Pop culture is a social art and at the same time has some political ideologies related to it. Since its introduction in the 1970s in the American’s sub-urban regions dominated by the blacks, it has always played a significant role in how the various ethnic groups in the US relate to each other (Watkins). It can be attributed to divisions between different races especially the whites and the blacks, and at the same time, it can be considered to be a unifying factor between individuals from the same groups. During the early years of its dominance, the government perceived the pop culture to be an art practiced only by gangs comprised of black people in some parts of the US and those who took part were mainly regarded as criminals engaging in revolutionary movements. Moreover, racism was at its peak during the time making it challenging for the whites, only those who considered the culture to be a good thing, to support it (Traber 36). Certain factors always pulled back such individuals from interacting with the art such as the fear of being criticized by the other whites or else they were scared of being associated as criminals, and they might be jailed alongside the blacks who openly practiced what they considered best for them. Through perseverance and persistence, pop culture has significantly contributed to the creation of the modern American society. The manner in which the blacks and the whites, not excluding other races in the US, interact today, compared to the earlier years, is evidently part of the political impacts of this particular art. To help in understanding the significance of the pop culture in our society today is video and song of Kendrick Lamar –Humble.
Kendrick Lamar –Humble Song and Video Interpretation and Cultural Values
Most of the founders of pop culture were members of the Black Panther Party that were active from 1966 to 1982 in the US, and its primary objectives were the liberation of the blacks, the end to racism and imperialism and also it was a revolutionary group promoting socialism in the country. The song Humble has the ideas of the pop culture, and it’s more than just a song. Like the pop culture founders, Kendrick Lamar uses this song to convey different political messages to the people to condemn some cultural practices in the society today. First, on his, this Video Lamar condemns the media for its role in giving bad information about African American community (LyricBar). Thus, he starts by saying “Everyone must realize the truth” implying that media have brainwashed people to think of negative things about African American. Lamar is saying that every man was created equal and no ethnicity is superior to other since if you do so you not a Christian. Therefore, pop culture gives a person the ability to speak out their experiences and feelings regarding the American society. Thus, the song is, therefore, advocating for the truth to avoid stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination within our society. Considering this song and others related to it, it is evident that the situation in America today is different from those days that had no peace since the blacks were tagged as thugs by the government and the white people. The federal government eventually heard the pleas of the minorities most of which were conveyed through the pop culture. It introduced laws protecting every citizen of the US from discrimination in all sectors in the country, and it is unlawful to practice racism. Through the pop culture, there is equity in the modern society of which has improved how people interact today.
Second, Lamar target Media for their preferential of the money than truth and cultural values. In the video, Lamar is seen lying on the money surrounded by the girls with their faces hidden. The money represents the money media is making by victimizing individuals and ethnicities in society while the girls represent Paparazzi (Media), and their hidden faces show that they do this as an undercover thing (LyricBar). Thus, he uses hip-hop music which part of the pop culture to encourage media to tell the story of the minorities with honest. As the video continues, Lamar is seen sited on salon and he the only one who is not reading the magazines signifying that he already knew the truth. Thus, women reading the magazines are not questioning the information portrayed in those magazines. Hence, he is using the pop culture to tell people research on what is being said in the Medias. This encourages responsibility in our society today.
Also, as the video progresses, Lamar is seen cycling around implying that racists people think that someone is going take their place if all people are seen as equal. These racists’ people are affecting the dreamers and preventing them from achieving their dreams. The dreamers are seen on the video with their heads on fire since they end up doing nothing. This notion is portrayed well in the video as his sweater is labeled “Dreamer” while the guys on fire (dreamers) will end like the guys sited behind them.
He continues to rap “I’m so sick and tired of the Photoshop” and the next verse he mentions Richard Pryor. Richard Pryor was an African American comedian known for his fight against racism. This showed his true intention when he said: “I’ m tired of Photoshop.” Therefore, Lamar is that he is tired of people hiding their true ethnicities background so that they can be accepted by the society. He uses this message to show the difficulties African American experience when they are finding jobs. He raps “still will take you down right on your mama’s couch in polo socks.” This implies that due lack of employment youth results in going back to their mama couch. The video continues to show two people in car exchanging things implying that they’re doing something wrong. Hence, this shows that we programmed to see this act as unlawfully by the media.
Therefore, the song show how the African American people are supposed not to question, hence; there are supposed to sit down and be humble. Lamar blames the Medias for the cause of racism in the society today (Freenjoy INC). He gives detailed scenes show how the Media do not like to tell the truth instead it is stereotyping African American community. For instance, when the guys are exchanging things while in car Media has programmed the society to believe what is done is wrong and unlawfully. Hence, the song purpose is to condemn racism, challenge Medias to tell the whole story and to encourage people to research the truth rather than stereotyping others.
Pop culture has taken part in developing a society where everyone can enjoy his or her freedom peacefully. People are free from oppression, manipulation, segregation, direct control and others. Not only did the rap art free the blacks and other minorities from discrimination, but it also freed the whites from being manipulated and controlled by others to do or take part in what they didn’t want. Pop culture has positively influenced the social relationships between the whites and African-Americans to the extent that today the art is not practiced by the blacks only, but others have joined to enjoy the fun in it
In conclusion, through hip-hop music and videos, pop culture significantly played various roles in creating a democratic American society where everyone is equal under the laws that are implemented efficiently in case they are violated (Watkins). Through various rappers such as The Black Eyed Peas, Tupac Shakur, and Public Enemy and now Kendrick Lamar, pop culture was used to liberate the blacks from the superiority ideologies of the whites such as racism and imperialism. The art also played a part in improving the social status of the modern society without any party having to be more superior to the other and where there are multiracial engagements. However, the pop culture is also responsible for some crimes that are conducted today including murder, smuggling, drug abuse and others since some individuals perceive that they can use it to engage in unlawful activities without the interference of the government. Hence, the culture has implicated a positive and negative modern America society on equal measures.
LyricBar. “HUMBLE. Lyrics.” 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx6xnVQuFzw.
Freenjoy INC. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvTRZJ-4EyI.
Traber, Daniel S. “LA’s” White Minority”: Punk and the Contradictions of Self-Marginalization.” Cultural Critique 48.1 (2001): 30-64.
Traber, Daniel. “The Identity Joke: Race, Rap, Performance in CB4.” American Studies 52.1 (2012): 123-142.
Watkins, Samuel Craig. Hip Hop Matters: Politics, Pop Culture, and the Struggle for the Soul of a Movement. Beacon Press, 2005