ENN 191- Arts, Politics and Protest
Everyone loves a catchy song, with rhymes and a heart felt beat. The music makes you want to move, and the lyrics stick to your mind like chewing gum stuck to the bottom of your sneaker. That's a powerful song and they come around every once in a while, some artist are lucky enough to have one great hit that everyone loves but is soon forgotten. While some artist make history and their music lives forever and become classics. Having sold 11 #1 Billboard albums its hard to not know of Jay-Z .His music is heard world wide and he is loved world wide, he has a massive amount of fans who respect and honor him. When Jay-Z releases a song it becomes an instant sensation. Other musicians such as rockers and rappers criticize him in their music, but they come and go like seasons one thing remains constant is that Jay-Z never fades! What is it about this rapper that has the worlds attention? Perhaps its his lyrics or even his swag but one thing is for certain everyone is listening to what Jay-Z has to say. In the song "What we talking about" in the album Blueprint:3 Jay-Z mixes politics with hip-hop music. This happened to be a successful mix of popular culture and politics as we saw historical change in America. Jay-Z raps about many things that affect him such as the diamonds on his wrist and the cars in his garage. But he also raps about important things that effect him and the world around him such as politics. Although not a politician himself Jay Z seems to have a connection to politics.
In the 2008 US presidential election musicians such as Jay-Z really took an interest in politics. Hip-Hop and Authority such as police and the government are usually in opposite sides of the fence. This could be because of the abuse given to the people who weren't in power especially those of oppressed communities such as homosexuals and African American. Jay z and Barack Obama have race in common. I believe thats their greatest similarity. Precisely because of the color of their skin is the reason this nation has a dark history. These two men are of African- American decent. As we know America has had Black slaves for many years and although it was abolished it doesn't change the fact it occurred to this super power nation.
I can definitely see how one another can benefit from each other. Jay Z is a very successful man. His music is known world wide and has been for many years. Obama on the other hand takes a strong stand towards progress and change. So if you mix this main stream respected artist and add in a up and coming politician with a charming personality and charisma its a double hitter!
Obama's biggest opposers were the members of the Republican Party. A lot of people who supported Obama through out the election suffered a lot of repression and abuse. One man was in a Sarah Palin (REP)rally and was kicked behind the leg for supporting Obama.
"Oh, you think that's funny?!" the large bearded man said. His face as turning red. "Yeah, that's real funny…" he said. And then he kicked the back of my leg, buckling my right knee and sending me sprawling onto the ground. But all this supporter was doing was practicing his First Amendment. But within that same rally people in a near by dorm room blasted hip-hop music to show their support for Obama. Hip-hop opened the door for many of this countries youth to politics. People who wouldn't normally follow politics all of sudden did and it was because politics was on every channel on t.v including the music channels. "Barack Obama was the clear choice among youth voters in the Democratic primaries. He garnered support from 60 percent of young voters."- CIRCLE (The Center for Information & Research on Civil Learning & Engagement) Jay-Z as well as many other main stream artist that supported Barack Obama with their, t-shirts, their interviews and their songs seem to be quite satisfied with the result of the election. They delivered the message and got great positive responses from people all over the country. For the presidents inauguration many well known music artist were present and performed some of the attendees were; Beyonce,Mary J Blige, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, Shakira and Bruce Springsteen to name a few. This inauguration was a real big celebration. I remember rushing home to watch it on t.v. it was such a big deal I would even compare it to the Grammys. Todays biggest artist were going to be there with the US newest president. The whole world was watching. "It has been a long debated question whether Barack Obama is more of a politician or a celebrity."- Maggie Liu.
The fact that so many iconic people took interest in the elections of 2008 really showed a shift in the results of the voters. There were actors who wore Obama t-shirts in everyday lives but of course paparazzi got a hold and it became popular. Everyone including myself wore an Obama shirt. Our favorite summer jams spoke about Barack Obama, songs with titles such as " My President is Black"- Young Jeezy. We had P. Diddy being televised supporting Obama with shirts that said Vote or Die. P. Diddy also got many celebrities to go and register themselves to vote. This campaign was as much political as it was mainstream popular cultured. Celebrities were so much apart of the elections that there were many commercials broadcasted encouraging the common people to go out and get registered. So when we see all the celebrities we love doing something we are finally able to do, we went ahead and did it. I think that was one of the reasons having such a main stream support from musicians and actors helped out Barack Obama. Some people didn't always agree with this form of political campaign. "Art has clearly failed historically as means to bring imagination and creativity to movements of social change."- John Jordan
Art and politics haven't always gone hand in hand. Art at times refutes politics and it used as way to make a statement against the government.Art and politics don't always coincide but in the latest election we saw how it was possible to mix the both and have social change. Not only social change but a historical change in one of the worlds greatest super powered nations the United States of America.
I think that if art and music didn't get involved as heavily as it did with the presidential election the results might have varied drastically. In previous elections the youth wasn't as involved as they were in more recent presidential elections. I believe this is because politics aren't that appealing to the youth as a whole. But once you bring in something that is appealing such as main stream culture, music , fashion things that catch the attention of the youth and incorporate that with politics then politics become a focus of interest of the youth. Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States, he is also the first African- American president. I think thats a huge accomplishment.
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Jordan, John, "The Art of Necessity the subversive imagination of the Anti-Road protest and reclaim the streets."Cultural Resistance Reader. 2002. Stephen Duncombe.(p.348)
LUI, MAGGIE. "Opinion: Obama: Politician or Celebrity?." THE TECH NOV 4 2008: 1. Web. 11 Jun 2010.
Shaheem, Reid. "T.I., Fall Out Boy, Jay-Z And Others Keep The Love Coming For President- Elect Obama ." MTV News Nov 6 2008: n. pag. Web. 11 Jun 2010.