This week we continued our discusion of sound, though we focused more specifically on the gendering of sound. This might be a far stretch from what we actually read, but the readings started me thinking about the gendering of particular queer sounds. I stumbled upon openly gay rapper Fly Young Red’s song/video, “Throw That Boy P***y,” and was stuck for a while thinking about how heteronormative the song seemed, well, notwithstanding the direct focus on men. You want to see the video & listen to him rap?
**NSFW & Trigger Warning**
I suppose the thing that connected this to the readings for me was how even though this male’s voice is male, and would be commonly accepted within rap circles, the content of the song is the thing that throws people for a loop (like, hold up, wait. His voice and the content DON’T MATCH!). So, even though the sound of the rapper’s voice is telling of their gender (and through our socialization we come to accept and laud men’s voices over women), this instance is telling of the marginalization of queer voices as well (even if the voices themselves seem “normatively acceptable”). If the voice doesn’t fit our social schema, then we become confused (and in that confusion we become upset and disturbed). There was a major uproar and backlash following the video’s debut, with people claiming this was the sign of the times, that the apocalypse is upon us, and even simple retorts showing distaste for the crude lyrics.
The interesting thing is that we can talk about/sing about queer relations, when we are white, straight, and instrumentalizing queer voices (and be lauded):
This, I would argue is lauded because, well, it’s telling the homonationalist version of homosexual relationships. It’s tying all the ends up in a pretty little bow, and making it digestible to the masses. It fits the social schema, we aren’t confused by the dominant voice, and all is white, I mean right in the world. Homosexuals have the same type of loving relations as normal people, Right? (sarcasm)
Back to Fly Young Red.
So, my questions would be about the sociocultural connection to voice, and representation through sound. When you throw in particular situations (like the one I have just raised) into the mix, what does that do to the broader discussion of the power of sound, gendering of sound, and queering of it? What do we do with cognitive dissonance? In the case of Fly Young Red, it seemed like the sound almost negated the [socially feminized] sexuality, but our attention to his sexuality (expressed in his lyrics and the overt sexual images in his video) won overall.