Music Matters XXVI: “Twerking at the Intersection”

Please Note: This meeting will occur on Google Meets via the following link:
Participants attending from University of Groningen gmail accounts and participants of the IASPM Benelux Student Music Research Conference do not need to register in advance. All others are welcome but need to register in advance by sending an email to with their first name, last name, and screen name (if different from actual name) and the subject line “Register Music Matters Gaunt Talk” or the hosts may not admit them to the meeting.

The Music Matters Performance and Lecture Series of the Music, Sound, and Media Culture area of the Arts, Culture and Media program at The University of Groningen in The Netherlands and the International Association for the Study of Popular Music BENELUX are excited to present a discussion with ethnomusicologist Dr. Kyra Gaunt, Professor at the University of Albany, SUNY.
When we search for our favorite songs on YouTube–the number one music discovery channel on the web and the number one destination for kids, we never think we are contributing to the sexual grooming and sexploitation of the most vulnerable and marginalized girls and their aspirational bedroom play. Tween twerking videos sit at the intersection of music monetization, search recommendations, and sexually-objectifying comments and disclosure tactics. This talk unpacks the role music plays and banks on gaining girls’ consent to turn up to patriarchal violence and anti-Black sexism. A case study reveals how songs and fan labor do harm to girls in the wickedly complex system of YouTube.
Kyra Gaunt uses song, scholarship, and digital media to disclose disconnects in music, culture, and technology that perpetuate violence against girls online. Her first book, The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop (NYU Press) and subsequent publications, contributed to the emergence of hip-hop music studies, black girlhood studies, and hip-hop feminism. She was featured in the viral TED video How the Jump Rope Got Its Rhythm reaching over 7M+ views published in over 28 languages and in 2020 she became a Senior TED Fellow. Her article “The Magic of Black Girls Play” was an editors’ pick in the New York Times in July 2020 a hernd next project is titled PLAYED: Twerking at the Intersection of Music, YouTube, and Violence Against Black Girls.