Larissa Irizarry's Research on Hip Hop and Black Lives Matter

Musicology doctoral candidate Larissa Irizarry is embarking on a busy season of conference presentations during the spring and summer of 2021. She will present her research on Janelle Monáe in May for the International Association for the Study of Popular Music and in June for the Cultural Studies Association.

For the June Conference of the Society for American Music, Irizarry has organized a panel titled “Hip Hop Activism: A Sonic Index of #BlackLivesMatter in America.” As part of that panel she will present her paper “’Hell You Talmbout?’: In Sonic Protest of Police Brutality” in which she explores hip hop’s ongoing critique of racial injustice, focusing in on Wondaland Record’s “Hell You Talmbout?”. About the song Irizarry writes,

“This is a song that continues to be tragically amended with new names and is consequently a sonic index of #BlackLivesMatter. In tandem with its bleak content, this mournful protest anthem, when put into dialogue with Monáe’s surrounding work, offers a politically queer love-politic that aligns with the #BlackLivesMatter mission of countering acts of violence, by ‘creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy.’”

For the 2021-22 academic year, Irizarry has been awarded a Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship to complete work on her dissertation “Performing Political Affect: The Alter Egos of Janelle Monáe, Nicki Minaj, and Beyoncé."

Listen to Larissa discuss her research on this April 2020 episode of The Music at Pitt Podcast.