“Nah, we did that, Black-owned things”

by L’hussen DeKolia Toure '20  - Editor in Chief -

 

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Rap serves as a vehicle into complex dialogues of issues that impact black communities in a way that is native and consumable. Jay-Z is someone who uses the art of rap as a political device: convincing the black persona to develop black confidence in a way that is subversive. Jay-Z knows his audience, and in analyzing the devices Jay-Z uses to convey his message, we find effective counters to stereotypical perceptions of the Black family.

    Jay-Z’s music is an effective educational tool for dialogues about issues that impact all black people. On a basic level, the complexities of rap include many discussions; however, Jay-Z represents this uniquely in his artistic use of the family unit. In many of his lines, Jay-Z subtly introduces conversations about the toxicity found in many families and the misogyny within the American reality. For instance, the rhetorical strategies employed by Jay-Z

 

 

include the representations of his family in his “Family Feud” music video: Beyoncé is represented as an equal partner in a way that develops Jay-Z’s authority by allyship, and Blue Ivy is position as an heir to their throne. Other representations of this exist here: “A man that [does not] take care of his family [can not] be rich...see through a woman's eyes, Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles,” and “[leave] the [money] to [Beyonce] for whatever she wants to do, she might start an institute.” The inclusion of his family in his music video is controversial because the culture of rap traditionally objectifies women and treats them as second class citizens. Jay-Z wants to reconstruct that narrative and highlight the positive features of the Black family. The discussion he tries to integrate into rap culture gives his craft integrity because he uses his fame to make space for them; in this way, Jay-Z establishes himself as a leader who uses art as a political device.