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you a stone freak in yo own skin: Missy Elliott's and Lil' Kim's Constructions of Black Womanhood
Unformatted Document Text:  Black Womanhood 11 popular culture provides a unique opportunity for feminist rappers even as it limits them. Shelton (1997) takes a similar stance as she illustrates that African-American women’s representations in videos highlight limitations and progress of African-American women and can combat stereotypes. She observes that African-American female artists must struggle for control and expression in a patriarchal industry: "Because representation is bound by racial and gender stereotypes, female rappers must invert stigmas, redefine feminine subjectivity, and repossess the gaze in order to gain respect…. [M]usic videos provide texts that illustrate the difficulty in tracking African American women in the urban milieu" (emphasis added, Shelton, 1997, pp. 108-109). Although they are not about rap music or music video specifically, Bobo (1995) and McLean (1997) provide texts that address black women as audiences of popular culture. Bobo illustrates how African-American women resist the mainstream media's reading of "African-American" texts, specifically feature films, and create meanings relative to themselves. She writes, "[Black women] have opposed cultural as well as social domination and have contested detrimental images in a specific text, either as audience members or as cultural producers who created alternative and more viable images" (Bobo, 1995, p. 26). McLean makes similar observations in her study of "at- risk" African-American and Latino adolescents. She finds that a TLC song played into the concept of the power of sex for some African-American females, but Latinas found the song disturbing as it departed from their cultural norms. Furthermore, most females condemned a 2 Live Crew song for its misogyny; however, several Latinas did not find it offensive because it "did not directly address them." Such a finding illustrates the significance of cultural upbringing and difference when reading popular culture texts.

Authors: Brooks, TaKeshia.
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Black Womanhood 11
popular culture provides a unique opportunity for feminist rappers even as it limits them.
Shelton (1997) takes a similar stance as she illustrates that African-American women’s
representations in videos highlight limitations and progress of African-American women
and can combat stereotypes. She observes that African-American female artists must
struggle for control and expression in a patriarchal industry: "Because representation is
bound by racial and gender stereotypes, female rappers must invert stigmas, redefine
feminine subjectivity, and repossess the gaze in order to gain respect…. [M]usic videos
provide texts that illustrate the difficulty in tracking African American women in the
urban milieu" (emphasis added, Shelton, 1997, pp. 108-109).
Although they are not about rap music or music video specifically, Bobo (1995)
and McLean (1997) provide texts that address black women as audiences of popular
culture. Bobo illustrates how African-American women resist the mainstream media's
reading of "African-American" texts, specifically feature films, and create meanings
relative to themselves. She writes, "[Black women] have opposed cultural as well as
social domination and have contested detrimental images in a specific text, either as
audience members or as cultural producers who created alternative and more viable
images" (Bobo, 1995, p. 26). McLean makes similar observations in her study of "at-
risk" African-American and Latino adolescents. She finds that a TLC song played into
the concept of the power of sex for some African-American females, but Latinas found
the song disturbing as it departed from their cultural norms. Furthermore, most females
condemned a 2 Live Crew song for its misogyny; however, several Latinas did not find it
offensive because it "did not directly address them." Such a finding illustrates the
significance of cultural upbringing and difference when reading popular culture texts.


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