In light of Jean Grae’s recent identification as nonbinary, Shanté Paradigm Smalls’ chapter on her in Hip-Hop Heresies, a book about queer identity in hip-hop culture, is enlightening. The author, an associate professor at St. John’s University, shines a light on the rapper’s “God’s Gift” from Attack of the Attacking Things, where Grae impersonates a man in love with his own masculine prowess. “Grae performs masculinity better than most male emcees recording music,” writes Smalls. “Grae is both experimenting with a Black feminist project and performing gender — serious gender play, or gender play with weight and depth — in her performance…Grae uses her body — her voice and incredible skills as an emcee — to expose the masculine performance of misogynoir and its affects.” Meanwhile, Grae, who said years ago that rap was a “former career,” now focuses on satirical work for Patreon, among other places. “Non binary being the closest thing I can choose that fits. I’d rather choose nothing at all. I’m just me. Being,” Grae wrote on Twitter.
Generation “Notti Bop”
In an article on the “Notti Bop” craze inspired by a teen’s murder, New Yorker writer Jody Rosen avoids making aesthetic judgements.