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Free Content ‘You Can Never Kill Me’: Racism and resilience in Hip Hop

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Focusing on two aspects of the experience of African Americans – racism and resilience – this article explores themes in fourteen Hip Hop songs published between 1989 and 2016, selected from the website, Ranker. This website provides a forum for users to share, discuss and vote on Hip Hop songs that relate to racism. A content analysis of the song lyrics reveals three themes related to racism: (1) law enforcement, (2) penal system and (3) poverty. African Americans are resilient in three ways: through racial pride, racial harmony and through a resolve to remain strong. Hip Hop artists encourage resilience through resistance in the form of political activism, through acknowledging individual and collective worth and by envisioning (and working towards) racial harmony.
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Keywords: African American; Black; Black families; Hip Hop; incarceration racism; resilience

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Louisiana State University

Publication date: August 1, 2018

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  • The main aims of Journal of Popular Music Education, especially initially, will be iteratively to define the parameters of the field and disciplines of its readership and contributors (especially with regard to other journals in popular music and music education), this being an emerging field of scholarship and practice. The other principal aim will be to disseminate excellent critique and other forms of scholarship (e.g. phenomenological) in and related to the field. The journal will have an inclusive, global reach. 'Education' and 'popular music' are terms that we expect to be stretched and problematized through rigorous examination from multiple international perspectives.
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