“Homosex, Hermaph, or Trans-a-vest…Hate Fags? The Answer’s Yes”: Hypermasculinity in America and Commodified Homophobia Through the Lens of Hip Hop

Annalisa Ciro


Birthed in the Bronx in response to socioeconomic frustration and political invigoration, hip hop equipped youth of color in the U.S. with a dynamic platform to both communication resentment towards structures of systemic oppression and act as an outlet for fun, innovative, and uninhibited creative expression. However, as this cultural revolution transformed from an underground movement to a mainstream commodity, rap music that reflected stereotypes of Black hyper-masculinity and heteronormativity were prioritized, and rappers who embodied these roles and the ideologies paired with them rose to the top of the charts. As a result of the music industry’s prioritization of hyper-masculine, heteronormative rap, a genre with the power to project the voices of marginalized communities of color in America at the same time became an active participant in the marginalizing of another—the LGBT+ community. Yet as rap music is notorious for its attacks on the LGBT+ community, I argue that this homophobia is not contained or exacerbated within hip hop, but rather is a by-product of a homophobic society that, through hyper-masculine and heteronormative norms, nurtures these attitudes within the male-driven genre. Through a textual analysis of rap lyrics, my paper highlights where the homophobic attitudes within hip hop stem from by locating broader societal structures that foster these ideals outside the genre. Taking this step back and looking at the larger issues within American society that nurture this homophobic environment within hip hop allows us to understand and address the phenomenon within the genre more clearly.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/for(e)dialogue.v3i1.3139

Copyright (c) 2019 Annalisa Ciro

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ISSN 2398-0532