Check It While I Wreck It Black Womanhood, Hip-Hop Culture, and the Public Sphere

ISBN-10: 1555536077
ISBN-13: 9781555536077
Edition: 2004
List price: $22.95 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: Hip-hop culture began in the early 1970s as the creative and activist expressions -- graffiti writing, dee-jaying, break dancing, and rap music -- of black and Latino youth in the depressed South Bronx, and the movement has since grown into a  More...

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Book details

List price: $22.95
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: University Press of New England
Publication date: 5/26/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.968
Language: English

Hip-hop culture began in the early 1970s as the creative and activist expressions -- graffiti writing, dee-jaying, break dancing, and rap music -- of black and Latino youth in the depressed South Bronx, and the movement has since grown into a worldwide cultural phenomenon that permeates almost every aspect of society, from speech to dress. But although hip-hop has been assimilated and exploited in the mainstream, young black women who came of age during the hip-hop era are still fighting for equality. In this provocative study, Gwendolyn D. Pough explores the complex relationship between black women, hip-hop, and feminism. Examining a wide range of genres, including rap music, novels, spoken word poetry, hip-hop cinema, and hip-hop soul music, she traces the rhetoric of black women "bringing wreck." Pough demonstrates how influential women rappers such as Queen Latifah, Missy Elliot, and Lil' Kim are building on the legacy of earlier generations of women -- from Sojourner Truth to sisters of the black power and civil rights movements -- to disrupt and break into the dominant patriarchal public sphere. She discusses the ways in which today's young black women struggle against the stereotypical language of the past ("castrating black mother," "mammy," "sapphire") and the present ("bitch," "ho," "chickenhead"), and shows how rap provides an avenue to tell their own life stories, to construct their identities, and to dismantle historical and contemporary negative representations of black womanhood. Pough also looks at the ongoing public dialogue between male and female rappers about love and relationships, explaining how the denigrating rhetoric used by men has been appropriated by black women rappers as a means to empowerment in their own lyrics. The author concludes with a discussion of the pedagogical implications of rap music as well as of third wave and black feminism. This fresh and thought-provoking perspective on the complexities of hip-hop urges young black women to harness the energy, vitality, and activist roots of hip-hop culture and rap music to claim a public voice for themselves and to "bring wreck" on sexism and misogyny in mainstream society.

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Hip-Hop Is More Than Just Music to Me: The Potential for a Movement in the Culture
Bringing Wreck: Theorizing Race, Rap, Gender, and the Public Sphere
My Cipher Keeps Movin' Like a Rollin' Stone: Black Women's Expressive Cultures and Black Feminist Legacies
I Bring Wreck to Those Who Disrespect Me Like a Dame: Women, Rap, and the Rhetoric of Wreck
(Re)reconstructing Womanhood: Black Women's Narratives in Hip-Hop Culture
Girls in the Hood and Other Ghetto Dramas: Representing Black Womanhood in Hip-Hop Cinema and Novels
Hip-Hop Soul Mate? Hip-Hop Soul Divas and Rap Music: Critiquing the Love That Hate Produced
You Can't See Me/You Betta Recognize: Using Rap to Bridge Gaps in the Classroom
Conclusion: Imagining Images: Black Womanhood in the Twenty-first Century
Notes
Select Bibliography
Index

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