Hip Hop culture officially began with the establishment of the Universal Zulu Nation in 1973 but it first caught the American mainstream’s attention with the release with Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight in 1979. The country’s first experience with representations of the traditional dance forms (rocking, popping, locking and breaking) came from the movie Flashdance . Jazz choreographers appropriated the dance forms and combined them with jazz technique and style of dress. B-Girls did not wear leg-warmers.
There are many problematics with this image and the first is the posture of the young women. This is a jazz pose and comes from Hollywood choreographers deceiving Hip Hop dancers by inviting them to “auditions”. The auditions are not real but the choreographer’s financial stability. The clothing that the pre-teens are wearing are inappropriately short and tight. I had to always purchase costumes from Old Navy because nothing was realistic, too many sequins, chains, and mesh.
These are outfits marketed to dance studios for young children’s recital but the clothing is modeled by teenagers. Note the pointed toe (jazz aesthetic) -- a sure signifier of the representations that come from a history of appropriation of African American and Latin American art forms. No Hip Hop dancer points their toe. Appropriation is the process of hijacking the dance with no attachment to the traditional culture that produced it.
iPod Billboard Buy our product, it will make you dance. Dance = physical manifestation of happiness. Happiness is linked to financial stability. I need that product to be satisfied.
Bratz Hip Hop Doll This is an example of a misconception of Hip Hop clothing combined with marketing aimed at 8-12 year-old girls. Notice the exposed stomach and excessive make-up for this age group.
Lil Jon is literally treating this woman as an object, holding his goblet with a necklace that looks suspiciously like a leash. She is the evolution of of images that continually keep women submissive when represented in the American mainstream media. This situation is caused by the threat of castration of power that a feminine energy can offer. It is not a physical surgery, but rather, a destabilization of force structures.
Somehow these women think that they can call themselves the first women of Hip Hop. Hip Hop what? They are video girls for Hip Hop-influenced pop artists that perpetuate hyper-sexualized and muted female representations for overconsumption. Sex + Money = Happiness (Again)
Dominant power structures appear to give Hip Hop artists a choice in the way that they are represented in American mainstream media. I follow Dres of the Black Sheep on Twitter and during the filming of this commercial for KIA automobiles and he was very excited about this opportunity. However, he did not select hamsters or the way the were dressed. He was not even contacted for this commercial and his label handled the entire transaction. At this present date, he has still not been paid for Black Sheep’s music in the commercial.
. Not all representations of Hip Hop music are negative when combined with consumption. Common supporting (PRODUCT) RED has the potential to be very beneficial but where does the majority of the money go? Converse will donate up to 15% of the net sales from Converse (PRODUCT) RED to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a worldwide initiative created by U2 frontman Bono and Bobby Shriver, Chairman of Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa (DATA ). The fund is designed to deliver private money to invest in African AIDS programs with an emphasis on the health of women and children. The benefits are of a cultural nature that takes form in interest in this artists’ music and can provide an access point to Hip Hop compositions that confront social justice issues.