15-year old, Bhad Bhabie is becoming a budding hip-hop superstar – but why? This is a question I have struggled to reconcile, but I believe I have managed it. In a video I made a while back I recall dismissing the young lady and her career as a small sideshow, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Bhad Bhabie has ridden the notoriety of her infamous Dr. Phil appearance to become one of the most streamed female hip-hop acts around, and has amassed two platinum singles from her debut mixtape to boot. I have found that the keys to her success are primarily three things:
- Being young and white, she reaches a huge demographic which is traditionally difficult to access for black female hip hop acts.
- Being rebellious, bold, and charismatic, and espousing stereotypes of urban black women, she makes herself an object of constant intrigue to her fanbase and the general public alike.
- Aligning herself with various black hip hop artists, she is being provided with a stamp from back culture which is essential for her existence as a white hip-hop act.
With her wide, highly captivated fanbase demographic, and her ever-increasing stamp of approval from black artists, Bhad Bhabie seems to have found the formula to success.
The dilemma now becomes, why can’t black female rappers seem to amass the same success? This issue to me resolves into an issue of fanbase. Black female rappers need to be able to tap into the same demographic of fanbase that Bhad Bhabie has had such success in captivating – young people, of various races and cultures who are otherwise unconnected to the black female experience. They way to accomplish this is analogous, and perhaps symmetrical, with the way that Bhad Bhabie has sought connections to black artists to associate herself with the black community. In a very similar way, black female artists should seek out collaborations and connections to white artists and other pop acts that you wouldn’t traditionally pair them with.
Nicki Minaj has had great success doing this – perhaps the new crop of black female rappers should follow suit.