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Title: black power

Total Pages: 2 Words: 678 Sources: 3 Citation Style: APA Document Type: Essay

Essay Instructions: PLease include the Back ground history of the Black Arts Movement and all famous blacks that contributed to the Historical event.

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Essay Instructions: Writer?s Username: cdbrychalk


In his biography of Louis Armstrong, Louis Armstrong: An American Genius, James Lincoln Collier wrote:

Precisely why white Americans have been drawn to black entertainment is not easy to explain, but two factors are evident. First, the black subculture as it existed in the slave cabins and then the big city ghettos has always seemed exotic to whites. Second, blacks were seen as more erotic than whites. They were not expected to abide by the sexual proscriptions of white society.

Collier may be a bit disingenuous in his claim that it ?is not easy to explain? why white society was drawn to the entertainments and art of black culture. Black music, dance, song, and most other forms of expression stood in marked contrast to white expressions in many ways. Where white expressions were often characterized by constraint, restriction, and inhibition, black expressions were frequently characterized by openness, freedom, inventiveness, and a level of frankness seldom encountered in white society. It is also relatively easy to point to the ?erotic? in black art as being part of what drew white society to black culture ? if one sees an acceptance of sex as an acknowledged and celebrated part of life as ?erotic.?

However, the openness of black culture extended far beyond sex. The blues was an open expression of an important human emotion that had no real counterpart as an expression in white culture. Similarly, the Negro spiritual and later gospel offered an open expression of religious enthusiasm and spiritual ecstasy that, again, had few correspondents in European white society. The idea of physical, spiritual, and emotional exuberance is central to the experience of black culture and its opposite was just as central to the experience of white culture.

More complex is the linkage between spiritual ecstasy and sexual ecstasy in black culture. It is sometimes difficult to grasp how an artist like Prince can reconcile his blatant sexuality with his devout Christian beliefs. Or how Georgia Tom could become the Reverend Thomas A. Dorsey and not reject his former life in the blues. Or how Sister Rosetta Tharpe could sing religious songs as though they were pop tunes?and sometimes blur the distinction between the religious and the non-religious to such an extent that her religious offerings could be mistaken for secular love songs (?My Man And I? is an obvious example). Part of the answer is in the difference between the traditions that came from European religious conceptions of the relationship between god and the physical world and those that came from Africa. Most African religions are pantheistic and see god and the world as one. Consequently, all human acts can be understood as spiritual, including acts of physical love. On the other hand, religious conceptions of god and the world in white America were heavily influenced by Puritanism, which separated the physical world from that of god and saw any preoccupation with physical pleasure ? dance, song, and most certainly sex ? as being sinful.

Part of the success of rock and roll, rhythm & blues, blues, and other forms of music that grew out of the African American experience in the popular mainstream was that these songs were more open about sex than songs that came from the traditions of Tin Pan Alley. Where Cole Porter?s songs glorified ?the sweetness of sin,? they did so in carefully masked allusions: ?I?d love to make a tour of you / The eyes, the arms, the mouth of you, / The east, west, north, and the south of you.? On the other hand, rhythm & blues songs ? and later rock and roll songs ? were direct, blatant, and unequivocal in their treatment of sex.

Of course some songs about sex trade in salaciousness for its own sake. Whether it is 2Live Crew?s ?Me So Horny? or Lucille Bogan?s ?Shave ?Em Dry,? there are songs with dirty lyrics that are intended to be shocking and titillating because ?sex sells? and is a kind of ?guilty pleasure.? ?Dirty songs? are a significant part of popular music and it is difficult to ignore them.

Some songs that are about sex revel in the ecstasy of sex as an open expression of one of the most pleasurable aspects of human existence. In the same way that the blues revel in the emotion of feeling the blues of B.B. King revels in the musical ecstasy of Lucille when she ?sings? back to him, some songs about sex are about the open and unrestrained ecstasy of physical love. A substantial part of Prince?s catalogue ? and success ? is focused on songs about sex. Marvin Gaye?s later career was built on singing about physical ecstasy (?Let?s Get It On,? ?Sexual Healing,? etc.) and Gaye?s songs became ?seduction music? for several generations. Barry White?s deep bass was the background sound for lovers in the 1970s and ?80s and since then singers like Usher and R Kelly have picked up where White left off. And the list goes on.

There are also songs that are criticized for their treatment of sex. For almost 20 years, rap, in general, and gangsta rap, in particular, drew criticism for their treatment of women and sex. From N.W.A?s ?A Bitch Iz A Bitch? in 1989 to the present, rap has been accused of sexist and misogynist lyrics and it?s very difficult to take issue with much of that criticism.

Sex is a substantial segment of modern music and it comes in many shades and colors. Like sex itself, it is sometimes soft and sometimes rough, sometimes ?good? and sometimes ?bad,? and sometimes just cheap and dirty. In any case, sex is hard to ignore when dealing with popular music and, consequently, deserving of critical attention.


Identify, explore, and critique any aspect or facet of American popular music that deals with sex and that you feel is significant and worthy of examination. Your topic can deal with popular music from any variety of sources ? blues, pop, country, rock and roll, etc. You can focus on songs that you believe are exploitive, voyeuristic, sensationalist, misogynist, or sexist. You could also select songs that you believe are examples of a genuine, meaningful, and positive expression of things sexual in music. It is wise to compare and contrast musical examples to give support to your argument. You should discuss whether or not you believe that the topic area you have selected has negative effects on our culture or society or not and explain why you hold such beliefs. It is, of course, advisable to cite outside sources for support and frame your argument in the form of a formal essay.

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Essay Instructions: 2000 words, not including bibliography (include the word count in the upper corner)

ASSIGNMENT: Choose from one of the texts we?ve covered in the final 5 weeks of class: Black Arts poetry, Twilight: Los Angeles, Citizen 13660, or ?Don?t Let Me Be Lonely.? As with previous papers, your ultimate goal is to make a historically informed claim about what this particular example of protest literature is, in fact, protesting. In this assignment, we will put the four main elements together; we?ve been practicing them all semester. These are:
1) A clear, original, and interpretive thesis that does not state the obvious or offer a truism or fact. It must be a statement that depends upon looking closely at the text for support. It should contain the logic for the entire paper; every aspect of your paper should directly relate to your thesis.

2) Close readings. You must include ample and interpretive close readings of the text under consideration. Quotations and references must be properly introduced, cited, formatted, and explained. The majority of your close readings must be of passages we did NOT cover in class.

3) Historical context with use of a primary and secondary sources. If the poem is about ?race? in 1989 in some ways, then you must educate yourself about the state of the public debate about race in 1989. This should be done with both primary and secondary reading. You must include a bibliography with at least one primary source that you?ve found and at least one scholarly secondary source that you?ve found. Your paper will then clearly establish the very specific issues under debate at the time in order to then explain how your chosen work is engaging with them.

Secondary research must include an actual article-length essay on a certain topic. The essay should NOT be about the literature you?re analyzing. It should be about an issue from that time period. Remember: ANY information you get from ANY source must be fully documented.

Good databases for research include America: History and Life, JSTOR, Literature Resource Center, and News: Pro Quest Newspapers.

4) A consideration of genre. There is a major difference between a poem and a one-woman stage performance and a graphic novel. Thus, part of your analysis must overtly consider how the form of the text is related to its meaning. This can be particularly helpful in explaining the ?how? part of your thesis: a text makes a certain argument (the what) and it does so, in part, through the various formal elements of the genre (the how).

? You are encouraged to meet with me in advance to discuss your idea (or to help generate ideas). Waiting until the day or two before the paper is due is not recommended.
? Clearly establish the issue you see the text engaging with in your introduction by referencing another primary text from the time period that you have found.
? Your overall question must have some clear connection to ?protest literature? and some of the themes/ideas/questions we?ve been discussing this semester.
? Before sitting down to write, look at the comments on your first two papers (both the typed comments and the marks I?ve made on the pages themselves). Make a list of all the aspects to keep in mind, from thesis development to topic sentences to properly introducing quotations. Be sure to review that list as you write your draft.
? Remember: your analysis should contain a ?what? and a ?how?: WHAT exact and specific issue is a text protesting or in some way exploring, challenging, or otherwise engaging with? What beliefs or assumptions does the text support or challenge, or both? And HOW is the text making its argument? That is, what formal strategies does the text use? Specific line breaks or diction or rhythm or meter? Visual cues? Blank spaces on the page? Images that contrast or supplement the text? Does it shock? Does it demand reader involvement? Etc.
? Formatting: Most important are your ideas and argument, but for this paper, your grade will suffer if you do not follow the instructions and formatting guidelines I?ve listed on the syllabus and the paper assignments. For each formatting error, however minor, you will lose a point. Example: no staple, no header with last name and page number on each page, not using 12-point font or 1-inch margins, using faint or blue ink, etc. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. One way to avoid losing these points: finish your paper early and meet with another student to review each other?s papers.
? Reminder from syllabus on formatting: All written assignments must be typed using 12-point Times New Roman or Times font, on 8.5? X 11? white paper, double-spaced. Margins should be one inch. Papers must be stapled. No folders, binders, or cover sheets are necessary. No need for a separate title page; the first page includes, single-spaced in the upper corner, your name, assignment identification, course number, instructor?s name, and date. Below that, centered, is a title, and then four lines below, begin the text. On subsequent pages, include only your last name and the page number.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: You must include a separate sheet with the heading of ?Bibliography,? and you must follow the MLA format as established very clearly on the Purdue OWL site for the Works Cited page: or as outlined in the IUSB writing handouts; scroll down to ?The Works Cited Page?MLA Format? at Remember: ANY source you look at in preparation for this paper must be listed on the bibliography. And ANY information you use in the paper itself must be appropriately attributed and cited. Good rule of thumb: if you mention something that you did not know before joining this class, it needs to be attributed and cited. This includes secondary readings we?ve looked at together as a class.


? Clear, original argument. Your paper needs a clear, identifiable thesis statement. What exactly will you argue? Remember that the most successful arguments show us something about the text we would not have otherwise noticed if it weren?t for your excellent close readings and interpretation.
? Relevant, specific primary and secondary research that directly relates to your reading of the text.
? Consideration of genre.
? Proper and complete citation and attribution, both in-text and on Bibliography page.
? Ample, well-explained evidence. Your paper needs support: how will you support your argument with specific passages from the text, which you interpret and unpack?
? Focused, clear paragraphs that directly support the thesis. Refer to the Guidelines for important information on the AXES paragraph, unpacking a quotation, etc.
? Clear incorporation and introduction (and citation) of evidence. Assume the reader of your paper is only somewhat familiar with the novel. When discussing evidence, introduce it in advance so your reader understands what the context is, who is speaking, when, etc.
? Originality. Feature evidence and argumentation that we did not exhaust in class.
? Attention to detail. Remember, every sentence should be as clear as possible. Every paragraph should be focused on one main idea. The paper should have an interesting title. And the paper must be well-proofread and spell-checked.
? Following all formatting guidelines, such as a header on each

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