Date of Completion
Honors Thesis - Campus Access
Communication Studies (CMST)
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.
Rosales, Monica, "Ideological Analysis of "Trapped in the Closet": Portrayal of Black Masculinity and Homosexuality in a Hip Hopera" (2014). Honors Thesis. 58.