by Ellen Gillingham
Chapter four of Jackson’s “Scripting the Black Masculine Body” illuminates how Black popular culture is a vehicle for hip-hop and pimp film artists. In addition, Black film producers and their relationships with the industry are like a parasitic arrangement because artists have facilitated their image for profit. The reading also addressed Black authenticity. This is hard to understand within the context of our class, “Black Masculinities.” It seems that authenticity and essentialism are singular, so there is only one perception of what the “black experience” are (62)*. One part of the reading connected specifically to my group’s project, “Jay-Z … [has] taken agency in lifting up [his] community… which insures that [he has] not forgotten [his] black heritage” (65)*. Looking at the song, “Murder to Excellence” Jay-Z makes many connections that reference his collective identity to his race to show that he has not forgotten where he came from.
Chapter five of Mark Anthony Neal’s “New Black Man” focused on how he negotiates and understands himself as a black male feminist in the context of hip-hop music and music videos. One example that I found particularly interesting was that of Nelly’s video for the song “Tip-Drill” in relation to his support of bone marrow donations. He points out that some detractors “argued that the young women at Spelman need to get their priorities straight, suggesting that the bone marrow drive was an issue more important than the portrayal of women in hip-hop videos” (140). Personally, I disagree with these detractors. I believe it is hard to say one issue is more important than the other. However, I do recognize that these videos have a large audience and the ways women are portrayed in the media have a profound impact on all women.
This goes to show that the ways people are portrayed in the media have a profound impact on all people. It shows that the stand taken against the portrayals in the video “Tip-Drill” are not to be dismissed. This is an important issue with a wide audience. This also shows a link between the two readings because the case described in “New Black Man” addressed a controversy around Nelly’s video for the song “Tip-Drill” while “Scripting the Black Masculine Body” illuminates ideological inscriptions of the Black body and universal depictions of what it means to be Black.
*Citations reflect the Kindle edition of the text.
Apr 30, 2012 1:09:00 PM