Department or Program



During the rise of hip hop, black male artists perpetuated a stereotypical masculinity—aggressive, strong, straight. While our society grapples with the concept of gender, we have been pushed to dismantle the stereotypes that come with binary categories of “male” and “female.” As social values have changed over time, so have those of musicians and songwriters. Artists like Frank Ocean and Tyler, The Creator offer their own definitions of masculinity as black queer men. This paper closely studies the careers’ origins of Frank Ocean and Tyler, The Creator as members of the collective Odd Future and examines how these artists have developed since their departure from the group. Ocean’s soft-spoken yet sensual lyrics and openness with his sexuality as a solo artist contrasts with Tyler, The Creator’s aggressive, and sometimes controversial, lyrics. While Tyler, The Creator has been accused of homophobia and misogyny, his decision to acknowledge his same-sex desire through his music challenges the stereotypical constructions of black masculinity that have historically been a feature of hip hop culture. Taken together, the development of Frank Ocean and Tyler, The Creator’s artistic voices over the past decade will guide my discussion of how representations of black masculinity in contemporary popular music have changed in the past fifty years. I will demonstrate how these representations of black masculinity have become more expansive and diverse than those of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s but have a ways to go to embrace intersectional identities connected to race, gender, and sexuality.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Chapman, Dale

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 .docx file

Open Access

Available to all.