The minstrelising discourse of 21st century rap music

Harbord, J 2012, The minstrelising discourse of 21st century rap music , MPhil thesis, University of Salford.

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In recent years a discourse has developed among some critics of 21st century rap and hip hop music. This discourse evokes the imagery and terminology of the 19th century entertainment form of blackface minstrelsy with varying motives and effects. Moreover, it is communicated via various media; from music videos to films, from literature to verbal discourse. This modern phenomenon requires analysis that considers the historical context of blackface minstrelsy in the 19th century and its meanings for a 21st century audience far removed from the context that nurtured the stage form. Minstrelsy's relationship with slavery and the subsequent racial inequalities in American society make the imagery and terminology of blackface a complex concept provoking ideas of guilt, shame, and embarrassment. Moreover, these ideological and emotive ideas are mobilised readily through the use of blackface imagery in a 'minstrelising discourse' of 21st century rap and hip hop music. Through an investigation and analysis of rap's 'minstrelising discourse' it is possible to map its form, content, and, through an application of figurational social theory, the potential reasons for its existence. Furthermore, the 'minstrelising discourse' of rap may show an effort to determine cultural form through a process of 'blame gossip,' a term provided by Norbert Elias from his studies of figurational social relationships. And finally, there may be some similarities between blackface minstrelsy and rap music, however, they may not only be the relatively simple associations of 21st century rap's critics.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2021 08:59
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 11:28

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