Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication


Journalism & Mass Communication

First Advisor

Joel Geske


This study looks at how young African-American males specifically in the state of Iowa construct their blackness in an environment where Blackness is lost in a White dominant space. I used Holland et al. theory “Figuring Worlds” as a foundation to how the study will go. In the theory, it explains that “social forces” or social expectations do not directly influence but dictate who we are and/or what we do govern people. I used rap music as a social force to examine rap music as a social force that governs who people are and what they do. Since rap music is prominent in the African-American community and since rap music narrates the lives of African-American men experiences, I chose to sample young African-American men who actively consume rap music to see how they construct their own identity negotiated through rap music.

The study showed that African-American men use Rap music as a tool towards negotiating their perceived identity. Rap music serves as a feeder for African-American youth in negotiating their blackness and socially learning how to practice their identity by popularity. Although, majority of the participants in the study agreed that Rap music does not directly assist in their understanding, they did agree that Rap music was used as significant impact on their identity by helping them understand the artifacts associated with Blackness by recognizing actors who exemplify and serve as a model of Blackness, certain outcomes are valued over others by observation or social learning, and significance is assigned to certain acts by practicing or exercising their understood identity


Copyright Owner

Jovan Hendrix Johnson



File Format


File Size

54 pages