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Music Video and the Politics of Representation$
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Diane Railton and Paul Watson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748633227

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633227.001.0001

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Music Video in Black and White: Race and Femininity

Music Video in Black and White: Race and Femininity

(p.87) 4. Music Video in Black and White: Race and Femininity
Music Video and the Politics of Representation

Diane Railton

Paul Watson

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter discusses the ways in which long-standing tropes of blackness and whiteness are used to develop different femininities for black and white women. It also deals with the relationship between music video and cultural identity. It then describes the videos by two contemporary pop stars, Beyoncé Knowles' ‘Baby Boy’ and Kylie Minogue's ‘can't Get You Out of My Head’. These videos stage specific performances of Knowles' and Minogue's personae which mobilise images of and ideas about the performers that pre-date the videos themselves. The representation of black female sexuality implies an essential sexuality that is already in and of the world while the presentation of white female sexuality always offers the potential for reinvention. While the videos presented are all still clearly concerned with the construction of black female sexuality, it is a sexuality of the present, cognisant of modernity and a subject of its own enunciation.

Keywords:   black female sexuality, blackness, whiteness, femininities, music video, cultural identity, Beyoncé Knowles, Baby Boy, Kylie Minogue, Can't Get You Out of My Head

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