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hip hop vs. america – video girls

The following clip comes from a Black Tree TV production. It drew from a 2007 BET special that explored a number of issues surrounding the intersections between rap and hip hop, African American culture, and the broader American society. This clip focuses on the “video girls” of hip hop culture, and the controversies surrounding the use of black females in hip hop videos. With voices from rappers, video models, academics and others, this conversation is a nuanced look at the complicated state of black in femininity as illustrated through hip hop culture.


Dr. Dyson argues that hip hop has helped to “reduce the complexity of black female identity to the gluteus maximus.” What does he mean by this statement?

Do you think hip hop has negatively impacted the status and role of black women in society? In what ways?

What is the role of the “video girl” in this process?

Should video girls be held accountable for being part of a process of exploitation? Should they be applauded for finding creative ways to make a living?

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