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Thursday, April 26 • 3:45pm - 5:45pm
Black Male Interiority

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  1. Amanda Bennett "Claiming the Culture: An Examination of Black Christianity and Black Masculinity within Neoliberal Political Rationality"
  2. Augustus Durham "I Love Lucy, I Think?: The Black Feminism of Lamar’s Pimped Butterfly; or, The Making of Kendrick Dinkinesh"
  3. Mark Anthony Neal "The Excesses of Interiority:  On the Footnotes of 4:44"
  4. Antonia Randolph "Men Birthing Intimacy: The Case of Jay-Z’s 4:44"
Moderator: Tyina Steptoe

Black male vulnerability is having a moment within popular music. From the #YouGoodMan campaign that sprung up when Kid Cudi revealed that he checked himself into rehab for suicidal thoughts and depression to Jay-Z’s unprecedented vulnerability on 4:44, black male musicians are offering glimpses into their inner world. This panel examines how a range of black male artists balance the hegemonically masculine demand that men stifle their emotions with an emerging space for black men to be openly vulnerable. We ask what conditions allow black male musicians to show their inner lives and examine which fragments of themselves they choose to show. Papers include examinations of the political economy in the music industry that allows Chance to Rapper to profit from his performance of being a “safe” rapper (Amanda Bennett), but pushes Jay-Z’s mediations on black interiority into the excesses of music production, in the form of the video footnotes for 4:44 (Mark Anthony Neal). Another paper argues that men collectively birthed the intimacy that is the hallmark of 4:44, while the final paper finds feminist poetics on certain tracks in Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly (I. Augustus Durham). Taken together, the papers present a kaleidoscopic view of the emotional landscape of black male musicians working today.

avatar for Amanda Bennett

Amanda Bennett

Amanda Bennett, an Atlanta native, is a first-year PhD student in the Literature program at Duke University. She also holds a BA and an MA from the University of Alabama. Her interests include critical race theory, continental philosophy, black Marxism, and cultural studies.“Claiming... Read More →
avatar for Augustus Durham

Augustus Durham

I. Augustus Durham is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in English at Duke University. His dissertation, “Stay Black and Die: On Melancholy and Genius”, takes up black studies from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century, interrogating melancholy and how the affect catalyzes... Read More →

Mark Anthony Neal

Mark Anthony Neal is Professor of African & African American Studies and Professor of English at Duke University where he is Chair of the Department of African & African American Studies and Founding Director of the Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship."The Excesses... Read More →
avatar for Antonia Randolph

Antonia Randolph

Antonia Randolph is an Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Winston-Salem State University. Her interests include diversity discourse in education, non-normative black masculinity, and the production of misogyny in hip-hop culture. She published... Read More →
avatar for Tyina Steptoe

Tyina Steptoe

Tyina Steptoe is an associate professor of history at the University of Arizona. Her work focuses on race, gender, and popular culture. She is the author Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City, which won the 2016 Kenneth Jackson Award for Best Book from the Urban History... Read More →

Thursday April 26, 2018 3:45pm - 5:45pm PDT
Sky Church