Kendrick Lamar: An Inspiring and Enlightening Story

In this blog post, I just wanted to express my thoughts and revelations from listening to, reading, and analyzing Kendrick Lamar’s music. For anyone who doesn’t listen to hip-hop/rap, Kendrick is a Compton, CA-born famous rapper who is known for his incredible lyricism, flow, well produced tracks and powerful messages. Listening to his music is not an easy task, packed full of complex word play and metaphors, so I usually have to look up his lyrics and interpret (with Internet help usually) their meaning.

Anyways, what I wanted to express is the amount of current black issues and black history I have learned from listening to his music (in combination with the History of Black America class) But even before the class, I was able to learn about a perspective completely different from mine, with being able to hear emotional and articulate expressions that had me reflect on issues regarding America and blacks. You could say that I became more socially aware through the help of Kendrick Lamar’s music, and along with the help of this class. I wish I could do some in depth discussion of his songs, but I believe it would be too long a post.

In conclusion, I just think it is cool how powerfully music can influence social, political, economic and cultural views and thoughts in respect to black history and issues, and am curious if anyone has had a similar experience with a black artist?

Note: I am not saying other rappers/artists don’t express similar ideas as Kendrick, he is just one in particular who has influenced me more than others (due to his sound, flow, etc.)


Here is an article link analyzing one of his albums for those curious about his music.


Black Politicians and the Run for Presidency

“Whenever the occupant in the White House fails to respond to the just demands of human need, the independent army will bring their concerns to the Black House to their President-in-Exile”- Dick Gregory. With our recent discussions on Black politics, it’s important to note Black pioneers that ran for the presidential candidacy. Before Obama, there have been many other Black individuals that have tried run for president of the United States. Such individuals are Black Panther leader Elderidge Cleaver, former leader of the all-Black freedom Now Party Paul Boutelle, and Black feminist and labor organizer Charlene Mitchell. With the shift in the Black voting patterns during the 1968 elections from Republican to Democrat it become more apparent Blacks needed representation and wanted Black politicians that represented their needs. At the Democratic Convention 1968, Channing E. Phillips, a Black minister and civil rights leader, became the first African American to be nominated for president of the United States.

Even though there were Black politicians that stated they were for the Black community within the Democratic Party, many within the Black community were unhappy with the progress made by the two-party system. Many noticed that Black elected officials had limited ways in which they could alter the political atmosphere. On March 1969, comedian Dick Gregory took a stand to tackle issues such as ending the Vietnam War, bad housing, education and discrimination within the Black community. Gregory toured the country, focusing on college campuses and local events within the Black communities to promote his campaign of becoming the first black president.

Avoiding the limited conditions set by the two-party system, Gregory, Mitchell, Cleaver and Boulle instead became part of minority party presidential campaigns that catered to the needs and wants within the Black community. The campaigns of these four individuals led the trail for what they believed a Black presidency and Black freedom may look like.

Descendants of Slaves and Immigrants: Refining the definition of ‘black’

I had previously written on the subject of the tensions between non-immigrant African Americans and African Americans with immigrant descent. However, I had only previously written about African immigrant interactions within Ohio. This recent article uncovers the broader problem between immigrant and non-immigrant African American cohesion.

A movement going by the American Descendants of Slavery, or ADOS, is attempting to highlight the voices of native-born African American families that have endured American oppression long before African Americans were accepted in American culture. Fartun Weli, executive director of a nonprofit that helps women of Somali heritage (Isuroon) stated that, “It’s important that African-American identity is honored”.

This is not just a minor problem in a fringe group. A Minnesotan population survey revealed that  134,000 immigrants were from African decent in 2017. This is a massive amount out of the total 361,000 Americans who identify with African lineage. The demographic change is so impactful that the Council of Black Minnesotans had changed its name to Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage in 2015.

As both communities begin cooperating together, competition unfolds. Immigrant families are often cramped and in need of expanding living space as well as desperate to avoid any legal problems that could send them back to their country of origin. This social pressure to succeed and develop economic independence has lead to the immigrant population seeking employment more aggressively than native born African Americans.

Although there may not be a clear solution to these problems today, there certainly seems to be clear and present tension between the two groups. Me’Lea Connelly, founder of the Village Financial Cooperative credit union, attempted to explain why first and second generation Africans have this tension, “The oppression that black folks face because of anti-blackness is still an experience that immigrants and refugees share in this country.” Hopefully, this issue will lessen in importance and can be solved before it becomes more prominent in other communities.

(Pictured above is Me’Lea Connelly)