Gender and Language, Vol 12, No 3 (2018)

‘She don’t need no help’: deconsolidating gender, sex and sexuality in New Orleans bounce music

Christina Schoux Casey, Maeve Eberhardt
Issued Date: 22 Oct 2018


New Orleans bounce music is a dance-oriented hip-hop form that has emerged as a notably non-normative genre, in which queer Black bounce artists destabilise binary cultural paradigms and emphasise queerness as inclusive and relational. We explore how five artists' lyrics and public personae actively refute the consolidated, naturalised nexus of gender, sex, and sexuality by disentangling each of the three strands from one another. In order to explore how this is accomplished, we created a corpus of bounce lyrics. We analysed lexical indices of gender; self-positioning as feminine subjects; sexual subject-object positioning; normalisation of sex between men; retention of masculine subjectivities; and rejection of gender binarism. Further, the artists repeatedly expose the ubiquitous nature of sex between men in their lyrics, working to assert its existence and normalcy in the popular imagination. The bounce artists we analyse expose and articulate forms of deviance, expressing a blackness and queerness that insists on making visible the humanity and sexuality of Black people and queer people. Bounce music, made by queer people of colour, for an audience of predominantly poor, heterosexual women of colour, is a communitarian cultural labour.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.32522


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