School of Music to host ‘Queer Voices in Hip Hop’ lecture

Lauron Kehrer's headshot

Lauron Kehrer, assistant professor of ethnomusicology and musicology in the School of Music at Western Michigan University, will lecture on queer voices in hip hop on Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the School of Music Recital Hall as part of the Diversity in 3D Series.

The lecture will focus on hip hop artist Lil Nas X, by tracing queer expressions from his first breakthrough hit “Old Town Road” through his first full-length album “Montero” and his cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”

Hosted by David P. Stone Endowed Professor and 2022-23 Penn State Laureate Velvet Brown, the lecture will support Kehrer’s forthcoming book “Queer Voices in Hip Hop: Cultures, Communities, and Contemporary Performance” due out on Nov. 3.

The book explores how notions of hip hop authenticity, as expressed both within hip hop communities and in the larger American culture, rely on the construction of the rapper as a Black, masculine, heterosexual, cisgender man who enacts a narrative of struggle and success.

With the book, Kehrer turns the attention to openly queer and trans rappers and positions them within a longer Black queer musical lineage.

The Sept. 26 lecture is free to attend, and will be livestreamed.