Subject Area



From hottentot venus to Cardi B, the influence of the white representation and the treatment of the black female body has shaped a culture of oppression amongst Black women, having surpassed the white community and trickled into the black community. In hip hop culture, reality television, and social media, black women are portrayed as angry and are stereotyped as ghetto and ignorant. On the music scene woman are always sexualized under the male gaze, however now that we are in the twerk era Cardi B is giving a new perspective to the representation of women in hip hop. By using her body and erotic power she is moving forward to reclaim her body. I support this act by further questioning how do we reclaim the black female body? Barbara Thompson answers this by stating that, “One cannot create a new and unfettered visual language about the black female body without first decolonizing, diversifying and rewriting its history.” Through my own investigation I am turning the lens inward and filtering my experience through my body and identity. Searching for the erotic and its release, I am looking to understand the power of the erotic and how to achieve erotic power. When I say erotic power, I am not talking about sexual power and pornography. I am referring to a feminine power that we as women suppress and leave unacknowledged. At the conclusion of this essay, I am working to expand the conversation of the representation of the black female body and how we can overcome years of oppression and suppression to reclaim our bodies.

KEY WORDS: Black Women. Black bodies, lgbtq, Hottentot Venus, Cardi B, Hip Hop, Erotic, Identity.

Degree Date

Spring 5-11-2019

Document Type


Degree Name



Division of Art


Brian Molanphy

Second Advisor

Barnaby Fitzgerald

Third Advisor

Lauren Woods

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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