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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 3 1. what’s wrong with being freaky on stage you a stone freak in yo own skin. 2. at least we up front about this freakdom. At least we let it all hang out. -"HAIKU [question from a young sister]," Sonia Sanchez Introduction Throughout our history, African-American women have endured the stigma of being marked as both black and female. As the poem by Sonia Sanchez (1998) points out, "you a stone freak in yo own skin" (p. 55). For the past several decades, the "stage" in which this freakdom has been acted out is the mass media, where black women’s bodies are daily put on display and dissected for public consumption. However, African-American women, like all women and men of color, have had to deal with and fight stereotypical images and representations that continue to persist throughout the mass media. In this arena, black female music artists are important figures in this struggle, especially since this is a site where black women have been highly visible in both dominant and black popular culture. With this in mind, I ask the following questions: How do Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott and Kimberly “Lil' Kim” Jones present their bodies/selves in the public realm as constructions of black womanhood? Do either of them break or transform existing stereotypes of black women? Do they create new options for black representation? And if so, how? With the emergence of music video in the 1980s, image has become of utmost importance to all music artists. However, this new genre is not immune from past

Authors: Brooks, TaKeshia.
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Black Womanhood 3
1.
what’s wrong with being
freaky on stage you a stone
freak in yo own skin.

2.
at least we up front
about this freakdom. At least
we let it all hang out.
-"HAIKU [question from a young sister]," Sonia Sanchez

Introduction
Throughout our history, African-American women have endured the stigma of
being marked as both black and female. As the poem by Sonia Sanchez (1998) points
out, "you a stone freak in yo own skin" (p. 55). For the past several decades, the "stage"
in which this freakdom has been acted out is the mass media, where black women’s
bodies are daily put on display and dissected for public consumption.
However, African-American women, like all women and men of color, have had to
deal with and fight stereotypical images and representations that continue to persist
throughout the mass media. In this arena, black female music artists are important
figures in this struggle, especially since this is a site where black women have been
highly visible in both dominant and black popular culture. With this in mind, I ask the
following questions: How do Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott and Kimberly “Lil' Kim”
Jones present their bodies/selves in the public realm as constructions of black
womanhood? Do either of them break or transform existing stereotypes of black women?
Do they create new options for black representation? And if so, how?
With the emergence of music video in the 1980s, image has become of utmost
importance to all music artists. However, this new genre is not immune from past


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