In Kim and Lauryn Hill who used their

In the 1990’s, the western world experienced
a considerable social culture change. Black popular culture became a heavy
influence on the mass media, and through the evolution of Hip-Hop culture with
icons such as Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Lil’ Kim and Lauryn Hill, and fashion taken
from the inner-city ‘urban black youth culture’ (Collins, 2004, 122), the
teenage and young adult social identity changed quite heavily. Hip-Hop became
an international movement of cultural significance with a power to boost an
entire faction of communities (Odenthal, 2016). The Black community had turned
discontent from experienced injustices into a reconstructing of social
attitudes, and generated a system where artists could speak about their
personal problems or privileges, that many others could identify with, and turn
them into lyrical protests and have them put out on a platform. This system of
free-talking and venting, saw the rise of black female artists, such as Missy
Elliot, Lil’ Kim and Lauryn Hill who used their voices as a promotion of
self-expression and creativity. Lauryn Hill especially used her platform to
talk about matters such as young pregnancy with her son Zion, feminism and
black race matters (EXAMPLE). It was a point where women could start to stand
up and ‘depict themselves as independent, strong and self-reliant agents of
their own desire’ (Collins, 2004, 133), through talking about their private concerns,
emotions and matters, publicly, which was a step forward for a third wave
feminist movement that, by looking at popularity of black female artists at
this time, took increasing example from these strong cultural icons to help verify
their own sexual liberation and private sphere politics.

 

However, although the image of the empowered
black women was used widely across Hip-Hop culture, it has been argued that
there is a difficulty in “telling the difference between representations of
black women who are sexually liberated and who are sexual objects (Collins,
2004, 126-127). Many of Missy Elliot and Lil’ Kim’s songs are about sex and
money, and it could be said that they were speaking on these topics to try and
become relatable to a market that already favoured black artists such as, Biggie
Smalls and Tupac, who also often spoke of sex and money lyrically. Lil’ Kim
notably seemed as if she was selling her sexuality to sell to a commerce of popular
culture (ibid.)

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