Jeff Chang is the Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University.
century, and offering a generalized reading of each’s predestined course.(Their generation was defined as “prophetic”; mine, the so-called “Generation X”, they called “nomadic.” You can imagine why I might have been offended.) Now when I teach the book to students who are the ages of my sons, I find myself very aware of the age gap between me and them.Bill Clinton’s rebuke of misquoted comments by Public Enemy-affiliated rapper Sister Souljah on the riots is a moment now understood to have been crucial in mobilizing white constituencies to support his election.Since at least 1995, French rappers have found themselves hauled into court for censure by politicians.I think it’s just as likely that Ferguson 2014 was Paris 2005.
So I want to try to be precise and not aggrandize in making comparisons.
One point of comparison may be France’s own “culture wars”.
After the Los Angeles riots in 1992, American politicians on the right and the left successfully pressured record companies to drop from their rosters hundreds of rappers deemed too controversial, particularly for their views on policing and the failure of government.
According to journalist and critic Jeff Chang, Trump’s appeal partially lays in culture war politics dating back to the 1990s, when the ideas of multiculturalism and post-racialism clashed intensively.
It now remains to be seen whether justice movements activated on the ground can come together to resist the new president’s policies.
Hip-hop, for instance, offers a counter-narrative to the triumphal story of middle-class Boomer youths who dreamed a new society and brought it into being by loudly taking to the streets from Paris to Chicago.