This article explores Nicki Minaj's play with the fraught, perverse, sexual subjectivities available to women of the African diaspora under the white supremacist imagination of dominant culture. Popular representations of black women's bodies as hypersexual, in corporeal excess and erotic desire, and abject—at once incapable of attaining white Western beauty standards and dangerously tempting to white men (and thus white hegemony)—are historically persistent images that overdetermine black women's sexual subjectivities. These hegemonic hermeneutics, which relegate black women's bodies as monstrous, circumscribe the freedom of desire and self-making available to black women, who are often forced to play the role of either the "whore or asexed," which Hortense J. Spillers identifies in "Interstices: A Small Drama of Words" (2003, 165). In examining Minaj's playful embrace of the perverse through her simultaneous sinister and honest heteronormative desires alongside queer challenges to heteropatriarchy, this article looks to open up the way we critically discuss black women hip-hop artists and their use of their bodies as sites of sexual play and desire by embracing the monstrous.


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pp. 47-68
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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