Hashtags and hip-hop: exploring the online performances of hip-hop identified youth using Instagram

Della V. Mosley, Roberto L. Abreu, Ashley Ruderman, Candice Crowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Despite hip-hop’s popularity, little attention has been paid to its effects on youth gender performances on social media. This study has analyzed how youth who identify with three popular hip-hop songs interpreted the songs’ messages and performed their gender on the social media application Instagram (IG). Posts (N=450) from IG users were examined using modified consensual qualitative research procedures. Ten categories emerged that illustrate the range of gender performances which youth engaged in, each of which occurred within one of four domains: (a) mixed messages (self-love and visibility; relationships); (b) reified messages (party life; provocations; conspicuous consumption); (c) challenged messages (growth; making new meaning; teamwork); and (d) neutral messages (humor; other). The findings from this study illustrate the influential role of hip-hop music on youth gender performance in a natural context (IG). IG posts often mirrored, and in turn contributed to, the narrow range of acceptable gender performances in hip-hop, suggesting the need for youth media literacy skill development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-152
Number of pages18
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Gender
  • Instagram
  • hip-hop
  • identity development
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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