Rappers Changing Politics and Activism

Just to shake my content up again one more time this weekend, I wanted to talk about rappers who are using their influence to promote social activism. Some of the big names I wanted to talk about are Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, and J. Cole. There are many other names that I could list but this post would be impossibly long if I talked about all of them.

Kendrick’s album “To Pimp A Butterfly” unmistsakably makes a political statement. Marc Lynch points out in an article on The Washington Post’s website that “Kendrick grapples with core political theory questions of power, identity and the ethics of leadership.” and that “He urgently wants change, but does not want rage to consume him, power to corrupt him or violence to cut short the lives of more people. His ethos of self-critique offers another path towards rebuilding shattered communities and constructing new forms of solidarity.”

His album is beautifully constructed and his personality and beliefs really shine through. As Marc Lynch said, Kendrick’s “unrelenting ethos of self-critique extends to his own celebration of African-American identity. He has been famously unwilling to be silent about the problems of his own community for tactical or strategic ends.”

Chance the Rapper happens to be one of my favorite artists and he has been very outspoken in the 2016 election, trying to get people out to vote on his Twitter. Seeing that makes me so happy.

He had a concert on November 7th in Chicago called Parade to the Polls, where he and other artists performed throughout the day. At the end of the concert Chance led the audience in a literal parade to the polls.

He is very outspoken on Twitter about social and political issues. He is super passionate about getting youth involved in their communities and activism. He is especially focused on youth in his home city of Chicago. Chance is determined to be an inspiration for young people, and it’s working.

After the election, he tweeted several things to his fans, trying to gather how they’re feeling about Donald Trump’s victory.

His Twitter is used as a platform to spread his thoughts and feelings about activism and getting involved. Many artists use their social media sparingly, but Chance is a regular user, proudly taking a stand for what he believes in. He’s definitely one of my role models.

Before the elcetion, Chance, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Big Sean had a concert where they endorced Hillary Clinton. It means something when they support a political candidate because of their large fan base. They have a big spere of influence – especially with American youth.

Many political statements were made in that concert, from Big Sean saying “Middle fingers up, you know who they for, that other person” and then played his song “i Don’t F**k With You”. Beyoncé’s back up dancers wore pantsuits and “I’m With Her” shirts underneath. Jay-Z spoke about how we’re all stronger together.

The concert drew much criticism from anti-Clinton people, and even Donald Trump himself. In my opinion though… it was a great idea.

J. Cole is another artist who was outspoken about his views on the 2016 election, interrupting his concert at Lollapalooza to say “I’d like to take this moment to say fuck Donald Trump”.

In his song “Be Free” he speaks about how he and other black Americans just “want to cut the chains off”. His performance of the song on The Late Show with David Letterman, he delivers a powerful message. Here is the video if you want to see it.


Featured images courtesy of these four different websites


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