Hip Hop and Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason

By Derrick Darby; Tommie Shelby | Go to book overview

8
Queen Bees and Big
Pimps: Sex and Sexuality
in Hip Hop

KATHRYN T. G1NES


Bamboozled: Images from the Idiot Box

Sex and the reduction of women to objects of lust and violence is among the staple themes in feminist thought, particularly Black feminist thought which has exposed the persistent myth of the Black “Jezebel” and the unceasing portrayal of Black women as bitches (or angry, emasculating matriarchs), hos, and tricks. Sometimes overt and other times veiled, these images appear in the evening news, television sitcoms, and films. Perhaps they are most explicit in the lyrical and visual content of hip-hop music and videos. So it's no surprise that many male hip-hop stars have been criticized for their negative portrayal of women in their songs and videos or that hip-hop music is often described as sexist, misogynist, masculinist, and reflecting a general disdain for women.1

Tupac and Nelly, for example, have been criticized for negative depictions of women in their lyrics and videos. But criticisms of them and other male rappers are often unbalanced insofar as they focus on negative portrayals of women while uncritically embracing the perpetuation of stereotypical perceptions of Black masculinity. Furthermore, inadequate attention is

1 I see rap as a sub category of hip-hop music and hip-hop music as a sub
category of hip-hop culture. And 1 recognize that much of my analysis in this
track doesn't apply to all of hip-hop culture, in which music is only a part, or
even all of hip-hop music, some of which attempts to portray Black male and
female sexuality in a positive light.

-92-

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