Black Women Speak Back, Up, and Out
Edited By Venus E. Evans-Winters and Bettina L. Love
Chapter Nine: Truly Professin’ Hip-Hop—The Rewind (1996): Makin’ Black Girls Embodied Musical Play the Teacher
← 102 | 103 →CHAPTER NINE
Makin’ Black Girls Embodied Musical Play the Teacher
KYRA D. GAUNT
In this chapter, I, the author, present a series of personal reflections in third-person narrative. Narrating memories from my earliest year of professing hip-hop as music to a diverse group of male and female students as an ethnomusicologist teaching Black popular music at the predominately White University of Virginia in the fall of 1996 and the spring of 1997. Teaching undergraduate students to understand hip-hop as music through the games Black girls play was a radical act back in 1996 and perhaps still is. My intention was to embody both the intersectionality of Black girls—hidden musicians with their embodied beats and rhymes from handclapping games and double-dutch—and the non-gendered beats of hip-hop’s sound, which was dominated by a masculine misogyny in the name of gangsta rap. Teaching back then was an experiment as a new professor and ideas for my pedagogy were a sort of musical revolution in departments that generally restricted themselves to jazz and classical music.
As I rewind back to the academic year of 1996–1997, three significant events took place during her first year, narrated in third person. One event dealt with mass-mediated images of Black women just before she arrived. The second involved rap music’s place in popular culture and her thinking through its politics as a scholar of gender relations. The third was public debate about Black English that brought an unexpected and paradoxical index...
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