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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 27 Badu has directed her own videos since the beginning of her career and Lauryn Hill has directed videos for other artists. Do their works present alternative constructions of black womanhood? Lastly, the potential effects of these images should be considered. What types of messages do the audience receive from these images? It is necessary to examine audience reactions, particularly those of young African-American females who have been ignored far too long, in such settings as focus groups. One may consider the study conducted by Durham (1999) as a possible guide. This field study observed adolescent girls’ use of various media. This type of study could be made to examine music video by itself or along with other forms of media such as magazines. Conclusion Warner (1993) contends, "Public figures increasingly take on the function of concretizing that phantasmatic body image, or in other words of actualizing the otherwise indeterminate image of the people" (p. 244). This statement suggests that whether or not they like it, public figures become the embodiment of a larger public. Others look to them to represent others most like themselves in certain respects. This becomes especially burdensome for African-American women who have constantly been relegated to a few derogatory roles. With this recognition comes the struggle to not just be seen but to be seen in our full complexity. Our embodiment cannot only be bodily; it must also come intellectually. Although we must recognize that music artists are first and foremost entertainers, we must also accept that their images serve as cultural teachers to their audiences. Jhally and Lewis (1992) illustrate in their work Enlightened Racism that just because we know

Authors: Brooks, TaKeshia.
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Black Womanhood 27
Badu has directed her own videos since the beginning of her career and Lauryn Hill has
directed videos for other artists. Do their works present alternative constructions of black
womanhood? Lastly, the potential effects of these images should be considered. What
types of messages do the audience receive from these images? It is necessary to examine
audience reactions, particularly those of young African-American females who have been
ignored far too long, in such settings as focus groups. One may consider the study
conducted by Durham (1999) as a possible guide. This field study observed adolescent
girls’ use of various media. This type of study could be made to examine music video by
itself or along with other forms of media such as magazines.
Conclusion
Warner (1993) contends, "Public figures increasingly take on the function of
concretizing that phantasmatic body image, or in other words of actualizing the otherwise
indeterminate image of the people" (p. 244). This statement suggests that whether or not
they like it, public figures become the embodiment of a larger public. Others look to
them to represent others most like themselves in certain respects. This becomes
especially burdensome for African-American women who have constantly been relegated
to a few derogatory roles. With this recognition comes the struggle to not just be seen but
to be seen in our full complexity. Our embodiment cannot only be bodily; it must also
come intellectually.
Although we must recognize that music artists are first and foremost entertainers,
we must also accept that their images serve as cultural teachers to their audiences. Jhally
and Lewis (1992) illustrate in their work Enlightened Racism that just because we know


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