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avatar for William H. Mosley, III

William H. Mosley, III

William Mosley is a PhD Candidate in African and African Diaspora Studies and Portfolio student in Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned an MA in English. He also holds a bachelor's degree from Amherst College. William's research examines contemporary expressive cultures from the black and queer South, with particular attention to representations of gender nonconformity, intersexuality, and transgender identity in hip hop, fiction and nonfiction, podcasts, video blogs, and social media. His work has been supported by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, Cornell University's School of Criticism and Theory, and the incredible network of black artists William is fortunate to call his friends.

"Can the ATLien Speak? Gender, Race, and the Politics of Performance in Contemporary Hip-Hop"
Arguing that the sonic and sartorial performances of musical artist Andre 3000 of Atlanta’s OutKast should be read as an intervention on prescriptions of black manhood, this paper analyzes the work of contemporary hip-hop artist Young Thug, who is also from Atlanta, and argues Thug to be the genealogical kin of Andre 3000’s legacy. As “ATLien” performers, Andre 3000 and Thug engage in performances of black male femininity, Black diasporic belonging, and approximate black queer material culture. Theorizing the performative labor of the figure of the “ATLien,” this paper argues that black male artists working in the shadow of Andre 3000 develop a traditionally gangster vocality alongside a genderfluid predilection for women’s fashion. Such aesthetic choices are further analyzed within the context of other formations of black “abject objecthood” across the African and African diaspora. This paper also argues that contemporary performances of black hip-hop artists are able to mobilize a politics of insurgency through the convergence of hypermasculine tropes of manhood and feminine performances of the black male body. The implications of which have resonance in the fields of Black genders and sexualities, Black Studies, Hip-Hop Studies, and American Studies.