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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 5 artists, they are somewhat obligated to make their bodies available for public consumption. How, then, do their public displays of physical and sexual freedom challenge male notions of black female sexuality and pleasure, or do are their (re)presentations of themselves re-inscribing traditional stereotypes/controlling images? At this point we shall ask what is so important about black female music artists and these two artists in particular. Female music artists often fall into Wicke’s "celebrity feminism." Wicke (1998) asserts, "Celebrity discourse is a powerful political site, a current state of being, a predominantly social process… The celebrity zone is the public sphere where feminism is negotiated, where it is now in most active cultural play" (p. 390). Female celebrities become the subjects of feminist discourse and in some cases become self-proclaimed feminists inviting themselves into feminist debate. Rose (1994) and Beatty (????) have argued that female rappers are sometimes reluctantly labeled “feminist” while others embrace this title willingly. Rose explains: In “safe” environments, such as black conferences and black media outlets, women rappers and other women who are involved with hip hop expressed a great deal of frustration over the way they were being treated by the press and the way they are being represented in some rap lyrics. Yet, they are also aware that sexism against black women is being used to attack black men, rather than reconstruct power relationships between black men and women; consequently, they remain wary of “feminism” and seem anxious to separate criticisms of black male sexism from white feminist complaints (178) Despite this wariness, rappers such as Missy and Kim have either proclaimed themselves as “feminist” or aligned themselves with feminist/womanist causes. Furthermore, they are also subjects of much feminist/womanist discourse. Wicke's celebrity zone is an important aspect of feminist discourse. However, she makes a bold assertion about black women's place in this zone: "Whoopi Goldberg, hosting the Academy Awards, is in the celebrity feminism zone, as is Lani Guinier,

Authors: Brooks, TaKeshia.
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Black Womanhood 5
artists, they are somewhat obligated to make their bodies available for public
consumption. How, then, do their public displays of physical and sexual freedom
challenge male notions of black female sexuality and pleasure, or do are their
(re)presentations of themselves re-inscribing traditional stereotypes/controlling images?
At this point we shall ask what is so important about black female music artists
and these two artists in particular. Female music artists often fall into Wicke’s "celebrity
feminism." Wicke (1998) asserts, "Celebrity discourse is a powerful political site, a
current state of being, a predominantly social process… The celebrity zone is the public
sphere where feminism is negotiated, where it is now in most active cultural play" (p.
390). Female celebrities become the subjects of feminist discourse and in some cases
become self-proclaimed feminists inviting themselves into feminist debate. Rose (1994)
and Beatty (????) have argued that female rappers are sometimes reluctantly labeled
“feminist” while others embrace this title willingly. Rose explains:
In “safe” environments, such as black conferences and black media
outlets, women rappers and other women who are involved with hip hop
expressed a great deal of frustration over the way they were being treated
by the press and the way they are being represented in some rap lyrics.
Yet, they are also aware that sexism against black women is being used to
attack black men, rather than reconstruct power relationships between
black men and women; consequently, they remain wary of “feminism”
and seem anxious to separate criticisms of black male sexism from white
feminist complaints (178)
Despite this wariness, rappers such as Missy and Kim have either proclaimed themselves
as “feminist” or aligned themselves with feminist/womanist causes. Furthermore, they
are also subjects of much feminist/womanist discourse.
Wicke's celebrity zone is an important aspect of feminist discourse. However, she
makes a bold assertion about black women's place in this zone: "Whoopi Goldberg,
hosting the Academy Awards, is in the celebrity feminism zone, as is Lani Guinier,


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