You know it’s true. I wanted to write about Kreayshawn awhile ago. My first reaction to “Gucci, Gucci” was to fire off a post about whiteness and hip hop. I can’t appropriately address it from the cultural perspective in a way that I think would be most helpful. I can discuss capitalism and white power, Kreayshawn’s whiteness and Jim Crow and the selling out hip-hop. And I can address how awful the music is.
But I don’t have to. Check out these very good articles:
The Crunk Feminist Collective. “On Kreayshawn and the Utility of Black Women”
Addendum: I’m going to say, just before I get White Girl Mob fans bitching at me, that there’s a real problem with claiming authenticity based on geography. The argument goes that Kreayshawn is authentic because she grew up in the hood. No she’s not. That’s white power, super white power, talk that takes blackness—black culture in general—flattens it, simplifies it, commodifies it, and makes it a marker of geography. While it generalizes, flattens, simplifies and commodifies black culture, it’s then used by the white artist, in this case Kreayshawn, to appropriate for use in the market to make a buck. This has been going on uncritically for a long, long time. It shouldn’t go on without criticism.
AGAIN: claiming somebody is from the hood is a white power tactic. (In addition, it’s a cheap attempt to end the discussion about appropriation. That’s the issue. Not authenticity.)
From World War I to the 1970s, some six million black Americans fled the American South for an uncertain existence in the urban North and West. They left all they knew and took a leap of faith that they might find freedom under the Warmth of Other Suns.
Their leaving became known as the Great Migration. It brought us James Baldwin, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Richard Wright and the forebears of Michelle Obama, Toni Morrison and of most African-Americans in the North and West. It set in motion the civil rights movement and created our cities and art forms.
This is the story of three who made the journey, of the forces that compelled them to leave and of the many others—famous and not so famous—who went as far as they could to realize the American Dream.