Rhetorics of Refusal and Reclamation in Black Queer Femme Bravado Hip-Hop Music; How Nicki Minaj and Lil Nas X Break Barriers, Defy Standards, and Create Inclusive Spaces
This thesis examines the complexities of how sexist and homophobic epithets function within hip-hop music and culture as well as American society. It also explores the cultural shifts that have taken place in the hip-hop community and how artists use the phenomenon that is Black Queer Femme Bravado to provide inclusive spaces for all people. Using Nicki Minaj's and Lil Nas X's influence to showcase how Black Queer Femme Bravado has disrupted and rearticulated heteronormative and patriarchal foundations in American and hip-hop culture, my goal is to reveal the necessity of artists shifting dominant narratives in an effort to include marginalized voices. I use interdisciplinary methods (i.e., Queer Theory, Black Feminist Theory, Hip-Hop Theory, among others) to investigate how both artists use their performative nature to transform hip-hop culture to be an area of intersectionality and diversity. I argue that Nicki Minaj's reclamation of "bitch" is essential in reshaping sexist, patriarchal frameworks in American culture, and shifting power dynamics for Black women. I also claim that Lil Nas X's refusal to situate himself into heteronormative ideals in American culture, through his resistance of homophobic language and his inclusion of the non-binary, is essential to challenge the dominant narrative and to create space for people to embrace open-minded, non-normative ideology in American culture.