At the Intersection of Sports, Hip Hop, Race, & Masculinity: How has Black Masculinity Connected Sports and Hip Hop Culture? How has This Connection Highlighted the Objectification, Commodification, and the Exploitation of Black Athletes and Hip Hop?
Date of Award
Dr. Grace Livingston
With the introduction and expansion of hip-hop scholarship over the past 30 years, hip-hop scholars have continued to connect the culture with various institutions across the United States and the rest of the world. And while hip-hop culture and sports have shared a connection for the past 25 and more years, the relationship between Black athletes and musicians is much deeper and much further rooted than that . Hip-hop is a culture that created an artistic identity for African Americans that represented free expressionism, bravado, and competition. As the culture has expanded, so has its content, imagery, and influence. For the past three decades, the influence of hip-hop has made its way to mainstream American sports through fashion (jerseys, shoes, accessories, etc.), playing style (individualistic, flashy, aggressive), and player attitudes/interactions (trash talk, aggressiveness, celebrations). Players such as Allen Iverson and Michael Vick who embodied what it meant to be a hip-hop athlete, were seen by their respective sports industries as thugs, gang members, and other negative portrayals of Black masculinity. All of these depictions but yet mainstream sports have capitalized off of Black athletes and their unique perspectives of fashion, music, and attitude. In order to understand modern athletes and modern Black athletes specifically, we must understand the connection and the influence that hip-hop culture has on sports. I hope that this research provides myself and other some background knowledge on the construction of Black masculinity that is defined by hip-hop and how it has transferred to sports.