New Explorations of Girls’ Media Culture
Edited By Mary Celeste Kearney
11 “She was like ___”: Re-framing Hip-Hop Identity Politics through Dance and Gesture Jennifer Woodruff 203
eleven “She was like ___”: Re-framing Hip-Hop Identity Politics through Dance and Gesture Jennifer Woodruff At the John Avery Boys and Girls Club in Northeast Central Durham, North Carolina, music surrounds the children in many of their activities and social exchanges. Kids participate in informal musical activities, such as listening to the radio and talking about music, and organized activities, like the John Avery Gos- pel Choir and Step Team. Music marketed as “urban contemporary,” known as “hip-hop” more generally, flows through the club: on the speakers that are turned up to full volume once everyone’s homework is finished, in the dances that girls and boys practice, and as a reference point for jokes at others’ expense. Although girls and boys listen to the same music, know the same dances, and watch the same videos, girls’ musical activities dominate the club space. Even though every- one wants to listen to the radio, it is always girls who control the dial. When girls decide that they want to dance in a room by themselves, they can usually kick the boys out without any staff members objecting. For girls at the club, musical ac- tivities, such as listening and dancing to music, provide opportunities to socialize with one another, to hone their musical skills, and to learn and share ideas about being female and black. This chapter comes from a larger project on African American girls’ musical practices at the John Avery Boys and Girls Club (commonly referred to as “John Avery” by...
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