Gender in Black Media --- Hip Hop Culture

Essay by qsisqsisUniversity, Bachelor's January 2004

download word file, 4 pages 3.2

There have been at least three major artistic movements during the 20th Century in the African American community. They are the Harlem Renaissance (1920s), the Black Arts Movement (1960-1970s), and the Rap/Hip Hop culture (1980s-Present). Two of them barely touched the minds and wallets of white middle-class America, but it is no big secret that Rap/Hip Hop has come to dominate not only the airwaves but several major industries: fashion, alcohol, jewelry, and automobile. Black Americans have been oppressed since slavery, especially by white people. It is a medium for racial empowerment which allows them to express their discontents on being the oppressed group. Hip-hop culture offers a means of escape that could free its participants from the frictions they faced in daily lives, such as racial subordination, hate crimes, and low employment rate. In recent years, however, rap music has been criticized as brutally honest, misogynistic, homophobic, and violent.

According to bell hooks ("Who Takes the Rap? Misogyny, Gangster Rap, and The Piano" African American Review), the sexist, misogynist, patriarchal ways of thinking and behaving that are glorified in gangsta rap are "a reflection of the prevailing values in our society, values created and sustained by white supremacist capitalist patriarchy." As the crudest and most brutal expression of sexism, "misogynistic attitudes tend to be portrayed by the dominant culture as an expression of male deviance." In reality they are part of a "sexist continuum, necessary for the maintenance of patriarchal social order."

Black women are portrayed as sexually permissive, as available and eager for the sexual assaults of any man, black or white. Most Americans, including black people, acknowledge and accept this hierarchy, they have internalized it either consciously or unconsciously. (hook, bell. "Continued Devaluation of Black Womanhood" in Feminism and Sexuality: A Reader.). In the context for hip...