Body as Evidence: Mediating Race, Globalizing Gender by Janell Hobson

By Janell Hobson

Analyzes how race and gender intersect within the rhetoric and imagery of pop culture within the early twenty-first century.

In Body as Evidence, Janell Hobson demanding situations postmodernist dismissals of id politics and the delusional trust that the Millennial period displays a “postracial” and “postfeminist” global. Hobson issues to assorted examples in cultural narratives, which recommend that new media depend on previous ideologies within the shaping of the physique politic.

Body as Evidence creates a theoretical mash-up of prose and poetry to light up the ways in which our bodies nonetheless topic as websites of political, cultural, and electronic resistance. It does so by means of interpreting numerous representations, from renowned indicates like American Idol to public figures just like the Obamas to high-profile situations just like the Duke lacrosse rape scandal to present developments in electronic tradition. Hobson’s examine additionally discusses the ladies who've fueled and retooled twenty-first-century media to make experience of antiracist and feminist resistance. Her discussions contain the electronica of Janelle Monáe, M.I.A., and Björk; the feminist movie odysseys of Wanuri Kahiu and Neloufer Pazira; and the embodied resistance discovered easily in elevating one’s voice in tune, making a weblog, donning a veil, stripping bare, or planting a tree. Spinning wisdom out of this knowledge overload, Hobson deals a world black feminist meditation on how bodies mobilize, destabilize, and decolonize the meanings of race and gender in an more and more digitized and globalized world.

“By racializing the research of know-how, Janell Hobson brings to the vanguard a few vitally important concerns in regards to the electronic divide. there's a tendency in a few parts of academia to wholeheartedly have a good time new applied sciences with out giving adequate idea to how type, gender, race, and geographical divisions have an effect on either the construction and intake ends of the chain.” — Gail Dines, coeditor of Gender, Race, and sophistication in Media: A serious Reader, 3rd variation

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Set against a white backdrop, the three black female bodies on display in this stark black‑and‑white video more than highlight black female sensibilities appropriated by black gay choreographer JaQuel Knight, who borrows from the J‑Setting dance, a then‑popular dance among Atlanta’s black gay club dwellers, which signifies on the choreography of the Prancing J‑Settes, an all‑black female dance troupe from Jackson State University in Mississippi. As a result, the video presents the black female body reappropriating black femininity even as it engages in queer subtext.

Once this silence has been broken, their singing becomes an act of resistance, voicing feminist protest and altering the political soundscape. What remains in question is how (and if ) these voices maintain their power when they become a musical spectacle on a reality TV show. Pop Goes Democracy 31 RACE, GENDER, AND THE POLITICS OF VOCALITY The legacy of black women’s “protest” singing is long and varied. Whether we point to the quintessential protest song that was Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”—recorded the same month that Marian Anderson performed at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, in the wake of the Daughters of the American Revolution refusing to permit her performance at Constitution Hall4—or to Fannie Lou Hamer’s televised singing of “Go Tell it On the Mountain” during the civil rights movement, this musical resistance has a rich vocabulary and tonality.

Not long after the video’s October release, numerous copycat videos emulating Beyoncé’s dance moves uploaded onto the social network site YouTube, thus beginning what could arguably be called the first Internet‑based dance craze. Significantly, Beyoncé’s video premiered on MTV’s Total Request Live, which ended its ten‑year run on television the following month. ”1 That Beyoncé’s video found “second life” in cyberspace demonstrates her savvy sense of cultural relevance, as well as Big Media’s efforts in marketing pop stars through crossover multimedia platforms.

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