A feminist - and former model - scrutinizes hip-hop culture
Acknowledgments Prologue Sex, Power, and Punanny Introduction Pimpin' Ain't Easy, But Somebody's Got to Do It 1 "I See the Same Ho": Video Vixens, Beauty Culture, and Diasporic Sex Tourism 2 Too Hot to Be Bothered: Black Women and Sexual Abuse 3 "I'm a Hustla, Baby": Groupie Love and the Hip Hop Star 4 Strip Tails: Booty Clappin', P-poppin', Shake Dancing 5 Coda, or a Few Last Words on Hip Hop and Feminism Notes Index About the Author
T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting is Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies and French at Vanderbilt University, where she also directs the Program in African American and Diaspora Studies and serves as Director of the W. T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies. Author of four books, she was described by cultural critic and scholar Michael Eric Dyson as a rising "superstar" among black intellectuals and "one of the country's most brilliant and prolific racial theorists" in the Chicago Sun-Times in 2002. She has also co-edited three volumes, including The Black Feminist Reader.
This work by Sharpley-Whiting (African American & diaspora studies, French, Vanderbilt Univ.; Negritude Women) isn't a discussion of hip-hop and women but a look at women of the hip-hop generation (black people born between about 1965 and 1984). Topics range from strip clubs, groupie culture, and sex as a commodity to the ongoing idealization of white beauty and a cultural preference for, in the author's words, Ascriptive Mulattas (women of mixed race or lighter-skinned black or Latina women). Although clear and well written, the book suffers from superficial treatments of hip-hop, engaging only briefly with, e.g., controversial women rappers and women's role in the success of hip-hop music, especially on the dance floor. It serves as a decent jumping-off point to discussions of young black women in our current society, but a longer, more nuanced, and in-depth look at particulars would have been more useful. Nevertheless, Sharpley-Whiting has opened up the dialog, offering a source for research in a burgeoning area of study. Recommended for academic libraries catering to popular music or feminist studies programs.--Anna Katterjohn, Library Journal Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
"For B-girls who embrace both the brashness of Lil' Kim and the pro-feminism of Lauryn Hill, Pimps Up, Ho's Down is an intellectual look at the intricate, diverse attitudes of young black women within the hip hop community." The Source "Sharpley-Whiting brings both street smarts and sophisticated cultural analysis to her subject." Philadelphia Inquirer "Sharpley-Whiting gets at the heart of the paradox ... and puts the discussion on the turntable." Washington Post "Sharpley-Whiting's book does not suffer from the sort of cowardice one too often hears from black academics who genuflect to hip hop in order to stay current with the tastes of the[ir] students. Her book is high level in its research and its thought." Stanley Crouch, New York Daily News