Covering Performers, Discovering Femininities: US Hip-Hop Journalism and Female Artists


  • Barbara Panuzzo London South Bank University IASPM UK & Ireland Branch



hip-hop, music press, performative identity, gender, race


This 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.

Author Biography

Barbara Panuzzo, London South Bank University IASPM UK & Ireland Branch

I have recently completed a PhD (currently awaiting conferment of award) on female performativity in hip-hop journalism. My principal research interests lie in the field of hip hop culture, media, gender and race studies.


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