I see art as an expression of the artist, through their chosen medium, this definition extends to all things created by a person or persons. A dancer dances because she or he has something to express or ‘say’ to their world that can not be put in to words to form a poem or sculpted in clay etc.
Governments, politicians and special interest groups have often commissioned artists to help speak to the people, spread their message and push their agenda.
For this series, I examined the works of each of two Hip Hop artists and asked “What are the most prevalent themes in their most current body of work? What is their overall message?” Simply put, what are they trying to ‘say’ to the world and what special interest group could benefit from the messages these artists are putting out?
My comparisons and possible conclusions may seem hyperbolic. But the artists and companies responsible for putting the messages out in to the world should not be judged by the intention but by the effect. Countless people of African decent living in North America (myself included) are forced to navigate through the hurtful notions, about what it means to be ‘black’ perpetuated by these artists all the while working to challenge and change them.
The question of conspiracy has been raised and dismissed so often that it seems to be a non issue, but the private sector is hardly known for being haphazard in it’s decision making. There are committees, departments, and in some cases, whole firms dedicated to ensuring that every detail of operation is finely tuned and focused on one goal, profit.
Knowing that music is big business, I find it difficult to believe in the innocence of anyone who would turn profit from the glorification of the worst problems in any community.
The title comes from the “Buy American” (and later “Buy Black”) posters from WW2. The movement that has sprung up on several periods in history encouraging members of the community to support American businesses. (Strange since last year alone 60 percent of the value of goods sold in the U.S. was imported.) It became a slogan on many pro war, pro American propaganda posters.
I hope to challenge fans of these artists to re-think their possible position in the cycle.
What are you buying in to? When buying ‘black’.