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HandWiki. Latina Stereotypes in Hip Hop. Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/36476 (accessed on 19 June 2024).
HandWiki. Latina Stereotypes in Hip Hop. Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/36476. Accessed June 19, 2024.
HandWiki. "Latina Stereotypes in Hip Hop" Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/36476 (accessed June 19, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, November 25). Latina Stereotypes in Hip Hop. In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/36476
HandWiki. "Latina Stereotypes in Hip Hop." Encyclopedia. Web. 25 November, 2022.
Latina Stereotypes in Hip Hop
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Beginning in the 1960s, hip hop music was centered around the ideas of cultural discourse in urban communities where Latinos and African Americans resided. Through this music, the lyrics quickly became misogynistic and violent in response to the way that these marginalized cultures viewed by mainstream society. Much of hip hop's beginnings can be traced back to the Bronx, New York, where the population consisted of mainly African-Americans and Latinos. During the 1960s and 1970s, New York City was in an economic slump. The conditions in the Bronx and other low income areas were substandard; issues facing the community included: insufficient housing, gang violence, and drugs. Blacks and Latinos came together to speak on their struggles, experiences, and lifestyles through hip hop. After recognizing these trends in hip hop/rap lyrics, mainstream media accredited hip hop culture with being inherently misogynistic. Due to the historic marginalization of Latinos and African Americans, the blame can be easily placed on hip hop artists for perpetuating this violent and masochistic culture. This is not something that is/was taken lightly by these communities of color; more rebellion through hip hop emerged. However, this movement did not attempt to fix the misogynistic elements of the music, and in turn, more women were being viewed as sexual objects within artist's works. Latinos, particularly Puerto Ricans, were at the forefront of the hip hop movement, however; they have often been forgotten in conversation. Nonetheless, we can see the presence and influence of Latinos in hip hop when we think about artist like: Africa Bambaataa & the members of the Zulu Nation (1960s), Latino DJ, DJ Disco Wiz (aka first Latino DJ in hip hop) & DJ Grandmaster Caz came together to form the Mighty Force (1974), DJ Charlie Chase of the Cold Crush Brothers (1975), Lee Quiñones & Lady Pink (1970s), and various others have allowed for Latinos to have a part in hip hop culture and hip hop history. Latina's also had a huge role in hip hop, women who were not on the hip hop stage take part in: the influence and making of music and hip hop performance, dancing of music, and graffiti art. Today we see Latinas like: La Caballota aka Ivy Queen (1995), Ana Bijoux (1995), Angie Martinez: "The Voice of New York" (1996), Hurricane G aka Gloria Rodriguez (1997), Mala Rodríguez (1990s), Lisa M: "The Queen of Spanish Rap" (1988), Nina Dioz (2009), Snow Tha Product aka Claudia Feliciano (2011), Mélony Redondo: MelyMel (2018) have been women who have all taken the stage and made their mark as Latina and Afro-Latina rappers/artist in the hip hop world.

hip hop culture melymel hip hop

1. Latinas in Hip Hop

Women of color have had a large influence in hip hop culture that often goes unrecognized in the media.[1] When they are represented, they are often portrayed in a stereotypical manner. Similar to Black women in hip hop, Latina women are also found shaking their behinds in music videos. In a Dr Pepper commercial, featuring Paulina Rubio and Celia Cruz, viewers are told to "Be You" and that Dr Pepper "promotes individuality", while the Latina dancers flaunt their torsos and "shake their bon-bons".[2] Within just this one example, the Latina stereotype is embodied, a pretty face, a great dancer, sexy, and hot.

2. Common Terms for Latina Women

  • "Nuyoriqueñas, Bori's, Boricuas" – used to speak about visibly Puerto Rican women (usually fair skinned)
  • "Mami", "chicas", "mamacita" – terminology used to speak about Latinas
  • "Negra", "morena", "trigueñita" – endearing terms used for Latinas of darker skin tone
  • "Butta Pecan Mami" - the stereotype of Puerto Rican and other Latinas as gold-skinned and good-haired[3]
  • "La Chica Mala" – the ideal sexy Latina at the club who is sexually provocative in her actions, dresses provocatively and can be aggressive if she needs to be[4]
  • "Mosquita Muerta" – appears innocent and quiet, but is trying to gain control over another’s life[5]
  • "La Chismosa" – gossiper[6]
  • "La Dolorosa" – literally meaning ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’, suffering woman[7][8]

3. The "Mami" Figure

The Mami figure in hip hop refers to a Puerto Rican (and more recently, Dominican) woman that is oversexualized and glamorized. The "Mami" figure is popular within rap culture; the term being coined by Raquel Z. Rivera in her chapter "Butta Pecan Mamis".[9] The "butta pecan mami" comes from the comparison of a woman's skin to butter pecan ice cream. This stereotype refers to lighter skinned Latina women with large butts, and long hair. She is a woman who is bold, loud, and streetwise. This stereotype has similar qualities to those stereotypes faced by black women in hip hop, however; the Latina women is seen as being in a higher position due to her perceived Eurocentric looks. This figure can be seen in many rap and hip hop songs. An example of this can be seen in the 1996 song "Still Not a Player" by rapper Big Pun. The lyrics are as follows:

"I love from butter pecan to blackberry molass'

I don't discriminate, I regulate every shade of the ass

Long as you show class and pass my test

Fat ass and breasts, highly intelligent bachelorettes

That's the best, I won't settle for less

I want a ghetto brunette with unforgettable sex."[10]

Here Big Pun refers to the loving women that are the complexion of butter pecan ice cream, blackberry molass', and everything in between. This reference to a ghetto woman that still adheres to Eurocentric beauty standards and still has enough class for the man's liking perpetuates the "Mami" stereotype.

Furthermore, a subset of the Mami figure is the "Tropicalized Mami Figure". This is a form of the idea of "latinidad, meaning this woman has all the features of the typical "Mami", but she exemplifies an exotic version of Black femininity.[11] The popularity of the Spanish language along with the exotic Mami figure can be seen in Diddy's 1997 song "Senorita". Some lyrics include:

"Mami ven aqui,/I wanna be your Papi chulo can't you see? /Baby I need you conmigo/Your style is my steelo te necesito yo aqui /Baby come to me".[12]

These lyrics helped bring the term to mainstream culture.[13]

4. The "Video Ho" and "Video Vixen"

The "Video Ho" is a fairly new concept, and can be considered more of a trope than a stereotype. "Video ho" is a label attached to mainly women of color, who are featured in hip hop and rap music videos and have a role dependent upon where they are a: dancer, stripper, sex worker, sexual desire of an artist, etc. Sharply-Whiting states that after decades of misrepresenting and hyper-sexualizing girls featured in videos, the video ho is a music industry construct, and lead to the formation of an "ideal" representation of what a women is supposed to look like if they are a "video ho" or "video vixen".[14]

The ideal look for a video ho / video vixen is a woman who is exotic, of fairer skin, is preferably and visibly ethnically mixed, with long curly or straight hair.[14] This is why many Latina woman are used as video hoes because they still have a full figure body of black women but with a European face. Even in hip-hop there is a beauty standard that values women who can pull off whiteness and puts down women of color for their skin tone. Websites like MTV.com and LAweekly.com list the hottest women who are video vixens and describe their role as being the "exotic dancers" as the "side dish" to the men performing.[15] Articles such as these focus more on the woman's bodies then their dancing and musical talents.

5. The Groupie

In the early 2000s Latina women became the beauty ideal in hip hop culture. Rappers would travel to Brazil and other places in South America, set up cameras and display their money so women would flock to them. Women in Brazil and in other countries in South America, that thrive off tourism, would become an American rapper's "groupie" to help make a living for themselves and their families."[16] Groupies are showered with expensive dresses, 5 star meals to the best restaurants and clubs, and VIP access to resorts all over the world. However, many women engage in this lifestyle just to make a living for their families and sacrifice time away from them if they need to travel around the world to fulfill their "duty."

Recently, groupie has been considered to be a profession because of the luxurious benefits that are allotted to these individuals who participate in the groupie lifestyle. Sometimes groupies are deemed as "gold diggers" but groupies provide status for the men they serve and are in agreement with them about their duties. Latina women especially are sought after to be groupies since they are more cultured individuals and can help male artists travel throughout South America with their own personal translator.

Latina groupies are also considered the most exotic and beautiful. Even though this beauty standard helps them obtain this position, it disables them from being taken seriously as women who want to pursue a career in hip hop or the music industry, as will be spoken more about in "Chorus Girl". Groupies are seen for their looks and not the talents they have to bring to the table. Also, since Latina women are over-represented as groupies it leads to the negative idea that majority of Latina women are gold diggers and do not have any intellect, talent, and ideals to offer except for their bodies.

6. The Chorus Girl

Reggaeton is such an important factor to the hip hop culture that unshockingly also forces women to be more masculine or use their body in music videos especially in reggaeton videos to make a statement.[17] There are not many women in the reggaeton family, due to the thought the stereotype that men dominant. Reggaetonera and a Chorus Girl are two different things in the Reggaeton culture.

Ivy Queen is considered to be a Reggaetonera[18] and Glory Castro is very well known for being a Chorus Girl within the Reggaeton culture. Reggaetoneras are considered to be more masculine and more dominant in their spaces. Ivy Queen did things that "broke the rules" of reggaeton. She has supported the LGBT community and through her music, aims to empower herself and others. She does not promote the disrespect of women and she is the center of her music videos; even when she is a featured artist in music she demands mutual respect. Contrasting this, Glory music does not yield to men, Glory yields to men by giving the attention they want in their music and she answers to their sexual pleasures. Glory has not made a name for herself and music because she always featured in a male reggaetonero song. As a Chorus girl you are considered to be more "slutty" and to be more around men to promote sex and appeal to the audience.[19]

Ivy Queen makes a statement with her clothes, fingernails, music and presence. She does not use her music to over-sexualize who she is and does not allow men to dominate her in her music or even when she is featured. Glory has come to be known as the girl who promoted "La Popola: The Pussy". This song was ultimately banned in the Dominican Republic for its vulgar content.[20]

References

  1. Basu, Dipannita; Harris, Laura (2004). Nobody Knows My Name, and an Interview with the Director Rachel Raimist. pp. 56–57. 
  2. "Reflect on the Issue". http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/kwalsh/EmpowderRoom/mirror.htm. 
  3. Rivera, Raquel (2003). BUTTA PECAN MAMIS: Topicalized Mamis: "Chocolate Calientè". Gordonsville, VA: Palsgrave Macmillan. pp. 127. 
  4. "Quiero Una Chica Mala". Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GNGVg-P7CE. 
  5. ""Es una mosquita muerta." - SpanishDict Answers". SpanishDict. http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/122238/es-una-mosquita-muerta. 
  6. "Chismoso - Spanish to English Translation | Spanish Central". http://www.spanishcentral.com/translate/chismoso. 
  7. "dolorosa: translation of dolorosa in English in Oxford dictionary (Spanish-English) (US)". http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/translate/spanish-english/dolorosa. 
  8. http://africana.fiu.edu/people/faculty-grad-presentations/stephens_mainstream_hip_hop.pdf
  9. Rivera, R. (2003-04-17) (in en). New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone. Springer. ISBN 9781403981677. https://books.google.com/books?id=mfvFAAAAQBAJ. 
  10. "Big Punisher (Ft. Joe) – Still Not A Player". https://genius.com/Big-punisher-still-not-a-player-lyrics. 
  11. Rivera, Raquel Z. (2003). New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone. Gordonsville, VA: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 113–149. 
  12. "PUFF DADDY LYRICS - Senorita". https://genius.com/Puff-daddy-senorita-lyrics. 
  13. Rivera, Raquel Z. (2003). New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone. Gordonsville, VA: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 120–121. 
  14. Shapley-Whiting, Demean T. (2008). ""I See the Same Ho": Video Vixens, Beauty Culture, and Diaspora Sex Tourism"". Pimps Up, Ho's Down: Hip Hop's Hold on Young Black Women. pp. 27. ISBN 9780814740644. 
  15. Danielle Bacher (27 July 2012). "Top 10 Sexiest Hip-Hop Video Vixens". L.A. Weekly. http://www.laweekly.com/music/top-10-sexiest-hip-hop-video-vixens-2403293. 
  16. Shapley-Whiting, Demean T. (2008). Pimps Up, Ho's Down: I'm a Hustla Baby: Groupie Love and the Hip Hop Star. pp. 30. ISBN 9780814740644. 
  17. Fairley, Jan (2007). How to Make Love with Your Clothes On. pp. 280–291. 
  18. Rivera-Rideau, Petra. Fingernails Con Feeling. Durham: Duke University Press. 
  19. Rivera-Rideau, Petra R. (2015). Remixing Reggeaton: Fingernails con Feeling. Duke University Press. pp. 104–129. 
  20. "Rapera puertorriqueña Glory agradece su pegada a "La popola"" (in es-ES). 2005-05-05. http://hoy.com.do/rapera-puertorriquena-glory-agradece-su-pegada-a-la-popola/. 
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