SLIDE 2: My primary source along with my secondary sources relate to the following learning outcomes: Analyse the impact of language changes and Show the way mass media use language and image to inform, persuade or entertain. These texts also connect to the essential questions: How is language used to construct one’s identity and Who is affected by the impact of language changes?SLIDE 3:The primary source I will use in my FOA is a video titled “A Call to Men” by Tony Porter. During TedWomen 2010, Tony Porter gave a TedTalk in an attempt to empower men not to “act like a man” and not try to fit into societal expectations of a man.
SLIDE 4:Tony Porter, by telling powerful anecdotes, shows how this mentality, also known as toxic masculinity, drummed into so many men and boys, can lead men to disrespect, mistreat and abuse women and each other.Porter mentions his daughter and says:”It didn’t matter what she was crying about, she could get on my knee, she could snot my sleeve up, just cry, cry it out. Daddy’s got you. That’s all that’s important.”Then he compares the way he treats his daughter to the way he treats his son Kendall. When Kendall expresses vulnerability and cries, Porter would say things like “Why are you crying? Hold your head up. Look at me.
Explain to me what’s wrong. Tell me what’s wrong. I can’t understand you. Why are you crying? Come back and talk to me when you can talk to me like a man.”SLIDE 5:Porter’s reaction to his son crying and his use of many other personal anecdotes suggest that, in american society, men are expected to hide their emotional weaknesses. In the last minute of Porter’s TedTalk, after having revealed the magnitude of the issue society is facing, he urges the audience to preach and teach young men that “it’s okay to not be dominating, that it’s okay to have feelings and emotions, that it’s okay to promote equality”.SLIDE 6:This make-believe emotionless and hyper-masculine male figure can be found everywhere in the context of hip-hop culture.
Since the early 90s until recently, hip-hop’s toxic masculinity has not been challenged. Popular rappers in the past embraced masculinity and created a make-believe identity for themselves by either strongly rejecting vulnerability or overcoming vulnerability through supposed greatness. Emotive hip-hop was very rare to come across. What’s even more interesting is that this hyper-masculinity was self-perpetuating: the more machismo on display, the more popular the artist. To become famous, therefore, aspiring rappers were forced to exaggerate their masculinity and reject vulnerability and the cycle thus continued. It seemed that only the masculine survived.Let’s remember that hip-hop is to this day the most popular genre of music in the United States and therefore has the greatest effect on society.
As these images of hyper-masculinity emerged throughout hip-hop culture, they perpetuated ideas to the listeners about gender, sexuality, race and identity. SLIDE 7:For example, in 1988, gangster rap group N.W.
A. released the song “Straight Outta Compton”. In the song, Eazy, a member of N.
W.A, says “So what about the bit*h who got shot? Fu*k her! You think I give a damn about a bit*h? I ain’t a sucker”This song reflected a stereotypical irreverent, angry, defiant, violent black male and encompassing misogyny, hyper masculinity and homophobia. This obviously had a negative effect on how hip-hop society perceived masculinity, as the aforementioned became acceptable and consistent within the culture.SLIDE 8:Now that I’ve made sure that you are aware of how the majority of hip-hop artists portrayed their own identity to the masses, I’m going to delve more in depth in the ways different artists have attempted to confront this toxic masculinity in recent years.
Nowadays, more and more stars of contemporary hip-hop are rejecting this hyper-masculine persona and are are increasingly expressing vulnerability and their emotions and are being idolized for doing so. Let’s take a look at the very first time a hip-hop artist confronted conventional hyper-masculine lyrics and raised some eyebrows.SLIDE 9:Kid Cudi arguably paved the way for this phenomenon in 2009 with his album “Man on the Moon”. The second song on the album, ‘The Soundtrack to My Life’, explores depression and Cudi’s suicidal tendencies: ‘My heart’s an open sore that I hope heals soon/ I live in a cocoon opposite of Cancun/ Where it is never sunny, the dark side of the moon’. Cudi uses metaphor in his lyrics, by comparing his heart to an open sore, to show his weak emotional state and his vulnerability. He says: “I’ve got some issues that nobody can see / And all of these emotions are pouring out of me / I bring them to the light for you”He’s putting all of his emotions right in front of us, the listeners.
He’s not trying to hide anything, he’s simply letting it all out so we can connect to him.There is no triumph in this song, no light at the end of the tunnel. Cudi chooses to be reclusive and avoids the outside world. There exists a profound vulnerability throughout Man on the Moon and Cudi feels no obligation to hide this vulnerability.
He himself says in an interview with Complex News: “The album might not be your cup of tea, but it’s going to be authentic, it’s not going to be forced”. By revealing his depression and expressing his emotions authentically, he stood out within the music industry and was idolized for having the courage to express himself in a way no other hip-hop artist did at the time.SLIDE 10:Other rappers have followed the same path Kid Cudi paved.
J Cole is one of the openly vulnerable rappers of the new school, as seen as early as 2011 in his song ‘Lost Ones’ from his album Cole World. In the song, Cole sings to his significant other whom he impregnated and says: ‘I ain’t too proud to tell you / That I cry sometimes, I cry sometimes about it.’ As with Cudi before him, there is little redemption for the emotive Cole. Cole’s vulnerability is a reaction to toxic masculinity; a negation of what he calls “tough guy” culture.SLIDE 11:Kendrick Lamar, currently the most popular rapper on the planet, offers a wide blend of vulnerability. His critically acclaimed album, “To Pimp a Butterfly”, deals directly with suicidal thoughts, survivor’s guilt and plenty of other issues mainstream rappers once sought to avoid.
Lamar talks about his fall into depression, employing different narrators to highlight the experience. In the last line of the song ‘u’, Kendrick says: ‘The world will know money can’t stop a suicidal weakness’. In the first verse of ‘u’, he raps: “Confidence in yourself, breakin’ on marble floors”. Marble floors are a symbol of the wealth and fame that Kendrick has achieved. He is having these emotional thoughts of shame and insecurity while standing on marble floors symbolizing his success; it is juxtaposing apparent, outward success with internal feelings of failure. He is directly addressing his survivor’s guilt as a successful rapper and his emotional weakness and depression as a result of fame and wealth. Lamar stretches his vulnerabilities throughout the entire album, occasionally reverting to bravado in the song ‘i’, but never finding redemption.
As “u” shows, Kendrick is unafraid of showing weakness, but what about more chart-popular rappers? Though Lamar is by no means unpopular, SLIDE 12:Drake is without question currently the most popular and least avoidable rapper. Drake’s persona, among the standard boasts about success and riches, is, seemingly, about vulnerability. Drake frequently speaks about being alienated, sad, and worried about what others think of him. For example, in “Marvins Room”, the lead single from his second album, Take Care, a sad-intoxicated Drake calls an ex-girlfriend late at night, begging her to listen to his emotions: “Talk to me please don’t have much to believe in / I need you right now, are you down to listen to me?”. On “Missin’ You,” one of Drake’s most popular songs, Drake sings and admits “I’m scared that every girl I care for will find a better man and end up happier in the long run.
” These lyrics are not anomalies amongst the rest of Drake’s music, but rather the normal theme.SLIDE 13:Drake is so associated with being vulnerable and emotional that Drake being sad is one of the internet’s favorite memes. This just shows the proliferation of drake’s attitude and the way he deals with his emotions as a man, by letting them free and not hiding them. SLIDE 14:The vulnerability of Drake has changed the game of hip-hop and also redefined what it means to be masculine in the hyper-aggressive culture of hip-hop. Drake created a r&b/hip-hop hybridity. He has essentially made up his own music genre. Emotional storytelling used to only exist in r&b but rappers like Drake make way for a new generation of people who don’t equate masculinity with detachment from emotions.SLIDE 15:To wrap it up, these accomplished rappers, Kid Cudi, J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Drake, and plenty of others worth mentioning have opened up and spoken about their vulnerability.
But why is this important?It is important that hip-hop and its culture, once so entrenched in the hyper-masculine, are now rejecting one of the most damaging aspects of masculinity.How do these texts relate to the learning outcomes: Analyse the impact of language changes and Show the way mass media use language and image to inform, persuade or entertain?Language changes in hip-hop music has impacted listeners across the globe by sending an important message to the audience and shaping a new identity for male listeners. Contemporary hip-hop is telling men that it is okay to feel vulnerable. It is telling men that it is okay to talk about feeling vulnerable.
It is telling men that it is okay to be human. Mass Media is therefore using language in hip-hop’s to challenge masculinity and liberating men feeling constricted or poisoned by toxic masculinity.How do these texts connect to the essential questions: How is language used to construct one’s identity and Who is affected by the impact of language changes?A common feature in all of these artists’ identities is the openness to speak about one’s feelings and the strong rejection of hiding in the dark when going through tough times. These accomplished rappers are using emotive language to construct and convey their identities. Language changes in mass media especially in hip-hop music are impacting millions of people across the globe, most notably english-speaking males since the language changes directly affect how a male listener would construct or alter his own identity.SLIDE 16THANK YOU FOR LISTENINGSLIDE 17CITATIONS