Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.M. in Music

First Advisor

Thomas A. Peattie

Second Advisor

Michael C. Gardiner

Third Advisor

Theresa A. Starkey


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Black women have long been subjected to misrepresentations and stereotypes which have denied them full access to their own femininity and womanhood. These misrepresentations and stereotypes are pervasive in Euro-American culture and can be clearly observed in film, television, and music. As a result, these women have combatted such narratives as an expression of agency. One of the most notable ways Black women have accomplished these goals is through Rap and R&B, genres that have allowed them to shape and reshape notions of femininity and Black womanhood. The participation of Black women in these musical traditions frequently draw on womanist rhetoric as a form of empowerment. Furthermore, the globalization of these genres has served to reinforce Pan-Africanist notions of a ‘Global Africa’ and “Africanisms.” Black women who perform and record Rap and R&B music across the African Diaspora reshape and complicate these notions. Two albums, NAO’s And Then Life Was Beautiful and Little Simz’s Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, showcase the way Black women across the diaspora explore femininity and Black womanhood and engage with Pan-Africanist rhetoric. In doing so, these women have not only helped reshape notions of femininity and Black womanhood but have also engaged with and often subverted the conventions of Rap and R&B, making clear in turn the multidimensionality of cultural transmission.





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