Adolescent Women Look to Hip-Hop as Influencer in Identity Development

Mar 30, 2021

Hip-hop is its own unique culture, complete with music, fashion and art.

Dr. Ashley Payne, assistant professor of psychology at Missouri State University, studies hip-hop based education and identity development of Black adolescent girls and college-aged women.

As she studies how hip-hop plays a role forming racial, gender, sexual and academic identities, she also looks at a major player in U.S. culture: social media.

"How are hip-hop artists presenting themselves on social media? How are they representing themselves with their music on social media," asks Payne. "And how are adolescents looking at that - and how are college women looking at that - repackaging it and implementing that into their own identity development processes?"

Payne points out that social movements and political discourse has long been evident in hip-hop. The music has often shown a light on the disparities and tragedies of the Black experience.

She shares how movements, like Black Lives Matter and Me Too, permeate the culture.

"How are artisits integrating those movements into their music persona? How are they integrating those things into their online presence," she asks. "Young women see the strength in the women artists who are doing these things, and they take that strength and implement it into their own social environments."