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Art Critique Essay Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

A Ratchet Lens: Black Queer Youth, Agency, Hip Hop, and the Black Ratchet Imagination

By Bettina L. Love, 2017

This article explores the utilization of the theory of a Black ratchet imagination as a methodological perspective to examine the multiple intersections of Black and queer identity constructions within the space of hip hop. In particular, I argue for the need of a methodological lens that recognizes, appreciates, and struggles with the fluidity, imagination, precarity, agency, and knowledge production of Black queer youth who create and consume hip hop. As an example, I apply a Black ratchet imagination methodological perspective to an examination of New Orleans’s bounce culture. I conclude the article by underscoring the need for humanizing, hyper-local, and messy theoretical frameworks that provide further context for research investigating Black queer youth whose identities are informed by the culture of hip hop. Keywords: arts education, Black education, cross-cultural studies, cultural analysis, diversity, gay/lesbian studies, gender studies, qualitative research

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