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Stare in the Darkness

Stare in the Darkness: The Limits of Hip-hop and Black Politics

Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Stare in the Darkness
    Book Description:

    A growing number of black activists and artists claim that rap and hip-hop are the basis of an influential new urban social movement. Simultaneously, black citizens evince concern with the effect this culture exerts on their communities. Considering the prolific and prominent activities of hip-hop politics, Lester K. Spence reveals the political consequences of rap culture for black publics.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7685-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. Introduction: Follow Me into a Solo
    (pp. 1-18)

    The year was 1998, and the event was the Grammys. Lauryn Hill stood at the dais accepting her fifth award for her albumThe Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.An intensely personal album for Hill, it was nominated for ten awards, exploding records for female recording artists, black recording artists, and hip-hop recording artists simultaneously. Looking out at the crowd in wonder and shock, Hill ended her acceptance speech with a simple phrase: “All this from hip-hop.”

    Almost thirty years before the album’s release, black and Latino kids from the Bronx created hip-hop, the most explosive form of youth culture in...

  4. 1 In This Journey, You’re the Journalist: Rap Lyrics, Neoliberalism, and the Black Parallel Public
    (pp. 19-54)

    Historically, black music has been a powerful vehicle for black political expression. This is partially because of historical constraints placed on black speech because black music requires the least amount of persistent engagement (Iton 2008). Finally, a third reason is because it works at rational and emotional registers. Song lyrics travel faster than even the most powerful political speeches. Those fearful and hopeful of rap and hip-hop acknowledge this. Those hopeful believe that these messages and images can progressively transform black identity and black political practice, stabilizing and nurturing the black parallel public. Focusing specifically on the lyrics of someone...

  5. 2 A Little Knowledge Is Dangerous: Consuming Rap and Political Attitudes
    (pp. 55-94)

    In this chapter, I move from production to consumption, considering the extent to which rap consumption and exposure influence black youth attitudes. I do so by taking a look at two different points in time: 1994, when the members of the generation most associated with the development of hip-hop were just reaching adulthood, and 2003, when the nation turned to war against Iraq. I also examine two different scales, studying attitudes at both national and local levels. Finally, I use both surveys and experiment to examine the association between rap consumption and political attitudes and the potential causal links between...

  6. 3 Follow the Leader: Hip-hop Activism and the Circulation of Black Politicss
    (pp. 95-130)

    The interest group is one of the fundamental components of American politics. During every modern political campaign, hundreds of interest groups register and mobilize potential voters for the purpose of changing (or maintaining) public policy. Interest groups mobilize evangelicals, women, loggers, African Americans, and Latinos. In 2001, Russell Simmons, CEO of Def Jam Records, created the Hiphop Summit Action Network (HSAN), in part for this purpose. In 2003, Ras Baraka (son of poet– activist Amiri Baraka and Newark city councilman), Baye Wilson (a New Jersey activist), and black student and urban activists from across the country convened the first ever...

  7. 4 Put Here to Be Much More Than That: The Rise and Fall of Kwame Kilpatrick
    (pp. 131-156)

    In 2001, Detroit mayor Dennis Archer Sr. announced that he would not run for a third term. Supporters were worried that the next mayor would erase all the gains made during Archer’s administration, a concern heightened when Archer did not anoint a successor. Archer had successfully negotiated deals to bring in a variety of high-profile events and developments into Detroit, including the Major League Baseball (MLB) 2005 All-Star game (in newly built Comerica Park), the 2006 Super Bowl (on Ford Field, built in 2002), and three Las Vegas—style casinos. After Archer decided not to run, several individuals announced their...

  8. Conclusion: Obama and the Future of Hip-hop Politics
    (pp. 157-176)

    I began this work tracing the politics of rap and hip-hop’s production, consumption, and circulation. I did this to test empirically a series of assertions made about rap and hip-hop. As such, this work represents an attempt to examine the core questions of black politics as well as the politics of the present using rap and hip-hop as the vehicle. Although scholars are right to be skeptical of claims positing that black popular culture is synonymous with black politics such a claim, at its most extreme, conflates hairstyles with battles over public policy black popular culture is often a vehicle...

  9. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 177-180)
  10. Appendix A: Political Platforms for the Hip-hop Social Action Network and the Black Panther Party
    (pp. 181-184)
  11. Appendix B: National Hip-hop Convention Agenda, 2004
    (pp. 185-190)
  12. Appendix C: Top Hip-hop Albums for the Week of December 1, 2006
    (pp. 191-192)
  13. Appendix D: Ownership of Top Market Urban–Urban Adult Contemporary Radio Stations
    (pp. 193-194)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 195-210)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 211-232)
  16. Discography
    (pp. 233-234)
  17. Index
    (pp. 235-246)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 247-247)