Journal of Hip Hop Studies

Journal of Hip Hop Studies


This study will examine how representations and discourses regarding Black motherhood have changed in the Hip Hop and R&B genres over time. Specifically, this scholarly work will contextualize the lyrics of 79 songs (57 Hip Hop songs; 18 R&B songs; 2 songs represented the Hip Hop and R&B genre; 2 songs represented artists who produce music in 5 or 6 genres) from 1961-2015 to identify the ways that Black male and Black female artists described motherhood. Through the use of Black Feminist Theory, and by placing the production of these songs within a sociohistorical context, we provide an in-depth qualitative examination of song lyrics related to Black motherhood. Results gave evidence that representations and discourse of motherhood have been largely shaped by patriarchy as well as cultural, political, and racial politics whose primary aim was to decrease the amount of public support for poor, single Black mothers. In spite of the pathological framing of Black mothers, most notably through the "welfare queen" and "baby mama" stereotypes, a substantial number of Hip Hop and R&B artists have provided a strong counter narrative to Black motherhood by highlighting their positive qualities, acknowledging their individual and collective struggle, and demanding that these women be respected.






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