Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis - Campus Access


Communication Studies (CMST)

First Advisor

Nina M. Lozano-Reich, Ph.D.


One fascinating piece of hip-hop history is American R&B singer R. Kelly's introduction of the "hip hopera," a soap opera type story line portrayed in prose as a rap song. I focus my analysis on all thirty-three chapters of "Trapped in the Closet" by R. Kelly, which came out from 2005-2012. Utilizing Sonja Foss' idea of ideological analysis, I looked at the embedded ideologies of black masculinity and heteronormativity in black communities, especially those centered around the black church. I analyzed at the overall effectiveness of these chapters of a hip hopera, and potentiality to call to action for a change in these communities. The stereotypical and overdramatic portrayals of the characters and situations may contribute to political efficacy in producing a hegemonic viewpoint on homosexual black males, but also the prominence of black masculinity to the African-American population in the United States. I argue that as a hip hopera, it may depict moments of too much drama, but it can also help African-American men realize the absurdity of the emphasis of their masculinity and heterosexuality, and may soon lead to the positive acknowledgement of these black gay men.