Spit Truth to Power? Occupy Wall Street and New York Hip Hop Culture
The Centre for American Studies invites you to a talk by guest speaker, Dr Eithne Quinn of the University of Manchester. Examining responses from hip-hop culture to the Occupy Wall Street mobilization of 2011, Dr Quinn's talk focuses in particular on three rap entrepreneurial creatives, Russell Simmons, Shawn Carter (Jay Z), and Curtis Jackson (50 Cent). Occupy protested against extreme levels of inequality, declaring that it represented the 99 percent in opposition to the 1 percent financial elite. While these hip-hop moguls were all within the 1 percent ranks—seen by many as emblematic of winner-takes-all neoliberal society—they had nonetheless built star brands that represented people, in race and class terms, at the other end of the economic spectrum. This tension was negotiated in markedly different ways by the three moguls. Through these comparative cases, this presentation positions itself within certain scholarly debates about race politics in black popular culture. It argues that some scholarly frames do not leave much room to draw distinctions between the hip-hop moguls’ responses, and that this may be politically concerning.
About the speaker:
Eithne Quinn teaches American studies at the University of Manchester, UK. Her scholarship focuses on race politics in the US cultural industries. She is the author of 'Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang: The Culture and Commerce of Gangsta Rap' (Columbia University Press) and is completing a book on race, labor, and American cinema since the 1960s (also for Columbia). She has published articles in the 'Journal of American History', 'American Quarterly', 'Black Music Research Journal', 'Cinema Journal', 'Popular Communication', 'Journal of American Studies', and 'Screen'. Eithne has acted as an expert witness in several criminal cases involving violent rap lyrics.