The Power of Words: From Literature to Hip Hop


If you’re unaware of the brilliance of what “is” Toni Morrison, then I suggest you do your research and make yourself a visit to a book store.  ( A library is acceptable, but most likely you’ll want to own these books ).  As of lately, I haven’t been much of a reader.  In between school and work, I read what I need, write what I need, do what I need for a buck and a degree [sounds like a cool ringtone..hmmm..].

Anywho……………..(read more) I’ve never been able to dive into her novels the way I’ve been hearing about them, so I decided to take a class on them.  Taught by one of the brightest, funniest, “mysterious” professors at my college [not to mention, a woman, and a melanated one at that (POW! POW!)], we’ve been deconstructing all of the heavily compact material she evolves her stories from, (i.e. the horror of death, the grotesque of every day life, the stigma of racism beyond generations, the pain of retaliation, the evolution of lynching, etc. etc. etc.)… but she does it in a way that you have NO IDEA what she’s doing.. until the end.  Her characters play out “normal” lives, until you realize, it really isn’t so normal, and then you grow to understand that the true definition of normal isn’t what normal represents at all…..

If I’m losing you… you should just go pick up one of her books… but I bring you here to say this…

After reading “The Bluest Eye,” her first novel, I went over the last chapter quite a few times to completely understand the message… I can’t say I have still been able to COMPLETELY grasp all of her critique, but what did stand out for me was this :

“…we were not strong, only aggressive; we were not free, merely licensed; we were not passionate, we were polite; not good, but well behaved. We courted death in order to call ourselves brave, and hid like thieves from life.”

and then later listening to Black Star (Mos Def & Talib Kweli; circa 1998-99), I HAD A REVELATION! The song made more sense to me than it had ever before: “Thieves In The Night”

Not strong, only aggressive
Not free, we only licensed
Not compassionate, only polite
Now who the nicest
Not good, but well-behaved
Chasing after death
So we can call ourselves brave

Still living like mental slaves
Hiding like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis making you look twice

AMAZING!  They took lyrics from Toni Morrison and incorporated it into the theme of the song! Ahhhhhhhhh. Hip Hop ❤

2 Responses to “The Power of Words: From Literature to Hip Hop”
  1. Andrew Pelt says:

    Great post. I appriciate when people take the time to write quality articles.

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