A Performative Account of Black Girlhood

Ruth Nicole Brown

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter provides a performative account of black girlhood for youth coming of age during Obama’s presidency. Drawing on the theoretical and methodological praxis of new black, hip hop feminism, the chapter contends that the race-gender norms of academic discourse and political activism continue to place arbitrary limits on black girls. Through performance, the chapter challenges readers to (re)imagine classroom learning and the meaning of political activism. For girls too young to vote, political power is created and exercised in girl-centered spaces, in which they can remix identity performance and disrupt hegemonic projections of black female identity. Reflecting on the tragic murders of Sakia Gunn and Hadiya Pendleton, the chapter considers the ways grassroots efforts can change the devaluing of black life in society. Specifically, it focuses on the organization Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truths, an intergenerational program that offers new opportunities for black girls.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Hip Hop & Obama Reader
EditorsTravis L. Gosa, Erik Nielson
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199341801, 9780199341818
StatePublished - Nov 3 2015


  • Barack Obama
  • hip hop
  • black girls
  • youth organizations
  • performance
  • feminism
  • education
  • Sakia Gunn
  • Hadiya Pendleton
  • gay rights


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