Date of Award

May 2019

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Media Studies

Advisor(s)

Carolyn Hedges

Keywords

Beyoncé, Black Culture, Black Placemaking, Cultural Studies, Representation, US Popular Culture

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

This qualitative research seeks to understand entertainment media that is developed ‘for the culture.’ This study illustrates how Hunter, Pattillo, Robinson and Taylor’s (2016) concept of Black placemaking can be used to understand how Black people place-make Black culture into American mainstream popular culture. Beyoncé’s 2018 Coachella performance, or “Beychella,” was used as an entry point to further develop the concept of Black placemaking in the media. A cultural studies framework was utilized to understand the work Black artists, like Beyoncé, are doing with Black culture in American popular culture. NVivo 12 Plus, Microsoft Word and Windows Media Player were used to textually analyze a YouTube video of the live streamed Beychella performance through simultaneous concept and value coding and focused coding to uncover the dominant ideological themes encoded in Beychella. Five themes emerged from Black placemaking in Beychella: (1) The Beyoncé University, (2) celebration of identity, (3) Beyoncé’s place, (4) representation of Black popular culture and (5) resistance. Findings suggest Beyoncé’s intention to do a performance that was impactful for Black culture and American popular culture. Likewise, Beyoncé’s Coachella performance has arguably changed what it means to occupy space on a stage and perform forever.

Keywords: Beyoncé, Black culture, Black placemaking, cultural studies, entertainment media, power, representation, US pop culture

Access

Open Access

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