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Article 1

 Sierra Austin

Sierra J. Austin

Ohio State University

“A man is only a man among other men, but to his woman he is all things”: Hip Hop Video Vixens’ Impact on Singleness Crisis Rhetoric

Abstract

With the rise of a black female presence in hip-hop culture, scholars are continually interrogating the ways in which race, gender, and sexuality function in (re)negotiating black womanhood. Specifically, much of this discourse involves music videos. The critique of the hip-hop video vixen’s objectification and exploitation is being largely supplanted with discourses of agency and empowerment under the guise of feminism. Several of hip-hop’s most notable vixens are utilizing the publishing platform in an attempt to redefine black female sexuality, adding what they argue is an unconventional twist to black feminist and hip-hop feminist paradigms.

With three New York Times Best Sellers under her belt, former hip-hip music video vixen Karrine Steffans leads this pseudo-sexual revolution, while simultaneously perpetuating stigmas plaguing single Black women. In each book, a motif of the importance of sexual and/or emotional connections with men is explored, elucidating the notion of a Black antifeminism. As its title suggests, The Vixen Manual: How to Find, Seduce, & Keep The Man You Want, focuses on the importance of social and/or legal coupling.

Through a critical analysis of hip-hop as an agent of gender socialization and society’s manufacturing of marriage crisis rhetoric, this paper seeks to challenge the fears of singleness among heterosexual African American women by using nonfiction contextual analysis, and considering the possibilities of hip-hop feminism to function as an ideology and critical literacy tool that encourages egalitarian romantic relationships, as well as the reimagining of kinship and community via othersistering.