. 1998. Hip-Hop America. New York: Penguin Books.
Gill, Rosalind. 2008. Empowerment/Sexism: Figuring Female Sexual Agency in Contemporary Advertising. Feminism & Psychology 18 (1): 35–60.
Greer, Germaine. 1999. The Whole Woman. London: Doubleday.
Harris, Chris. 2008. Ciara Was Nude in Photo Shoot, VIBE Editor Insists, http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1594794/ciara-was-nude-photo-shoot-vibe-editor.jhtml Accessed: 23 October 2011.
La Ferla, Ruth. 2003. Generation E.A.: Ethnically Ambiguous, New York Times, Fashion & Style section, 28 December.
Laing, Dave. 2006. Anglo-American Music Journalism. In Andy Bennett, Barry Shank and Jason Toynbee, Jason Eds. The Popular Music Studies Reader. New York: Routledge: 333–339.
McLeod, Kembrew. 2002. The Politics and History of Hip-Hop Journalism. In Steve Jones Ed. Pop Music and the Press. Philadelphia: Temple University Press: 156–167.
McRobbie, Angela. 1999. In the Culture Society. London: Routledge.
Mercer, Kobena. 1994. Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies. New York: Routledge.
Morgan, Joan. 1999. When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: My Life as a Hip-hop Feminist. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Mulvey, Laura –
Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. Screen 16 (3): 16–18.
Visual and Other Pleasures. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Nunes, Pedro. 2010. Good Samaritans and Oblivious Cheerleaders: Ideologies of Portuguese Music Journalists Towards Portuguese Music. Popular Music 29 (1): 41-59.
O’Connor, Siobhan. 2010. Character Study. VIBE July 2010: 72–77, 106.
Osorio, Kim. 2008. Straight From The Source: An Exposé From the Former Editor In Chief of the Hip-hop Bible. New York: Simon and Schuster.
P. Diddy. 1999. Touched by an Angel, in Notorious October 1999. http://beyond-beautiful.com/topic/421/Notorious-Magazine-October-1999 Accessed: 7 September 2011.
Pough, Gwendolyn. 2004. Check It While I Wreck It: Black Womanhood, Hip-Hop Culture and the Public Sphere. New York: Northeastern University Press.
Rose, Tricia –
Black Noise: Black Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America. Hanover: Wesleyan University Press.
The Hip-Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip-Hop – and Why it Matters. New York: Basic Books.
Sharpley-Whiting, Tracy Denean. 2007. Pimps Up, Ho’s Down: Hip-Hop’s Hold on Young Black Women. New York: New York University Press.
Shuker, Roy –
Understanding Popular Music. New York: Routledge.
Popular Music: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge.
Smith, Danyelle. 2008. Stand Up! Ciara. “I’m Not Gonna Hold Back Too Much”. VIBE September/October 2008.
Sonzala, Matt And Miami Mac. 2002. Trina Interview, Murder Dog, Volume 9, Number 3, http://www.murderdog.com/archives/2002/trina.html Accessed: 12 February 2010.
Thornham, Susan. 2007. Women, Feminism and Media. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Wang, Oliver. 2006. Trapped in Between the Lines: The Aesthetics of Hip-Hop Journalism. In Jeff Chang Ed. Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop. New York: Basic Civitas: 165–174.
Authors retain copyright, while licensing their work under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.