When it comes to music I have a visceral reaction to the songs that are chosen by broadcast stations, the songs chosen by these stations degrade black women, and hearing these lyrics tear me apart. I want it to be known that degrading black girls should never be a trend in any type of art. Not only do black women internalize the messages in the music, but hip hop artists get the message that this is the only way to become a successful rapper. For example, when hip hop artists use terms like “bitch” and “nigga”, they are unaware of how these words are used to oppress groups of people and promote internalized self hatred. This is my time to speak out about the normalization of degrading Black women and Black people in music aired on the radio. The clear vinyl jackets represent the transparent nature of how we listen to the lyrics and don’t pay attention to their meaning. In the exhibit that these jackets were showcased in, I used negative lyrics of songs from the radio and projected them on the wall, taking them out of context in order for the audience to focus on how heinous the words really are. I used the music with a positive message that I took from Kendrick Lamar’s song I and his song Complexion ft Rapsody and sewed them on the jackets. These lyrics counter the lyrics on the wall to showcase the other hip hop artists and songs that the radio stations could give airtime to. This project highlights hidden ways that music degrades black women and the project allows people to reflect on their own media intake.
Photography by: Maya Young
Models: Tehya Ruiz, Kamrea, Uthman Shareef
December – January 2018