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date: 01 December 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter seeks to explore how cultural texts disseminated online are made and remade, challenged and championed by audiences, with the mutability inherent to all texts becoming highly visible in this environment. The entry point of this inquiry is the music video accompanying Beyoncé Knowles’s 2008 hit Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), which quickly became an Internet phenomenon, spawning numerous homages, parodies, and reinterpretations. Additionally, this popular cultural phenomenon was the subject of a social media scandal invoking issues of racism, “authenticity,” appropriation, the democratization of technology, and “expert knowledge.” This chapter will touch on a few key moments of online engagement with this event in order to try to flesh out the tangled politics inherent in cultural consumption, participation, and online identity building.

Keywords: audiences, authenticity, Beyoncé Knowles, identity, Internet, participation, popular culture, racism, scandal, social media

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