Presentation by Andy Scott
In bell hooks' article she claims that the sexist and violent themes within rap can be traced back to white culture, thus our heavy criticism of rap without introspectively analyzing our own culture is hypocritical. For example these same themes can be found throughout white popular culture in films, music, literature, etc. From Dirty Harry to KISS, violence and misogyny is systemic to white culture.
The assumption here though is that even in white culture this behaviour is a form of deviance from the normal morals and attitudes of upstanding white citizens. Indeed if this behaviour did not develop in a vacuum amidst black neighbourhoods, then the same can be said of white people also displaying symptoms of ‘deviance’.
The popularization of rap has only been possible through exploitation. This exploitation occurs throughout the music industry, predominately occupied by older white males. Thus the tools of rebellion are mostly forged by those who symbolize the prime reason for rebellion in the first place. Especially as the number one consume group of rap and its related subculture are young suburban white males, who emulate black culture as a means of mutiny against white culture and the cycle continues.
However the musicians themselves are also responsible for exploiting black people who have nothing to do with this type of music or behaviours. They see that the record companies want to produce sexually aggressive, violent, misogynistic music and take advantage of that. Then again, if artistic integrity meant less to them than the balance of their bank accounts, who could blame them?
bell hooks feels that there are many parties responsible for these attitudes, but ultimately is lies with white males as they are the ones that dominate the rest of society with their capitalist white male supremacist beliefs.
hooks b, 1994, ‘Sexism and Misogyny: Who Takes the Rap? Misogyny, Gangsta Rap, and The Piano’, ZMagazine, Feb.
bell hooks interview at Youtube