Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Bad Black Man Image

If you listened to the previous post, the KRS-One lecture.  You might find the following  article
adds some more depth (not that K isn't deep) to his lecture.

the modern athlete, hip-hop
Thabiti Lewis


Everyone knows about rapping, but what is known about hip-hop’s ideology of perpetual creativity, innovation, inspired art that is nurtured via being lived and performed daily, or the attitude of doing what feels natural? How much attention is paid to core concepts and aesthetics like layering, ruptures in lyrical, musical, visual art and dance that is predicated upon circularity and rhythmic motion, space and social dislocation? (cf. Tricia Rose in Black Noise). Thanks to the gangsta bad niggzas motif, hip-hop has emerged as the top choice among teen music consumers. It is estimated that rap music generated roughly $3 billion in sales. But at whose or what expense has it raised to such heights of popularity? While it is quite clear who controls the music and image making, it’s impossible to avoid critiquing the complicity among artists and athletes that allow these images to breathe.

The hard guise associated with bad men and expressed in hip-hop culture is appropriated by popular culture, what is often lost is that hip-hop is an expression of young peoples’ despair and resistance. The hyper-masculine representations in hip-hop narratives and athletes’ playing performances and personas are also a direct response to a repressive culture; a response to, or attempted compensation for a perceived loss of power, potency, or manhood in the wake of the real perceived power that controls their worlds. But this is rarely articulated.