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Friday, April 27 • 9:00am - 11:00am
Remixing Post-Soul Black Masculinity

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  1. David Gilbert  "Funking-Up Lift: Parliament/Funkadelic’s Radical Representations of Black Masculinity"
  2. Charles L. Hughes "Size Ain’t Shit”: Bushwick Bill, Sex and Disability"
  3. Tyina Steptoe "Hip Hop’s Queer Masculinities"
Moderator: Christina Zanfagna

From brooding bluesmen to hip-hop gangstas, the history of Black popular music is often structured around iconic figures of Black manhood. These presentations, usually connected to broader tropes and stereotypes surrounding African American men, often limit the cultural presentation of Black music and Black masculinity. But they have also provided Black artists with fertile terrain to trouble existing boundaries of race, gender and sexuality through their music, even (or perhaps especially) when working within the genres that produced them. This panel considers several of those artists, spotlighting iconoclastic figures from funk to hip-hop to musical theatre whose work pursues alternative musical conceptions of Black masculinity. David Gilbert shows how the work of George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic created “more inclusive, transgressive identities for African-American men” that both affirmed and challenged the advances of the Civil Rights and Black Power era. Tyina Steptoe considers how Lil Kim’s work with male collaborators “allowed young black men to perform aspects of femininity” and queerness “without drawing homophobic backlash” in a cultural and musical era of “masculine hardness.” Charles L. Hughes addresses how the Geto Boys’s Bushwick Bill performed a disabled remix of hip-hop masculinity that “negotiated the hypersexuality often attached to Black men and the asexualization ascribed to the disabled.” Finally, Lisa B. Thompson analyzes Colman Domingo’s recent, soul-influenced production A Boy and His Soul as “both a coming of age narrative and a coming out story” that “explores black masculinities and highlights the fundamental relationship between soul music, memory, identity and cultural belonging within African American culture.” Addressing intersections between race, gender, sexuality and disability, and utilizing both close analysis and broad context, the panelists will argue that these musicians are crucial to understanding the shifting terrain of Black masculinity – musical or otherwise – in a post-soul world.

avatar for David Gilbert

David Gilbert

David Gilbert is an assistant professor of U.S. history at Mars Hill University, in Asheville, North Carolina. His manuscript, The Product of Our Souls: Ragtime, Race, and The Birth of the Manhattan Musical Marketplace, was published by UNC Press in 2015 and received the American... Read More →
avatar for Charles L. Hughes

Charles L. Hughes

Charles L. Hughes is the Director of the Lynne & Henry Turley Memphis Center at Rhodes College. His acclaimed first book, Country Soul: Making Music and Race in the American South, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2015. He has published and spoken widely... Read More →
avatar for Tyina Steptoe

Tyina Steptoe

Tyina Steptoe is an associate professor of history at the University of Arizona. Her work focuses on race, gender, and popular culture. She is the author Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City, which won the 2016 Kenneth Jackson Award for Best Book from the Urban History... Read More →
avatar for Christina Zanfagna

Christina Zanfagna

Christina Zanfagna is an ethnomusicologist and Associate Professor at Santa Clara University Her recent book, Holy Hip Hop in the City of Angels, explores the intersections of religion, race, and geography in gospel rap in Los Angeles. Christina has written journalistic and scholarly... Read More →

Friday April 27, 2018 9:00am - 11:00am PDT
Learning Labs MoPOP, 325 5th Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98109

Attendees (6)