Understanding the White, mainstream appeal of hip-hop music
Blackshear, Janise Marie
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This study explores why young, White, suburban adults are consumers and fans of hip-hop music, considering it is a Black cultural art form that is specific to African-Americans. While the hip-hop music industry is predominately Black, studies consistently show that over 70% of its consumers are White. Through focus group data, this thesis revealed that hip-hop music is used by White listeners as a means for negotiating social group memberships (i.e. race, class). More importantly, the findings also contribute to the more public debate and dialogue that has plagued Black music, offering further evidence that White appropriation of Black cultural artifacts (e.g., jazz music) remains a constant, particularly in the case of hip-hop. While the findings are not generalizable to all young White suburban consumers of this genre of music, it may be inferred that a White racial identity does not help this group of consumers relate to hip-hop music.