Using a feminist lens and a constructivist approach as the theoretical framework, we used rap lyrics and videos to help college students explore mass media’s representation of the “independent” Black woman and the concept of “independence” in general. Students must be able to formulate their own concept of independence to counteract the messages and stereotypes they receive in popular culture through advertisements, film, print and music. The authors found that independence is situationally defined and it is a complex concept that is differentiated in consideration of age, race, and gender. Participants noted that rap music has the potential to influence their definitions and perceptions of rap music. More educational opportunities are needed where students can utilize constructivist pedagogies in order to become more critically aware of the influence of the media and systems of social stratification.

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