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From Black Slaves to Black Star: Towards a Liberating Theology in the Music of Mos Def and Talib Kweli

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dc.contributor.advisor Johnson, Terrence L. Chaplin, Jake 2012-08-29T14:15:49Z 2012-08-29T14:15:49Z 2012
dc.description.abstract This thesis project examines the ways in which hip-hop music engages in a theological remixing of the spirituals towards a means of liberation in 21st century America. To do so, it will look specifically at the lyrics of one particular group: Black Star. Through a lyrical analysis of selected Black Star songs, placed in direct dialogue with those of the slave spirituals, the work shows two distinctly different theological approaches to the discovery of a liberating space for blackness in America. Specifically, this thesis project investigates how hip-hop has carved a theology to meet the changing needs of blacks in America today. The work has much larger implications as it applies to race relations in America. Hip-hop – specifically the music of Black Star – empowers blacks to formulate a positive sense of self and engages in nation-building, through the metaphor of the ghetto. Black Star speaks to the work of James Baldwin and Toni Morrison in their interrogation of whiteness in America and the normative white gaze’s impact on blackness in the 21st century. Putting Black Star’s lyrics in discourse with the spirituals, James Cone’s black liberation theology and James Baldwin’s conceptions of race in America engages the music on the intellectual level that Talib Kweli and Mos Def embody in their lyricism. This work fills a void in the theological discourse on hip-hop by providing a complex synthesis focusing more on the theological, rather than the socio-political, forces hip-hop artists are faced with and how they choose to navigate them. en
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Dept. of Religion
dc.language.iso en_US en
dc.subject.lcsh Black Star (Musical group)
dc.subject.lcsh Hip-hop -- Religious aspects
dc.title From Black Slaves to Black Star: Towards a Liberating Theology in the Music of Mos Def and Talib Kweli en
dc.type Thesis (B.A.) en
dc.rights.access Open Access

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