Does Hip Hop reflect social inequalities? (Class, Gender, Sexuality etc.)
Hip-Hop and Masculinity The image of the urban U.S. American pimp functions as a powerful symbol of Black masculinity throughout modern hip-hop culture. This image immortalizes establishes certain stereotypes that characterize Black males as violent, beasts and Black females as hyper sexed, valueless mules. Bell hooks and Darieck Scott argue that Black males must quit trying to compete with white males for sexual authority and embrace a politics failure marked by new constructions of sexuality that are less destructive. Rejecting a sexuality based on hyper masculine in favor of a more open Black sexual politic which creates a sexual map that may lead to an abnormally Black sexual politics.
Hip-hop culture itself was born out of the South Bronx ghettoes, where thousands of residents, mostly poor and black or Latino, were all but abandoned by the city. Music, dance and rapping became not only a way to respond to violence in the community, but also to reflect what was happening within it. As many poor neighborhoods of color became further devastated in the 1980s and 1990s, gangster rap lyrics started to come out an echoing the proliferation of guns, gangs and prison culture mentalities. For many young men and boys, hyper masculinity is difficult from race and class. Anti-violence educator Jackson Katz explains it: “If you're a young man growing up in this culture and the culture is telling you that being a man means being powerful… but you don't have a lot of real power, one thing that you do have access to is your body and your ability to present yourself physically as somebody who's worthy of respect. And I think that's one of the things that accounts for a lot of the hyper masculine by a lot of young men of color and a lot of working class Caucasian men as well, men who have more power, men who have financial power and workplace authority and power like that don't have to be as physically powerful because they can apply their power in other ways.
The images of hyper masculine men of color, in hip-hop culture and elsewhere, play into both myths and realities. Professor and writer James Peterson uses the example of the Public Enemy logo, a black male figure within the target of a gun, as one way in which black men navigate the inner city. Hyper masculine posturing can also serve as a defense mechanism. As history professor Jelani Cobb explains, “The reason why braggadocio and boast is so central to the history of hip-hop is because you’re dealing with the history of black men in America. And there’s a whole lineage of black men wanting to deny their own frailty. In some ways you have to do that… like a psychic armor.”
Hip-Hop and Femininity Beyoncé Knowles is a hip hop icon. She is known more for her sexy body than her body of work that multiple