Xinling Li, “Black Masculinity and Hip-Hop Music: Black Gay Men Who Rap” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)

In Black Masculinity and Hip-Hop Music: Black Gay Men Who Rap (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), XinLing Li offers an interdisciplinary study of hip-hop music written and performed by rappers who are black gay men. This study examines the storytelling mechanisms of gay themed lyrics, and how these form protests and become enabling tools for (black) gay men to discuss issues such as living on the down-low and HIV/AIDS. It considers how the biased promotion of feminized gay male artists/characters in the mainstream entertainment industry have rendered masculinity an exclusively male heterosexual property, providing a representational framework for men to identify with a form of “homosexual masculinity” – one that is constructed without having to either victimize anything feminine or necessarily convert to femininity. The book makes a strong case that it is possible for individuals (like gay rappers) to perform masculinity against masculinity, and open up a new way of striving for gender equality.

XinLing Li received his PhD in sociology from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Visit him online at

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