Hip hop attained a widespread cultural movement in the late 1980s to 1990s. With the rhyming lyrics incorporated in the rap, it rapidly grew to become a very influential music genre. Its appeal to many people made it become the favourite medium to express diverse ideas in the society. However, there has been a growing concern by critics of African hip hop music, with emphasis being on black women representation within mainstream hip hop. A typical image is the portrayal of women as objects of desire. `
Despite the fact that the degradation of women is present in almost all genres of music, the videos and lyrics in hip hop music are outright demeaning to women. That has raised a lot of concern, especially since it is one of the most popular music genres among the young people in the society
It is clear that the black women contracted as video vixens are the centre of focus; thereby they are the most marketable in the rap music. The typical black female body has been marketed in the hip hop industry with great success. That has promoted the sexism to a point where for any music to sell, it has become a fundamental element that cannot be left out.
The role of these video vixens has evolved to a very complex state. It is ironical that despite the fact that they have become the mainstream of the music genre, their image is simultaneously being both metaphorically and silenced.
Many critics do not understand the reason why the rap music video needs to expose scantily dressed women. Is it to make the records have more sales, or is it to futher the idea of women being the objects of satisfaction to the males? For whatever reason, there is no justification at all. The lame excuses that anyone in the industry may try to give to justify the prejudice against women in rap are both inaccurate and lack support.
The women's bodies are dismembered and evidently, the camera is always focusing on particular parts, which paints a picture that there is no connection of a woman's body, mind and emotions. For example, emphasis on a woman's breasts, legs or behinds is an outright sexist act. In addition to that, the way they are positioned portrays submissiveness.
Another critical issue that hip hop music is portraying that has received a lot of criticism is male dominance and the silencing effect it has to women. For societies which are working hard to fight male dominance by promoting gender equality, rap music is evidently letting them down. The gangsta rap music has created crisis in this respect. Male rap artists appear in the contexts trying to prove that violence is a cure for all. There are many videos which show men being involved in extreme violence acts such as shooting each other, without any care for any humanity.
With black women being at the center of this crisis, it is important to address these issues with urgency. The first step toward achieving this is by educating the women in the industry on having a firm moral ground. They can do this by developing skill and talent, so that they may not have to sacrifice their dignity at the expense of being a marketable hip-hoper. They should strive to defy the notion that a female cannot be successful in the industry unless she sacrifices that which makes her a real girl.
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