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"Where My Girls At?": Negotiating Black Womanhood in Music Videos

Rana A. Emerson
Gender and Society
Vol. 16, No. 1 (Feb., 2002), pp. 115-135
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3081879
Page Count: 21
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
"Where My Girls At?": Negotiating Black Womanhood in Music Videos
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Abstract

The literature on Black youth culture, especially hip-hop culture, has focused primarily on the experiences of young men, with the experiences of Black girls being all but ignored. However, the recent appearance of Black women performers, songwriters, and producers in Black popular culture has called attention to the ways in which young Black women use popular culture to negotiate social existence and attempt to express independence, self-reliance, and agency. This article is an exploration of the representations of Black womanhood as expressed in the music videos of Black women performers. The author first identifies themes that reflect controlling images of Black womanhood, then those that exemplify an expression of agency, and finally those appearing ambivalent and contradictory. Overall, the music videos express how young Black women must negotiate sexuality and womanhood in their everyday lives.

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