Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The curriculum studies field has much to gain from an analysis of black women rappers’ texts. The knowledge black women rappers offer through their songs is worthy of study in schooling spaces and is too valuable for educators to continue to ignore if they want to become better teachers. Through their lyrics, black women rappers situate themselves in a public context and construct texts that represent young black women’s complex identities. Black women rappers create a space in hip hop discourse from which their stories enrich and complicate the public conversation about the representation of black women’s identities. This study of black women rappers’ representations, which builds on and extends the scholarship of curriculum theorists who write about popular culture and pedagogy, is an examination of the song lyrics of eight mainstream contemporary black women rappers: Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, Eve, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Trina, Mia X, Da Brat, and Queen Pen. This study is an effort to enable teachers to understand the critiques black women rappers make about young black women’s experiences, deconstruct black women rappers’ representations of black women’s identities, expose the contradictions in black women rappers’ texts, and value black women rappers’ texts as pedagogical. A textual analysis centered in a black feminist theoretical framework was used to examine the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality in black women rappers’ representations of black women’s identities. The analysis reveals that black women rappers teach important lessons about the representation of black women around questions of black women’s sexuality usually defined in terms of male desire, mainstream beauty standards, the roles of black women in heterosexual relationships, control over black women’s bodies, the privileging of heterosexuality, the connection between sexual freedom and black women’s ownership of capital, and the necessity of black women writing their own representations rather than being defined by others.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

William F. Pinar



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Education Commons