Sexualization, Exploitation, And Black Female Celebrities: On The Subtle Womanism of Rihanna and Nicki Minaj

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while. It was originally conceived as an examination of the "Stripper Anthem" as presented by Nicki Minaj and Rihanna in Beez In The Trap and Pour It Up, as it related to the sexuality and sexualization of black women, but after last week's post on Lily Allen, and some of the... ill-informed responses it received, I realized that there is a different conversation that needs to be had first.

That conversation is about the distinction between the exploitation of black women's sexuality for the (white) male consumerist gaze, and a black female celebrity's reclamation of her own sexuality on her own terms. For whatever reason, there seems to some difficulty in grasping the concept that the most significant difference between these two scenarios is agency, and the way in which the presence or lack of agency determines how a display of sexuality is to be perceived and received.

To that end, I want to examine the images presented in the aforementioned videos, deconstruct them, and demonstrate why despite popular belief, their respective "stripper anthems" are anything but demeaning.

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