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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 9 Baker the person” (Regester, 2000, p. 39). This experience parallels African-American female performers to this very day. Visual performance was not the only arena in which black women challenged notions of female sexuality and femininity. Davis (1998) explores themes in women’s blues music. She argues that the representations of love and sex in women’s blues music challenged the mainstream notion of the woman’s “place” in the domestic sphere: “Sexuality is not privatized in the blues. Rather, it is represented as shared experience that is socially produced” (Davis, 1998, p. 91). Davis notes that black female music artists have a long tradition of challenging dominant notions of female sexuality and femininity. So what happens when these two traditions of music artists combines with visual imagery? In many ways, music video is the perfect marriage of these two traditions. Black female music artists are wedded to the images they portray in their videos. In her work Shaded Lives: African-American Women and Television, Smith-Shomade (2002) argues that “African-American women’s representations in television culture defy neat definition, stability or totalization” (p. 69). However, music video creates a space that allows black women to voice and visualize themselves differently. She claims that female rappers such as Kim, Foxy Brown and Da Brat help advance a complex womanist discourse visually and theoretically; however, female artists outside of rap such as Tracy Chapman, Me’Shell NdegeOcello and Erykah Badu subvert black woman’s objectification but enjoy only limited acceptance. What types of effects do black female music artists have on their audiences? Many researchers have examined the effects of rap music. However, many of these

Authors: Brooks, TaKeshia.
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Black Womanhood 9
Baker the person” (Regester, 2000, p. 39). This experience parallels African-American
female performers to this very day.
Visual performance was not the only arena in which black women challenged
notions of female sexuality and femininity. Davis (1998) explores themes in women’s
blues music. She argues that the representations of love and sex in women’s blues music
challenged the mainstream notion of the woman’s “place” in the domestic sphere:
“Sexuality is not privatized in the blues. Rather, it is represented as shared experience
that is socially produced” (Davis, 1998, p. 91). Davis notes that black female music
artists have a long tradition of challenging dominant notions of female sexuality and
femininity.
So what happens when these two traditions of music artists combines with visual
imagery? In many ways, music video is the perfect marriage of these two traditions.
Black female music artists are wedded to the images they portray in their videos. In her
work Shaded Lives: African-American Women and Television, Smith-Shomade (2002)
argues that “African-American women’s representations in television culture defy neat
definition, stability or totalization” (p. 69). However, music video creates a space that
allows black women to voice and visualize themselves differently. She claims that
female rappers such as Kim, Foxy Brown and Da Brat help advance a complex womanist
discourse visually and theoretically; however, female artists outside of rap such as Tracy
Chapman, Me’Shell NdegeOcello and Erykah Badu subvert black woman’s
objectification but enjoy only limited acceptance.
What types of effects do black female music artists have on their audiences?
Many researchers have examined the effects of rap music. However, many of these


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