Mos Def’s “Hip-Hop” and Maya Angelou’s “Africa”: Identities That Have Been Exploited Many people find identity in their culture, art and literature. Both in Maya Angelou’s “Africa” and Mos Def’s “Hip-Hop” both have themes of identity and exploitation. Both show that the black experience in the Americas and mostly all over the world is based on being the one’s who are exploited. Both poems have to do with one’s identity or autonomy being stolen from them. They do differ when it comes to the genre and the context but they do share the themes of identity and exploitation.
To further explain the African American female stereotype the article “Black Female Stereotypes in the United States” by Dr. Morgan Kirby goes into depth about the patriarchal and misogynistic lens rap has been under all of these years. One really prevalent stereotype African American female is the “thot” or for lack of a better word the “whore”, a women who is seen as a prostitute or someone exchanging sexual favors for money, someone who uses “what she has to get what she wants”, in the hip hop community, media, and society a whore is a very negative term but also is a common term almost as if the word is a functional element in the rap world. These derogatory words have become a part of many peoples everyday vocabulary and it just further digs African American women into the hole they are in. The franchise of Love and Hip-hop is a very toxic show, which promotes fighting, verbal abuse, the altogether tearing down of the African American women and to think it all stemmed from the misogynistic, patriarchal, and sexually charged world of rap and
Throughout history, race has been a defining factor in our nation’s society. It has created a distinct divider between the diverse people of this country and has been the cause for severe discrimination over the years. However, one can find it baffling that, of all things, the color of a person’s skin is more important than the virtue of their heart. In response, African American writers have taken it upon themselves to speak out. By sharing their own racially influenced experiences with the public, they have depicted the unfair treatment they have received solely based on their skin color; they have shed light upon the fact that stereotypes unjustly influence they way they are perceived in society .
Overt racism is intentional racism that is publicly expressed or displayed with the intention to damage or hurt a specific group of people of a different race. Which brings up my point, Omi mentions that certain social problems are often associated with minority groups and individuals in contemporary television and film, he says that “Blacks are associated with drugs and urban crime, Latinos with illegal immigration, while Native Americans cope with alcoholism and tribal conflicts.”
It is proven through belief that hip-hop was indirectly created from and influenced by the scatting and improvisation of jazz. Some even refer to hip-hop as the “jazz of the younger generation” (difference between hip-hop and jazz, 2011). Both jazz and hip-hop used their lyrics to express life. They also share many Afrocentric characteristics. They have polyphony, rhythm, repetition, and call and response in common.
His greedy, inconsiderate, and criminal past are all stereotypes black people in America face. On the contrary, men were not the only black people to be discriminated. Black women were also a target of stereotypes. Wilson saw that in order to be successful or seen as an equal blacks had to conform to the most popular race’s ideals. Any ideas outside of this were shunned.
Society was very unjust to not only African American people but to their cultures. One theme evident in most of Hughes poems is rhythmic beats and instruments. In The Cat and the Saxophone there is a certain beat that relates to Jazz culture. Hughes gained his inspiration from this culture which was suppressed at times. As Vogel explains “Hughes tried his best showing African American culture by adding Journal ideas to his poems” (“Closing time: Langston Hughes and the queer poetics of Harlem nightlife.”).
Misogynistic themes play a strong hand with the claiming of power as the theme of inferiority, specifically of African American women in comparison to men or women over other women interplay to form powerful social messages regarding gender expectations in contemporary society. This statement is supported by Pough (2015, 9) who states that rap is both “sexist and degrading” to black women. Likewise, Hooks notes that misogynistic themes are ingrained within the “racially and sexually oppressive capitalistic patriarchal system” and thus affects rap music as it operates within this system (cited in Adams and Douglas 2006,
During the Great Migration, thousands of African Americans moved to Harlem for job opportunities, affordable housing, and to escape the blatant racism of the South. Along the mass immigration, came cultural influences such as blues and jazz music, which had stemmed from African spirituals. Poetry also became a large part of the culture with many poems following similar rhythms as those found in blues music. Writers tackled the theme of racial injustice for the first time and brought a sense of racial identity to the African American community. The writers of the Harlem Renaissance era exhibited strength through their writing that transcended to their communities.
In Malcolm’s life, cultural racism was exhibited throughout his life starting with the KKK’s murder of his father and the subsequent cover up to the unjust treatment of blacks in society. Brother Johnson showed Malcolm one of the best examples of cultural racism as he showed Malcolm how the words “black” and “white” differed in the dictionary. The word “black” had a negative connotation to it while the word “white” had a positive connotation to it. This further reinforced the concept that white is good and black is bad. The physiological toil of cultural racism is that blacks are engrained the idea that they can only do measly jobs.
The civil rights movement represented an era of conflict for Black men as some sought to distinguish themselves as protectors and defy the “demonization of Black masculinity” (Estes, 2005, p.66). Mr. Estes argues that it was defense of the overt racism men experienced which led them to use “masculinist strategies of racial uplift” to gain political and social power (Estes, 2005, p. 7). The author uses a variety of other works to support this analysis of dynamics of race, masculinity and power. However, in referencing newspaper articles, the author admits that these tactics effectively shifted the conversation of the female involvement in civil rights activities and addresses how the bias
African-Americans, especially Black females, continue to face a history of racism and oppression contributes to the challenges they face: their victimization due to the highly personal nature of sexual violence and myths about their sexual promiscuity are endless. Weather America considers them Black, African, or African-American
Errol A. Henderson, the writer of Black Nationalism and Rap Music, has defined that hip-hop in the beginning as a synthesis of self-conscious poetry and music which direct to the Black Nationalist Last Poets, the albums called The Last Poets, Chastisement, This is Madness as a part of classics in the African American community. Before it has become a mainstream culture, hip-hop was known as underground movement which develop in the South Bronx in New York. It was also known as a subculture, or street culture. Later on, with the contribution from DL, J. Saddler who later known as Grand Master Flash, originated the “clock method” which refined and developed the breakbeats. With the continual development of street culture until today, hip-hop has become