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“Ain’t Nobody’s Business”: Transforming Abuse into Capital

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Abstract:

The hypervisibility of black women contributes to an environment wherein black female celebrities are simultaneously entertaining and disruptive. Within this economy of visibility, the battered black woman is an image that has remarkable currency – particularly the examples of Tina Turner and Rihanna. Both artists walk a delicate line between creating a product and being the product. Furthermore, they link consumerism with liberation, and the spectre of domestic violence lingers over their brands and their music. As such, they operate not just as black women, or musicians, but as commodities.

To the extent that these women can be considered commodities, they are not the silent commodities described by Marx in "Capital". Nor is their speech the resistant speech of black radicals Moten addresses in "In the Break". Rihanna and Tina exalt the necessity of consumerism. They adhere to the disciplinary self-care and flexible subjectivity that is demanded of the ideal neoliberal subject. And both Tina Turner’s 1985 autobiography, "I, Tina" and Rihanna’s 2009 album, "Rated R" are artistic vocalizations of abuse, triumph, and liberation. Tina and Rihanna mobilize their voices in multiple ways and across multiple mediums. The images, songs, interviews, music videos, and articles that they either create or participate in, are animated by narratives that transcend any one text.

Both artists indicate a reflexive awareness of their hypervisibility. In their own ways, they take advantage of the spectacle of their own suffering; they literally capitalize on it and transform abuse into album sales, concert tickets and book deals. The questions this paper seeks to answer are: To what extent are both musicians participating in commodity activism and contributing to discourses of neoliberal subjectivity? How do they use their voices to simultaneously speak on domestic violence and sell albums? How do we make sense of “commodities” who speak, not in resistance to capitalism, but in favor of it?
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Association:
Name: American Studies Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.theasa.net


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p656635_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Farr, Brittany. "“Ain’t Nobody’s Business”: Transforming Abuse into Capital" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Washington, Washington, DC, Nov 21, 2013 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p656635_index.html>

APA Citation:

Farr, B. , 2013-11-21 "“Ain’t Nobody’s Business”: Transforming Abuse into Capital" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Washington, Washington, DC <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p656635_index.html

Publication Type: Internal Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The hypervisibility of black women contributes to an environment wherein black female celebrities are simultaneously entertaining and disruptive. Within this economy of visibility, the battered black woman is an image that has remarkable currency – particularly the examples of Tina Turner and Rihanna. Both artists walk a delicate line between creating a product and being the product. Furthermore, they link consumerism with liberation, and the spectre of domestic violence lingers over their brands and their music. As such, they operate not just as black women, or musicians, but as commodities.

To the extent that these women can be considered commodities, they are not the silent commodities described by Marx in "Capital". Nor is their speech the resistant speech of black radicals Moten addresses in "In the Break". Rihanna and Tina exalt the necessity of consumerism. They adhere to the disciplinary self-care and flexible subjectivity that is demanded of the ideal neoliberal subject. And both Tina Turner’s 1985 autobiography, "I, Tina" and Rihanna’s 2009 album, "Rated R" are artistic vocalizations of abuse, triumph, and liberation. Tina and Rihanna mobilize their voices in multiple ways and across multiple mediums. The images, songs, interviews, music videos, and articles that they either create or participate in, are animated by narratives that transcend any one text.

Both artists indicate a reflexive awareness of their hypervisibility. In their own ways, they take advantage of the spectacle of their own suffering; they literally capitalize on it and transform abuse into album sales, concert tickets and book deals. The questions this paper seeks to answer are: To what extent are both musicians participating in commodity activism and contributing to discourses of neoliberal subjectivity? How do they use their voices to simultaneously speak on domestic violence and sell albums? How do we make sense of “commodities” who speak, not in resistance to capitalism, but in favor of it?


Similar Titles:
Black Capitalism and White Wealth: Race, Community, Capital Formation and Jim Crow Economics/Segregationist Business Models

Understanding jurors’ discussions of a defendant’s history of child abuse and alcohol abuse in capital sentencing trials

Human Capital, Social Capital, and Abused Women’s Choice of Helping Services

Capital Mobility, Corporate Governance and Contextualized Relationships: The Divergent Transformation of Capitalism in France and Germany


 
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