Rap And Hip-hop As Autoethnographies

1995 words, 8 pages

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Mary Louise Pratt’s essay titled Arts of the Contact Zone explains how she perceives pieces of texts as autoethnographies. She defines this as texts “in which people undertake to describe themselves in ways that engage with representations others have made of them” (319). Such texts exist in today’s world in the form of songs and raps. In these particular autoethnographic texts, the musical artists create “contact zones” (319). At these “zones,” the artists clash with images others have made of them. Oftentimes, the “other” refers to a person or community who deems themselves far more superior than those they are representing. Recently, artists like Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar have used their influential positions in the music industry to... View More »

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However, she is urging African Americans to deviate from that kind of subservient behavior and encourages them to change the color of the flag. By coloring it blue, she is telling the “dominant” community that she refuses to surrender, or “wave a white flag,” in her struggles and invites the BLM movement to join her in her fight against the masses.
Beyonce continues with her BLM movement advocacy in the song’s pre-chorus. Again, she urges the African American community to allow themselves the opportunity to feel anger and frustration towards the systematic injustice that exists in the country because to bottle up those feelings would be a form of oppression. The song continues with Beyonce singing, “I’m telling these tears, ‘Go fall away, fall away’ / May the last one burn into flames” (9-10). African Americans may have silenced themselves back then, which is why white Americans expect them to remain silenced now. However, Beyoncé is using herself as an example that the BLM movement should follow; they should allow themselves to feel outraged by police brutality against their community and use their outrage to turn it into a fiery passion they can draw on in order to invoke substantial change. The song’s opening verse and pre-chorus demonstrate how “Freedom” embodies the idea of a contact zone. Pratt writes that “the contact zone is intended in part to contrast with ideas of [a] community” (325). In these two sections of the song, Beyoncé is reversing the image that white Americans have created against African Americans. She is contrasting the depiction of subordinate ...

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