"I'll Grind 'till I Own It": African-American Feminism in Hip-Hop
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This thesis investigates African-American feminism in hip-hop, by researching how African-American female hip-hop artists deal with stereotyping, sexism, racism and black feminisms in their music, lyrics and music videos. Although the position of women in hip-hop already is a topic of much scholarly debate, there seems to be a lack of interest in the agency of these women and there is a need for more musicological perspectives on this matter. This research mostly focusses on recent work by artists Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé. Nicki Minaj challenges existing stereotypes concerning African-American female bodies and sexuality, which are deeply rooted in western culture since slavery, by mocking and making use of these stereotypes in her lyrics and music videos such as that for “Anaconda”. She heavily references hip-hop culture to celebrate her heritage. Beyoncé has grown into being an activist, intersectional feminist artist, celebrating female independence, bodies and sexuality. Moreover, on her most recent album Lemonade, Beyoncé addresses racism, social injustice and black feminism. The prominence of Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé at the foreground of African-American female activism fits into the recent development of hip-hop feminism, a term first coined by Joan Morgan, describing the feminism of young African-American women of the hip-hop generation. The contributions of female hip-hop artists could potentially appeal to a large audience that is often excluded from feminism and have the ability to engage communities. Furthermore, their success and work can contribute to a more rightful representation of women of colour in mainstream media.