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A seemingly flippant chorus rings throughout "BLACK PEARLS," a track off EARTHGANG's latest album, Ghetto Gods. Over a dynamic trap beat, Atlanta rapper Olu spits, "Shawty got a new body, p**** got a new lining." The track initially rings as shallow — yet another hip-hop hit that perpetuates misogynoir — but a closer listen reveals that "BLACK PEARLS'' is a critique of pervasive and demeaning caricatures of Black women as jezebels and sapphires.

"Media sellin' fibs, tellin' false narratives / 'Bout our mamas, 'bout our sisters, aunties, daughters, nieces, ribs / Fat a**, thick thighs, hyper-sexualized / Lap dance, pole slides, only thing she got to give." With an assist from Baby Tate, EARTHGANG satirizes pop culture's backhanded glorification of Black women; we are valued only for the pleasure our bodies provide male consumers while being demeaned for our sexuality. Even the title highlights the song's deeper meaning: A black pearl is more rare and more expensive than its counterparts — an honor EARTHGANG bestows upon Black women.

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Taylor Jennings-Brown
Taylor Jennings-Brown is a 2021-2022 Kroc Fellow. She is a thoughtful writer from Durham, North Carolina and is a spring 2021 graduate from the University of South Carolina, where she received her bachelor's degree in mass communications and anthropology.