or a Few Last Words on Hip Hop and Feminism
I myself have never been able to figure out pre-
cisely what feminism is. I only know that people
call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments
that differentiate me from a doormat.
—ZADIE SMITH, On Beauty
This book has now come full circle. Where we began with a discussion of hip hop and feminism, it seems only appropriate to conclude where we began, namely by revisiting these polemics surrounding feminism—where it intersects and faces off with hip hop and how young black women dicker with them both. While race may still be the conundrum of American culture—how we talk about it or not—feminism and hip hop are our culture's lightning rods for criticism, America's whipping girl and boy on issues from sexuality to declining family values. They may make strange bedfellows. But bedmates they are.
Hip hop is an obvious land mine of contradictions that we as women painstakingly negotiate and renegotiate. From every angle covered in this book, the sexism and sexual exploitation prevalent in hip hop culture continues to be a needling source of annoyance, frustration, and resentment. Eighteen-year-old college freshmen Sela1 related in our