“I am King”: Hip-Hop Culture, Fashion Advertising, and the Black Male Body

in Troubling Vision

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780226253022
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226253053 | DOI:
“I am King”: Hip-Hop Culture, Fashion Advertising, and the Black Male Body

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This chapter investigates how the black male body becomes the iconic figure for a consumer culture rooted in urban music, black masculine aesthetics, and nationalism. The successes of hip-hop moguls in the fashion industry has depended on their ability to signify racialized and gendered specificity through the marketing of the urban black male icon while appealing to a wide range of young consumers of various races. The success of hip-hop fashion has depended on the tension it creates as performance and promotion in authenticating “the urban real” while mass marketing commodifies a new reading of “Americana” and “American”-ness. The refashioning and promotion of the new and cool America performed through the black male b-boy and produced by the hip-hop mogul were manifestations of globalization and the marketing of youthful and racialized alterity as a stylized and reproducible commodity.

Keywords: black male body; urban music; black masculine aesthetics; nationalism; hip-hop; fashion industry; globalization; marketing

Chapter.  10327 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cultural Studies

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