My Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool

I grew up playing instruments and participating in multiple choirs. Rarely do I complete tasks such as studying or relaxing without playing music in the background. The significance of music in my life parallels to the impact of music in the lives of African Americans during various eras. Commenced during slavery, songs were used to upkeep faith while doing field work and it was also a form of communication. Lyrics could contain secret messages that had instructions on how slaves could escape to free land. Music was an important staple in a slave’s life and provides one example of their resistance. It has evolved in the contemporary post-civil rights era as a stage for artists to challenge dominant perspectives on topics such as racism or stereotypes against African Americans.

Tupac S

Tupac Amaru Shakur was born on June 16, 1971 in East Harlem, New York. Previously known as Lesane Parish Crooks, Tupac was one of the most influential rappers of all time and was known for his progressive lyricism. He played a considerable role in shaping the direction of hip hop. The specific song that I chose to do my cultural product on is Changes which was produced under Interscope label in 1992. The song references the war on drugs, the perpetuation of poverty, and the difficulties of life in the ghetto. “We gotta make a change. It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes.” In Changes, Tupac dares his listeners to look within themselves first to initiate this change in how blacks are perceived.

Unlike other ethnic groups who migrated to America, African Americans did not immigrate to America on their own free will; they were forced to become laborers through the transatlantic slave trade. Africans endured horrific experiences such as the middle passage where they were chained and forced to lie in their own feces. Justification of racial slavery by whites included “othering” African Americans. They claimed that Africans were inherently different and were born to be laborers. Slavery altered the lives of African Americans and has even wiped the lineage of many families. Yet, at times, slavery has been conveniently left out in curriculums taught in school. When it is taught, it’s usually in a Eurocentric perspective. The dominant paradigm for example makes slavery appear to not be as terrible as it was. Slave owners were portrayed as rarely breaking up families and caring adequately for them. In contrast, the revisionist paradigm argued that the interstate slave trade was not possible without breaking up families and that white inheritance practices were done which kept slaves in bondage. The dominant paradigm diverted attention away from slaveholders and white washes slavery.

The abolition of slavery did not calm the discrimination that African Americans suffered; in fact, it instilled fear into whites especially in the south because they were scared of losing the economic profit of free black labor that sustained the capitalism of the south. Laws were passed and violence occurred in order to prevent African Americans from leaving. The great migration transpired nonetheless and more hardships occurred like finding affordable housing. Black housing was located in the least desirable segments of the low income areas but they still paid higher rents than whites. Employment opportunities for women were usually found in domestics where they worked for low wages. It was difficult for African American men to find stable employment. Even though both parents worked, a lot of their wages went towards paying rent making it challenging to save up and watch over their kids since they worked a lot.

African Americans are stereotyped to be welfare queens/kings even though they work longer days and more into old age than their white counterpart. One of Tupac’s versus in Changes say, “Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares. One less hungry mouth on the welfare” talks about how African Americans are seen as working the system in order to collect their welfare checks. Parents do not notice that their kids are taking drugs but it does not matter anyway because their lives are disposable. The blame is put on African Americans but the unfair system is what leads to these conditions.

“I see no changes wake up in the morning and I ask myself. Is life worth living should I blast myself? I’m tired of bein’ poor and even worse I’m black.” This line talks about the negativity associated with being black and how he does not see changes in a society that deliberately oppresses black people. It is worse than being economically unstable and bad enough to consider taking your life away because of the color of your skin. It is such a powerful line that really puts the exploitation of blacks in perspective.

Stereotypes have plagued African Americans ever since they were forced to come through the transatlantic slave trade. African Americans have showed resistance and strength by infusing it in their family values. During the Jim Crow Era, children were taught to have a child socialization double conscious where they learned how to survive in a hostile environment but are still aware of their importance in the black community. They also created black culture which included but was not limited to music. Talented artists such as Tupac were able to use music as a platform to voice their opinion on social matters where they might otherwise not be heard. Billy Joel once said, “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”

TUPAC SHAKUR

 

Citation

  1. “Changes ((Explicit)) (feat. Talent) – 2Pac.” – Google Play Music. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.
  2. Wilder, Craig Steven. “Ordinary Horrific Affairs of Trade.” Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 60-63. Print.
  3. Weiss, Jeff. “Read These Previously Unreleased Handwritten Poems by a 17-Year-Old Tupac Shakur.” N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

 

Maria Reyes

8 thoughts on “My Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool

  1. 1) No your title doesn’t reflect what your project will be about. If it was something more geared towards music. Maybe something like “Music; My getaway.”
    2) There are two visual representations of the artist that you feel very passionate about. I also admire tupac as an artist and as a person.
    3) Something that I’d like to know is how music then and now are similar. (i.e how it helped African Americans then and how it helps them now.)
    4) I absolutely love how you connected the dominant paradigm and the revisionist paradigm with music. You did an amazing job with showing how music is powerful for African Americans. I can tell that you put a lot of thought into that. The reason I wanted to read this blog was because I saw tupac, and I thought I would get a lot of tupac out of this but I got much more than I expected. Well done!
    5) This was a well written blog. You did a really good job quoting music and illustrating how important music is to you and others.

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    1. Thank you for your positive feedback and constructive criticism! At the time, I did think my title reflected my project because that verse was taken from “Changes” the song I chose as my cultural product. I should have posted the lyrics or at least the audio to make the connection more noticeable. Also, I chose the title because it correctly conveys that Tupac is no fool. He is a black artist who is able to shed light on events in the lives of African Americans and bring attention to the public who would otherwise have their own opinions or prejudices on the matter.

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  2. I was drawn to your blog because I am a huge Tupac fan, and my next blog is going to be about this song as well. Some things you did really well was incorporating the dominant and revisionist paradigm into your post, you also tied a lot of the course work to it as well. Some criticism I have is that make sure you cite in your blog, you do not want to get in trouble for that. Also, make sure your title goes along with the whole blog, I honestly thought you were going to use “Dear Mama” haha. But it was very well done and maybe I would have attached the song as well.

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  3. 1: I thought that your title reflects your piece moderately well because it is a quote from the rapper but I couldn’t tell super well what the piece would be about before reading it so maybe think about that for your next post.

    2. This blog partially gives a visual representation of the cultural product, there are some lyrics provided and a picture of Tupac.

    A. The visual representation gives the reader a good idea what your blog is about but I feel that maybe an inclusion of the song either as a sound clip or video could’ve been really effective.

    3. I would like to know if this song can at all be connected to the stereotypes that we learned about in the Ethnic Notions movie we watched in class.

    4. I think that you do an awesome job of connecting this artifact to what we learned in class, you give a great over view of African American history in order to place this song in context and understand its meaning.

    5. For blog two consider using in text citations. Also if you choose another song maybe try and include at least a sound bite of it.

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  4. “My Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool”

    1. No. The title doesn’t really reflect what the blog is going to be about. However, it is a very interesting choice, it seems a very strong title but it just didn’t reflect what the blog is about.

    2. Yes. Very fascinating choice of cultural product. I like how you use certain lyrics from the song and explain it in your blog. I just wish you wrote the song lyrics or verses separately because it’s kind of confusing to see Tupac’s photo. I thought it was going to be about Tupac specifically, but you mentioned that your cultural artifact is his song Changes.

    3. I would like to know more about anything significant that happened after this song was released. Did it spark some protests or anything? The song has a very strong meaning and seemed like it could provoke some people to fight against the “unfair system”.

    4. You really did a good job in connecting this cultural artifact to the topics we learned in class. You talked about the history since the beginning and up until recently. I like how you kind of compared the situation during slavery to the situation right now being not so different.

    5. Very well-written, however, I noticed you didn’t have any citation. You did have sources, but I’m not sure if you used it in your blog.

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  5. I understood what you were going for with your title but without your explanation, it is a bit confusing and does not indicate what your blog will be about. Your photos, on the other hand, were perfect. I think that’s what drew me to read your blog at first glance. What I wanted to know about your artifact was the direction in which you were to connect it to the course material. Although there are no in text citations (which may have been helpful in pointing out where course material was integrated, but really isn’t necessary), I was able to understand what you drew from class and how it connected with your artifact.

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  6. 1. I think this is a good title because it draws my attention. However, it does not reflect your cultural artifact very well.

    2. Yes. The author used a visual citation and some lyrics. You divide the lyrics into parts and quote them into different parts of the blog which is really good.

    3. I would like to know more about the significance of this song.

    4. You connected this blog to what we learn in the class.

    5. I think this is a really well thought out paper. Especially the cultural artifact you choosed is very good!

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