Am I feeling myself? Rap music videos’ influence on adolescents’ concepts of self.

A few media studies have investigated cognitive processes of involvement with characters in rap music videos. The retentional process of parasocial interaction (when you feel you have a social relationship with the music artists similar to that of a friend, peer of counselor) is a necessary component of fandom (Kistler & Lee, 2009). Among the male participants in Kistler and Lee’s (2009) research, Hip Hop fandom was shown to be a significant predicator of objectification of women. Long-term exposure to rap music videos by fans may reinforce traditional gender attitudes and cause distorted sexual norms. The academic work of Ward et al. (2005) illustrates how the retentional process of wishful identification (Hoffner & Buchanan, 2005; Kistler & Lee, 2009; Kistler et al., 2010) influence adolescents’ mate selection beliefs. Black adolescents who found rap music videos entertaining and identified with rap artists in a ‘desire to be like the artist’ kind of way, endorsed the sexual stereotypes in rap music videos. In addition, they thought that characteristics like being rich, attractive, cool and athletic are more important in men and women than being intelligent, nice or funny.

The images in current commercial rap music videos promote sex and materialism. This study will explore how and to what extent social comparison processes and cognitive processes influence the effects of commercial rap music videos on Black adolescents’ concepts of self. This study will address the following research questions:

  1. How and to what extent does consumption of commercial rap music videos, mediated through the cognitive process of involvement, influence the concepts of self of Black late male adolescents?
  2. How and to what extent does consumption of commercial rap music videos, mediated through the cognitive process of involvement, influence the concepts of self of Black late female adolescents?

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