Hip-Hop Music and Its Adverse Affect on Women

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Hip-Hop Music and

Its Negative Impact on African American Women

Irma Royster

Sociology 370-01

Professor Woods

4 March, 2011

ABSTRACT

In the world of hip-hop music, the message for young women is that in order to be considered beautiful, you have to take your clothes off or allow yourself to be demeaned and degraded by the rappers/hip-hop artist in the entertainment field. People outside the African American community see these portrayals of our women and assume these actions are characteristic of all black women. These images and depictions are false. African American women have had to endure ridicule, disrespect and blatant betrayal by the music moguls, and African American men for over 30 years now. Because our men, brothers and sons seldom give our sisters any respect through this music, it has evolved into a self-fulfilling prophecy and therefore our young black women believe that they don’t deserve respect.

HIP HOP MUSIC AND ITS ADVERSE AFFECT ON AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN

On April 4, 2007, the MSNBC Don Imus in the Morning show, Imus referred to the Rutgers University women’s basketball team who is comprised of 8 African Americans and two white players as “nappy headed hos”. Many people were outraged and demanded that he be fired.

In the past 2 decades, African Americans have been the center of a disturbing controversy in the world of Hip hop music. This genre of music promotes the belief that the way to be a man is to have power and money. Many times the music is filled with obscenities, glorifying violence and disrespect for women. As it has turned into a cultural phenomenon, hip hop has changed with greater sexualization. More often than not, these rap/hip hop videos are where today’s youth get their ideas about love, friendship, dating and marriage. Among some of the more notorious rappers, Lil Wayne, also known as one of the greatest hip-hop artist of all times, has done everything in his power to show little regard for African American females. Dr Carolyn West, professor of psychology at the University of Washington says that “hip-hop music is not just entertainment, but it exploits young African American girls and promotes unhealthy lifestyles” (Watkins,2005).

Of all races, black women are more exploited more than any other group. The lyrics, images and attitudes are harmful and do more damage in a culture that is already negative about the African American population overall. According to Dr West, black women are identified in one of the following categories:“bitches”, “hos”, “skeezers”, freaks, “golddiggas”, “chickenheads”, “pigeon”, or “baby mama” (Shabazz,1999). To make matters worse, many of the rap videos are famous for featuring half naked women gyrating in the background. In many instances when young women absorb these negative stereotypes that promote sexual conduct, they then take on the personas that are illustrated in the music and video. In the world of hip-hop music, the message for young women is that in order to be considered beautiful, you have to take your clothes off or allow yourself to be demeaned and degraded by the rappers/hip-hop artist in the entertainment field. People outside the African American community see these portrayals of our women and assume these actions are characteristic of all black women. These images and depictions are false. African American women have had to endure ridicule, disrespect and blatant betrayal by the music moguls, and African American men for over 30 years now. Because our men, brothers and sons seldom give our sisters any respect through this music, it has evolved into a self-fulfilling prophecy and therefore our young black women believe that they don’t deserve respect. What’s so amazing is that very few young women feel any anger or resentment at being called out of their names by black hip-hop rappers. In our...
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