Uploaded by Melat Behailu

Lil Kim and the Resurrection of the

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Lil Kim and the Resurrection of the “Jezebel” image of the African American
Woman
Background: She was born under the name Kimberly Denise Jones on July 11, 1975 in
Brooklyn New York. Her parents got divorced when she was 9 years old, which forced her to
live with her father with whom she did not get along with. She debuted as part of Biggie Small’s
group Junior M.A.F.I.A and released her debut album “Hardcore” this along with her singles and
albums such as “The Notorious K.I.M” caused her to become a sex symbol in the hip hop
industry.
Working Thesis: My working thesis is that through her reputation and lyrics, Lil Kim promotes
the image of the “Queen Bitch” which promotes the idea of the sexually free and dominant black
female. This allows Lil Kim to grant black women access to master their sexuality in a culture
that hypersexualizes them and as a result forces them to strive for virtue to oppose the
stereotypes against them. The use of sexually explicit lyrics by Lil Kim is emancipating for
women however, this appropriation of masculine language and behavior is contradictory as it
promotes the view of women as sexual objects.
Connection to the Harlem Renaissance: I am connecting Lil Kim to poet Audre Lorde. Lil
Kim realizes the power that comes with taking control of her sexuality much like Lorde suggests
in her essay “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power”. This essay discusses the power of
sexuality and how women have been stripped of it and more importantly how they can reclaim
this power.
“The master’s tool will never dismantle the Master’s house…and this fact is only threatening to
those who still define the Master’s House as their only source of support” –Audre Lorde.
Method: I will be writing from the discipline of Sociology combined with a feminist method of
critique. By choosing Sociology as my discipline I hope to be able to analyze the effect of the
“Queen Bitch” image on gender roles and perceptions of sexuality in the eyes of the African
American community. By approaching it from a feminist method of critique I hope to be able to
analyze how Lil Kim’s work both subverts and reinforces the oppression of women.
Questions that I hope to answer:
a. Does the reclaiming of the “Jezebel” successfully empower black women or simply
reinforce their oppression and exploitation?
b. Is the image of the “Queen Bitch” really a call for gender equality or a call for
complete female dominance?
c. How has the contrast between female artist such as Queen Latifah and Lil Kim
established a choice in how women choose to empower themselves?
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