Bettina Judd | Author of Patient

Bettina Judd

Art. Feminism. Femme Fire.

She’s My Best Friend: Super-Femme Lesbian Presences in Dirty South Rap

In this article I argue that the lesbian possibilities within Hip-Hop are fashioned by a figure that has always been present in African American culture.  Here, as a nod to her gendered and queer performance, I call her the Super-Femme. Southern women rappers like Khia and Jacki-O access elements of this morphing cultural figure. The following is an examination of the Super-Femme and the ways in which she: 1) embodies the queer and feminine possibilities within African American culture that are evident even where there is clear homophobic and misogynistic behavior that permeate the cultural landscape; 2) dominates where lesbian discourse may center female masculines; 3) switches out ideas of feminine weakness and servitude for empowerment and female centered desire; and 4) challenges dominant discourse by using its language to her advantage, slipping under the radar of transgression and bringing a few female apprentices with her along the way. In describing these four core Super-Femme powers, this paper will shed light on how she navigates the masculinist (yet suspiciously male homosocial) Hip-Hop environment through spectacular performances of femininity and sexual desire. These spectacles center female pleasure and create homosocial spaces for women.

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