Wayne Loves Baby: Queering Intimacy in Hip-Hop Culture

This talk explores what I call “illegible intimacy” or relationships that confound norms within both dominant and Black culture about how Black men interact. This talk considers the type of well-known, highly visible, and relatively stable passionate friendship that rappers Lil Wayne and Baby had as an example of a “platonic couple.” Platonic couples challenge the way queer theory collapses the boundaries between sexual desire, sexual identity, and emotional attachment. The sex of one’s sexual attraction, the basis of contemporary sexual orientation, can be separated from the sex of one’s emotional attachment. Platonic couples show that queer theory needs more nuanced language to describe the variability of how emotional attachment and sexual attraction are related in people’s lives. As the talk will show, the rigidity of how queer theory categorizes sexuality centers the experience of white middle-class people. The rigidity also shows how conventional ideas about masculinity creep into sexual categorization. By centering the experience of Black men, I offer a conceptualization of sexuality that gives autonomy to emotional attachment.


Dr. Antonia Randolph, Assistant Professor
Department of American Studies
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

About the Presenter

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Antonia Randolph is a cultural sociologist whose interests include diversity discourse in education, multicultural capital, non-normative Black masculinity, and the production of misogyny in hip-hop culture. She’s a member of the Scholars’ Network on Masculinity and the Well-Being of African American Men and a participant in the Women of Color Leadership Project of the National Women’s Studies Association. Her first book, The Wrong Kind of Different: Challenging the Meaning of Diversity in American Classrooms (Teachers College 2012), examined the hierarchies elementary school teachers constructed among students of color. https://www.tcpress.com/the-wrong-kind-of-different-9780807753859 She has also published in the Sociology of Race and EthnicityThe Journal of Contemporary EthnographyThe Feminist Wire and Scalawag Magazine. Her current book project, That’s My Heart: Queering Intimacy in Hip-Hop Culture examines portrayals of Black men’s intimate relationships in hip-hop culture.

Attend this Presentation

Day One (Friday, October 9th, 2020) | Session Two (7:00pm - 7:20pm)

Duration: 20 minutes

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