"THE BLACKER THE BERRY, THE SWEETER THE JUICE": THE POWER OF RACE IN HIP-HOP ACTIVISM
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Hip-hop is a genre of music that emerged among African-American communities in the 1970s, and quickly took a political form to stand against racial oppression during the 1980s. Today, hip-hop music exists as form of popular culture that transcends race, socioeconomic status, religion, along with other identities. By the choice of the artist and consumption of everyday individuals, hip-hop rhetoric could bring people together or tear people apart. This study employs a multimethod qualitative approach to discuss the political nature of hip-hop music today as a way of understanding how artists of different racial backgrounds use their platform, the different rhetorical themes used in their political messages, and how college students consume these messages. Through content analysis, this study will examine depictions political engagement hip-hop between White artists and African-American artists. In addition, this study will employ focus group interviews to explore how college students interpret the positions of these artists in the discussion political engagement and activism. The goal of this research is to better understand the use of hip-hop as a tool for social change. With rising political unrest across the United States, it is time to consider how some of the most influential individuals in our society, artists, are using their platforms in a productive manner. Along with this, we need to highlight the importance of White allyship and youth engagement in order to create a movement that is diverse and well-equipped for change. Different levels of society need to understand their position and power in order to create a systemic change, and this research is the first step in doing so.