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For this week, watch Janelle Monae’s videos for the song “Pynk,” as well as Nicki Minaj’s “Chun Li.”

Janelle MonĂ¡e – PYNK [Official Video]Links to an external site.

Loading media…Minimize embedded content

Nicki Minaj – Chun-LiLinks to an external site.

After you do that, please read the criticism on all of these videos. I am not going to direct you to any specifically, because I want to see what you find and what you end up choosing. 

I’d like you to write an informed response to these videos, complicated by the criticism you’ve read. 2 pages of response double spaced per video, but you can write it as one long response. Please do not try to submit more than one document, because Canvas doesn’t allow it.

I want you to think about what these two particular videos do for the hip hop movement, especially in light of the #metoo movement and Janelle Monae’s embracing of gender fluidity and sexual fluidity, as compared with the recent criticism regarding appropriation (if you don’t know what this means, please look it up – you may also find it useful to look up the recent backlash that a white teenage female received for posting photos of her and her friends on social media wearing a traditional Asian dress to her prom) of Nicki Minaj’s video for “Chun Li.” Hint: Janelle Monae and Nicki Minaj are not doing the same thing. 

To speak to these questions, you may (and probably should) address the history of hypermasculinity within the beginnings of the hip hop movement, and how Monae and Minaj, although in different ways, approach being female within a largely male-dominated genre. But, make sure you do not center your response on the men you use as points of comparison, but use them to more clearly contextualize the moving images and musical choices of these two female artists. 

Also, let’s think, too, about the movement in these works and what that movement does to lend itself to either racial or gendered expressions happening in the videos themselves.


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