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Elaine Kathryn Andres

Elaine Kathryn Andres is a PhD student in Culture and Theory at UC Irvine. Her research interests broadly focus on narrative and performance as praxis with a particular interest in popular music and digital/visual culture. She holds a BA in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley.

“Singable Sexuality: Booty Eating and Jhené Aiko’s Performance of Contingent Hypersexualities”
Omarion’s 2015 release “Post to Be” became a summer hit, riding the coattails of Jhené Aiko’s line: “He gotta eat the booty like groceries.” The sweetly sung, standout lyric is the inspiration for memes and GIFs, and provides this summer’s soundbite for numerous renditions on social media. The hashtag “#EatTheBootyLikeGroceries” indexes a distinct moment in popular music as other artists, notably Nicki Minaj, have more frequently made lyrical mention of analingus. However, the exceptional uptake of Aiko’s reference and the widespread circulation of her performance occasions pause. 

I will examine Aiko’s line and its afterlife through Aiko’s emphatic, ongoing self-representation as Black and Japanese American. In the Hypersexuality of Race, Celine Parreñas Shimizu argues that race-positive sexuality “embrace[s] the liberating possibilities of sexuality while also acknowledging the risks of reifying perversity and pathology traditionally ascribed to women of color in popular culture” (144). Dominant representational regimes continue to render Black female sexuality as wild and excessive while Asian women simultaneously signify the “innocence” of the model minority myth alongside exotic difference and proclivity for perversion. Through an analysis of Aiko’s performances in the music video and in interviews regarding the line as articulations of a race-based sexual politics, I will evaluate how Aiko blurs and resignifies myths of Black and Asian hypersexuality.

Moreover, I will illustrate how the discussion of analingus finds its voice in popular culture through Aiko's performance of a playful racialized sexuality. I will examine reception of the line through its radio censorship, write-ups, and its engagement on social media. I argue that the singable and catchy nature of the lyric invites both reproduction and reinterpretation and enables its audience to engage in (as Shimizu puts it) “politically productive practices in terms of our interpretation” of analingus and its imagined relationships to bodies of color (180).

“Digital Prosumers Vocalize Identity”
This panel is interested in how digital media and mobile technologies have enabled musicians and fans to navigate the restrictions of social location.  Against the liberal humanism that presumes music a universal mode of expression, the three presentations of this panel take queer of color and women of color feminist analytics to illuminate the racialized and sexualized scripts underwriting popular music performances, genres, and spaces.  Working in the varied and often embattled genres of pop, indie rock, and R&B, the papers of this panel acknowledge that digital technologies have enabled consumers to act also as cultural producers, and argue that this shift has invited modes of silencing and expression that are simultaneously novel and preexisting.  Collectively, we ask: How has 21st century digital prosumption enabled those at the margins of the musical marketplace to negotiate racial and sexual identifications and desires?  Jessica Pruett begins by examining how lesbian-identified One Direction fans’ posts on the blogging platform Tumblr challenge monolithic images of the white, heterosexual girl-fan.  Douglas Ishii continues this inquiry by interrogating the philic and phobic relations between whiteness, Blackness, and Asian American identity in Daniel Destin Cretton’s film about the decaying indie rock scene, I Am Not a Hipster (2012).  Elaine Andres concludes by analyzing Jhene Aiko’s line, “He gotta eat the booty like groceries,” and its reception in radio and social media, as an articulation of race-based sexual politics based on Aiko’s multiracial Black/Asian body.  This session will be moderated by Seattle-based musician and director Christopher PaperSon Woon, whose independent documentaries on hip-hop engage the same issues of digital media, difference, and community that this panel aims to engage.

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