“Trappin’ Ain’t Shit to Me”: How Undergraduate Students Construct Meaning Around Race, Gender, and Sexuality within Hip-Hop

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Conference Proceeding

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© 2019 by Emerald Publishing Limited. All rights reserved. This research draws on social identity literature and intersectionality to examine the social construction of race, gender, and sexuality within hip-hop music and how this shapes the identity development of college students. Data were collected from 26 college students through semi-structured interviews. Participants described men as being portrayed as hyper-masculine and identified lyrics that supported toxic masculinity. Participants reported that the dominant theme in hip-hop today centered on “trappin” or selling drugs and glamorized that life. African American men, in particular, described how this theme in music shaped the narrative around race and masculinity, how others saw them as Black men, and how they had to counter that image and stereotype as college students. Participants described the negative portrayal of women in hip-hop. However, women participants were more conflicted in their perception of women in hip-hop and said that when women were the artists this illustrated more agency and was liberating even if the images and lyrics were sexualized. Participants were adamant that constructions of gender and sexuality within hip-hop music and videos shaped expectations within relationships. Despite thecriticisms of hip-hop, participants described how raising consciousness through hip-hop affected their own identities. This research contextualizes the findings with a discussion of how popular culture shapes identity around race, gender, and sexuality and shapes the expectations within relationships. Further, the research concludes with a discussion of intersectionality and how this provides a better understanding of the effects of identity development among marginal-ized groups.

Publication Title

Advances in Gender Research

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