"She Don't Need No Help": De-consolidating gender, sex, and sexuality in New Orleans bounce music

Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

Abstract

New Orleans bounce music is a dance-oriented hip-hop form that has emerged as a notably non-normative genre, in which queer black bounce artists destabilize binary cultural paradigms and emphasize queerness as inclusive and relational. We explore how five artists’ lyrics and public personae actively refute the consolidated, naturalized nexus of gender, sex, and sexuality by disentangling each of the three strands from one another. In order to explore how this is accomplished, we created a corpus of bounce lyrics. We analyzed lexical indices of gender; self-positioning as feminine subjects; sexual subject-object positioning; normalization of sex between men; retention of masculine subjectivities; and rejection of gender binarism. Further, the artists repeatedly expose the ubiquitous nature of sex between men in their lyrics, working to assert its existence and normalcy in the popular imagination. The bounce artists we analyze expose and articulate forms of deviance, expressing a blackness and queerness that insists on making visible the humanity and sexuality of black people and queer people. Bounce music, made by queers of color, for an audience of predominantly poor, heterosexual women of color, is a communitarian cultural labor.
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New Orleans bounce music is a dance-oriented hip-hop form that has emerged as a notably non-normative genre, in which queer black bounce artists destabilize binary cultural paradigms and emphasize queerness as inclusive and relational. We explore how five artists’ lyrics and public personae actively refute the consolidated, naturalized nexus of gender, sex, and sexuality by disentangling each of the three strands from one another. In order to explore how this is accomplished, we created a corpus of bounce lyrics. We analyzed lexical indices of gender; self-positioning as feminine subjects; sexual subject-object positioning; normalization of sex between men; retention of masculine subjectivities; and rejection of gender binarism. Further, the artists repeatedly expose the ubiquitous nature of sex between men in their lyrics, working to assert its existence and normalcy in the popular imagination. The bounce artists we analyze expose and articulate forms of deviance, expressing a blackness and queerness that insists on making visible the humanity and sexuality of black people and queer people. Bounce music, made by queers of color, for an audience of predominantly poor, heterosexual women of color, is a communitarian cultural labor.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGender and Language
Number of pages25
ISSN1747-6321
StateAccepted/In press - 2019
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

    Research areas

  • hip-hop language, queer linguistics, markedness, masculinity, gender binarity, New Orleans
ID: 260717263