African American Female Rappers
American culture, being traditionally perceived as quite liberal and democratic, is in fact paralyzed by the overwhelming power of stereotypes which shape the current image of culture at large and its industries, including music, in particular. Even the most innovative and advanced movement’s turn to be submitted to the canons of the ideology that dominates in American culture. Unfortunately, such a situation does not contribute to the development of really free, liberal and focused on spiritual, moral and intellectual progress of the consumers of the culture. Probably one of the most interesting, new and, unfortunately, typical example of the domination of stereotypes in American culture is the development of female black rap music, which has become particularly intensive in 1980s and is still quite dynamically developing. At first glance black female rap music should be free from traditional stereotypes, it should be innovative and contributing to black female emancipation and increasing the role of black females in the society at large but, in actuality, the situation is absolutely different. Despite the fact that many female rappers pretend to be unique at developing the new image of a free and independent black female, it turns to be that practically all of them, or at least the most popular of them, are ideologically dependent on the male dominance in proper and figurative sense of this word. It means that as a rule black female rappers tend to create an image which can be well accepted by the wide audience and which is created on the basis of the dominating ideology in American culture, notably in American rap music that is characterized by the male dominance and the role of a black female is so to say secondary or subordinated to a male. As a result, instead of a new image of a black female that could be independent and free of male dominance, rap music industry and the audience have got a negative image of a black female, or an image of a black female that tends to underline her sexuality. The role and images of black female rappers in American rap music industry Speaking about black female rappers, it should be pointed out that their role and the impact on the development of the culture of African Americans and American culture at large should not be underestimated. Regardless the fact that many of black female rappers were created due to the male rappers they still contributed to the progress of rap music industry and introduced something new and founded a basis for further development of rap music among black females on the professional level. The development of black female rappers as a strong power in rap music and culture has started in 1980s and nowadays it is still popular and interesting. Black female rappers may be viewed differently but their importance for music and culture cannot be denied. At this respect it should be pointed out that many cultural and music critics “praise rap’s role as an educational tool, point out that black women rappers are examples of aggressive pro-women lyricists in popular music, and defend rap’s ghetto stories as real life reflections that should draw attention to the burning of racism and economic oppression, rather than to question of obscenity” (Rose 1994, 1). At the same time, on analyzing the development of black female rappers, it should be said there could be clearly defined two main trends, which have been typical for black female rappers since 1980s. Initially, black female rappers had to “wear the same clothes as men, curse with the same intonation, and adopt a harsh mentality that didn’t place much value on feminine instincts” (Nelson 1998, 188) that was actually a natural consequence of male domination in rap music and culture at large. On the other hand, later a new trend has become popular. Black females broke ground using sex or feminine image which was deliberately underlined. As Nelson George points out, “most commercially...
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