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Constructing Identities Essay

1405 words - 6 pages

Nowadays, the fact that popular culture and social media have control over many aspects of society- such as gender roles and sexuality- can no longer be denied. Many of these aspects are what society defines as parts of each individual’s identity, which constructs of race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and so forth. In sport and music cultures, the discrepancies among these aspects are very pronounced because such inequalities become how our society constructs identities. Hip-hop music, for example, portrays certain groups of people in our society are being viewed as based on the stereotypes that our society has constructed. Since hip-hop music itself was created out of the sentiment of frustration over the issues of unequal treatments among different races and classes, many people who listen to hip-hop, inevitably, will behave and present themselves in certain manners that are considered the norms in popular culture. What young people see hip-hop music videos can influence their mindset and how they want to present themselves and that is what dangerous about the role of hip-hop in our society. However, according to Rachel Sullivan in “Rap and Race: It's Got a Nice Beat, But What About the Message?", rap and hip-hop culture exists as a form of resistance to young Black men and a tool for them to construct their racial identity ( Sullivan, 238). Not only that, in “Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes”, Byron Hurt mentioned how hip-hop culture can establish masculinity and manhood in Black men (“Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes”). But where does that leave women’s identity especially with all the misogynistic and derogatory messages in hip-hop music? That issue needs to be address and is something that our generation needs to work on in hope of gender equality for the next generations.
Hip-hop music has been around for a while and rumored to be born in the Bronx in New York City. According to Byron Hurt, rap and hip-hop was created out of the negative sentiments about the new constructions in the Bronx area that separated the city and turns the neighborhood into slums (“Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes”). Such frustrations causes the men in these neighborhoods to vent through music and eventually this type of music becomes a form of resistance against the government officials’ authority and a tool to help Black men establish their racial identity. While the lyrics can be rude and offensive to many listeners, it was the pure sentiments of the minorities groups who grew up from poverty and violence from police brutality, racism, and gang activities. Such sentiments lead to violence and negative messages that often show up in early rap and hip-hop music. This characteristic of hip-hop music becomes a tool for men, especially Black men, to establish their masculinity. The fact that characteristics such as aggressiveness, violence, and alpha-male dominance establish masculinity in our culture can hardly be deny through their portrayals in...

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