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She's Mad RealPopular Culture and West Indian Girls in Brooklyn$
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Oneka LaBennett

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814752470

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814752470.001.0001

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Dual Citizenship in the Hip-Hop Nation

Dual Citizenship in the Hip-Hop Nation

Gender and Authenticity in Black Youth Culture

(p.103) 3 Dual Citizenship in the Hip-Hop Nation
She's Mad Real

Oneka LaBennett

NYU Press

This chapter interrogates the common view that hip-hop culture is largely constituted in misogyny, rampant consumerism, and male violence. West Indian girls pursue a symbolic “dual citizenship” as they construct their subjectivities and negotiate dialectic notions of authenticity within hip-hop culture. The girls voice strong preferences for female hip-hop artists and television personalities whom they define as “real.” Their conceptualizations of authenticity are explored in the ways in which cheerleaders at the Flatbush YMCA and youth at BCM interpret American hip-hop and West Indian dancehall music. Although the mainstream versions of both genres rely on sexually explicit lyrical content and debasing portrayals of women, West Indian girls and their mothers apply a double standard, seeing hip-hop as corruptive and dancehall as “positive.” These contradictions perhaps speak to the ways in which Black consumer culture has been demonized in American society.

Keywords:   American hip-hop, West Indian dancehall music, hip-hop culture, dual citizenship, authenticity, Black consumer culture

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