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Free Content City Girls, hot girls and the re-imagining of Black women in hip hop and digital spaces

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Through a hip hop feminist lens, how are we to interpret black girls’ and women’s self-identification in digital spaces that visibly resonate with new/remixed images? And more importantly, what happens when black female rap artists and their fan base disrupt, subvert or challenge dominant gender scripts in hip hop in order to navigate broader discourses on black female sexuality? Drawing on the work of Joan Morgan and hip hop feminist scholarship in general, this essay aims to offer a critical reading of ‘hot girl summer’. Inspired by Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s lyrics on ‘Cash Shit’, where she raps about ‘real hot girl shit’, the phrase has morphed into a larger-than-life persona not only for Megan’s rap superstar profile, but also for a number of black girls. According to Megan, a hot girl summer is ‘about women and men being unapologetically them[selves] […] having a good-ass time, hyping up their friends, doing [them]’. What does ‘hot girl summer’ tell us about significant changes in the ways that black women cultivate community in digital spaces, how they construct their identities within systems of controlling images and grapple with respectability politics? In order to address these questions with a critical lens, using an interdisciplinary approach grounded in black feminism and hip hop feminism, this essay offers a theoretical approach to a digital hip hop feminist sensibility (DHHFS). Too little has been said about black women’s representation in digital spaces where they imagine alternative gender performance, disrupt hegemonic tropes and engage in participatory culture.

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Keywords: #HotGirlSummer; Instagram; black women; digital hip hop feminist sensibility (DHHFS); feminism; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000121736074North Carolina State University

Publication date: June 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • Global Hip Hop Studies (GHHS) is a peer-reviewed, rigorous and community-responsive academic journal that publishes research on contemporary as well as historical issues and debates surrounding hip hop music and culture around the world, twice annually.
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