Covering Performers, Discovering Femininities: US Hip-Hop Journalism and Female Artists

Barbara Panuzzo

Abstract


This paper examines female performative identities as portrayed in the hip-hop press. The research approach is based on discourse analysis of selected texts in US hip-hop magazines, as well as of qualitative interviews with their main editors. On this basis, the paper investigates the editorial practices that appear to inform hip-hop female performative identities in relation to the commercial strategies of artists and record companies. Female artists occupy scarce and hyper-sexualised space within the hip-hop press. This suggests the existence of underlying editorial and marketing agendas which perpetuate mythologised discourses of gender and race. The evidence shows that hip-hop editorial strategies are co-opted by interdependent commercial interests of the press and music industry. Significantly, female performers appear to be complicit in their journalistic positioning through the mediation of femininities which jeopardise their artistic authenticity.

Keywords


hip-hop, music press, performative identity, gender, race

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