Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology & Research

Committee Chair

Denise Winsor

Committee Member

Susan Nordstrom

Committee Member

Celia Anderson

Committee Member

Christian Mueller


Hip-hop has been shown to be a significant force of identity, knowledge, and cultural development, particularly for Black youth (Brown, 2009; Emdin, 2010; Hill, 2009; Love, 2012). Building on research surrounding identity and knowledge development within hip-hop, this Black/hip-hop feminist research study seeks to understand the role that hip-hop plays in the lives, identity and personal epistemology of Black adolescent girls. The following research questions guided this study: (1) What role does hip-hop (i.e., rap, dance, and graffiti) play in the lives of Black girls? (2) How does hip-hop inform racial and gendered identity for Black girls? (3) How do Black girls negotiate their racial and gender identities through hip-hop? (4) How does hip-hop inform Black girls personal epistemologies and worldviews? 6 Black girls from an urban city in the mid-southern region of the United States participated in this study. Semi-structured interviews, non-participant observations, and researcher journals were collected and analyzed using thematic analysis (Saldana, 2016) to understand how these cultural mechanisms influence identity, worldview, and knowledge for Black girls. Results showed the following themes: hip-hop as a coping mechanism, hip-hop as a critique of hegemonic ideologies of Blackness and Black girl/womanness, hip-hop as community, and hip-hop as negotiating knowledges. This research study demonstrates the importance of hip-hop in promoting resiliency, challenging/critiquing/creating racial and gender identities, and using hip-hop as a community for learning. This study also demonstrates the importance of identity development in the epistemic process.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.