A Market for Niggaz
This week's gathering of Princeton's Center for African American Studies' faculty/graduate student seminar on Black Popular Culture reviewed Mark Anthony Neal's most recent musings on rapper Jay Z and the unique brand of cosmopolitanism that he embodies. Integrating black feminist thought and queer theory, the piece was a critical intervention aimed at complicating our understanding of Jay Z's negotiations of black masculinity over the past 12 years of his commercial success.
I found the following lines particularly compelling and resonant with LarryLy's own musings on the relationships between hip-hop, blackness and American capitalism:
"It is important to remember that “niggas” largely circulate within transnational commercial culture as flattened images — images that are a projection of historic fears of black masculinity in the United States, the desires of young white men (and others) to consume the supposed visceral pleasures and dangers associated with black masculinity and the willingness of young black men (and others) to make that image available for consumption."
-Mark Anthony Neal
To that end, I invite you to take a listen to the gem below from our brutha Taalam Acey. It's one of my favorite youtube clips of all time, and soon you'll know why.