Yard-hip hopping -- Reggae and hip hop music : commercialized constructions of blackness and gender identity in Jamaica and the United States, 1980-2004

Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


African and African Diaspora Studies

First Advisor's Name

Carole Boyce Davies

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Terry Rey

Third Advisor's Name

Akin Ogundiran

Date of Defense



This thesis examined how skin-tone, gender, and sexuality, within the entertainment industry, help shape the micro-level process by which racial identity is constructed in American culture. The thesis analyzed and critiqued existing ideologies of race across the Americas, with specific reference to Jamaica and the United States. Issues and questions of re-representation within American popular culture are central concerns: in particular, the ways that Black women's roles are defined and redefined through the positionality of female performance artists within the male-dominated music culture. The thesis argued then that skin-tone is fundamental to the understanding of blackness, as American society continues to view race through the lens of the popular entertainment industry. The study examined the positionality of the light-skinned/or biracial Black woman's identity is fixed sexually within the racialized context of American society. The thesis concluded that the glorification of the light-skinned/or biracial Black female recreates a socio-historical and cultural-political context that simultaneously devalues the darker-skinned Black woman.



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