Othering Racialised Femininity in Hip-Hop Journalism
This paper investigates the gender and racial traits of female performative identity in hip-hop journalism. This is achieved through an evaluation of the editorial strategies that inform hip-hop femininity in relation to the commercial agendas of the artists and the record companies and management teams behind them. This paper demonstrates that the editorial and artistic agendas that inform the hip-hop press produce gender and race-specific discourses which Other female hip-hop artists. The methodological approach to the research utilises discourse analysis to investigate narrative texts and images in selected US hip-hop magazines, and qualitative interviews with their main editors and journalists. The analysis indicates that articulations of identity in hip-hop journalism seem rooted in the fetishisation of the Black female body – a strategy of Othering that paradoxically possesses a counter-hegemonic value in its resistant approach to normative gender and race discourses. The journalistic mediations of hip-hop womanhood present, therefore, some of the socio-cultural challenges posed by hip-hop feminism, such as the double jeopardy of the assertive reclamation of female sexuality and the compliance with race-specific sexist discourse. Moreover, this paper shows that notions of gender and race mediated by the hip-hop press are commercially driven, as they appear to be informed by interdependent financial interests of artists, press and record industries. In this context, an important insight is that female artists appear to be complicit in their own Othering through the production of mediated performative identities which undermine their position as authentic performers.