Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tricia Rose

First of all, I would like to say that Tricia Rose is pretty rad! I have read excerpts from two of her books within the art history program (really interesting connection, actually, to modern American art - especially when you're talking about cultural appropriation in all aspects of art and media) and enjoyed all that I read, even though I personally do not know much about or identify with any hip hop music whatsoever. I know of a few other scholars because of this particular background, but can't find the paper I wrote which used some articles that go along well with Rose's work.

Her mission seems to be informing people about the truth of hip hop - where it began, why it's important, what it's really saying, and how it's been stolen, appropriated, misconstrued, distorted, and why that's so. Talking about and understanding intersectionality is the key to her work, and she uses hip hop culture as a framework to teach us about intersectionality, and vice versa I think.

She says in the interview with Time that "there is an incredibly rich world of hip-hop that has been literally buried. I tell my friends and students, That's why they call it the underground — because it's in fact buried. But it's not dead; it's an underworld. It's like the Matrix, an alternative world that has its flaws but is part of a living force." Again, I know very little about the genre, but I feel this statement connects to the type of music I listen to in very same way. There's corporate rock, and shitty "punk rock" bands following certain trends to specifically appeal to one group (i.e.  middle class white kids under the age of 21), and it lacks the substance of bands that are playing underneath the mainstream surface. I think the same argument is made by Rose and others when it comes to hip hop and its commercialization since its inception.

For your viewing pleasure, the artist Kehinde Wiley does some absolutely amazing portraits of famous rappers and hip hop artists using famous Baroque and 19th century European works (typically those of Napoleon Bonaparte) as a backdrop. This is a great, informative link that discusses what he is doing here more in depth than I could really describe:

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