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Redefining perceptions of rap culture and the LGBTQ community

Headshot of Macklemore. Peter Yang, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Digital image, N.p., n.d. Web.

Pivotal moments in our country’s history are oftentimes represented by the music that comes out of those monumental events. While responsive and reflective songs have their own great place in American arts, it is the music compositions that shape our culture rather than become shaped by our culture that become some of the most influential works of their time. Rap music is one of the staple genres for shaping American culture by giving voice to political movements, creating protest and advancing social justice issues that are frequently overlooked for the sake of being politically correct. Read more

The Kordz’s Chords and Their Inseparable Cord to Lebanon

Picture of Moe Hamzeh looking out at protestors at Cedar Revolution rally in Beirut, from Mark Levine, Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam (n.p.: New York: Three Rivers Press, c2008., 2008), p. 152. University of Alabama Libraries’ Classic Catalog. Web. 2 Nov. 2015

Triggered by the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005, which was blamed on Syria, Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution had two goals: the withdrawal of Syrian troops and the establishment of independent Lebanese leadership. On April 27, 2005, all of Syria’s 14,000 troops withdrew from Lebanon (Zimmer), but while the Syrian government did disband, the efforts to establish independent Lebanese leadership led to further discord in the nation. Mottos used in the movement were Freedom, Sovereignty, Independence and Truth, Freedom, National Unity. At the major rally of the revolution which was in Beirut on March 14, 2005, Moe Hamzeh, lead singer for The Kordz, shaved his head to display the word “truth,” one of the mottos of the revolution. Read more

Straight Outta Compton and the War on Police Brutality

“N.W.A., from left to right: Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, DJ Yella, and MC Ren” Myint, B. “The O.G.’s: N.W.A. members (L to R): Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, DJ Yella, and MC Ren.” Photograph-Web. Biography. 7 Dec. 2015.

Straight Outta Compton is a certified double platinum album that was released August 9, 1988, by the rap group N.W.A. (McCann 368). In this album, group members O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson, Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, Lorenzo “MC Ren” Patterson, Antoine “DJ Yella” Carraby, and Andre “Dr. Dre” Young describe the everyday life of the black man in Compton, located in South Central Los Angeles. The album also sheds light on a domestic war that few Americans knew the true story behind: the war against police brutality and black-on-black violence. Read more

A New Era of Civil Rights Music

“Glory” (From the Motion Picture Selma) Oscar Performance. Perf. John Legend and Common. Academy Awards, 23 Feb. 2015. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.

Since the time of Martin Luther King Jr., the people of the United States have made tremendous progress toward racial equality in our society. Segregation in public places has ended, protective laws have been passed, and many people have opened their minds and hearts to see beyond racial differences. Although this is true, that does not mean that racial tensions are nonexistent today. While divisive lines have been blurred over time, much of society still holds onto the hope that one day they will be erased altogether. Read more