X-Men and Representation

Latrell Greene

ENG 1121

Dr. Hall


X-Men and Representation


Marvel’s X-Men are a symbol for the struggle of people who are seen as different to achieve equality. Created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the X-Men weren’t created in a vacuum. They were written into existence during a time where the civil rights movement, the fight for racial equality and the end to racial segregation, was reaching its peak. The struggle of the X-Men being ‘mutants’, and putting up with those of society who hated them, and discriminated on them simply because they were different was an effective way to get readers who might not have experienced racial or cultural discrimination, to put themselves in the shoes of, and to care about those who do.

The comics gave people who had experienced that kind of discrimination a form of representation, while giving those who might not have faced it an understanding of the ever-present situation of minorities in America. Marvel Comics are also known for its social commentary in a lot of their other properties too during various time periods, but the X-Men perhaps delves the most deep into those issues, and is perhaps the most inspired by those real world issues in comparison. In the series, the topics of racism, diversity, and antisemitism are explored.

Going further than just connecting the issues between in the comics and real life, characters are even heavily paralleled to real life figures that really embody the issues being explored. The leader of the X-Men and the Leader of the opposing team of mutants, Professor X and Magneto, respectively, are representations of their real world counterparts, the Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X. Professor X has connections with Martin Luther King Jr. in that their ideologies share hope that everyone can coexist peacefully in the future despite the hostile discrimination occurring in the present, while Magneto and Malcolm X hold the more opposing ideology; they’re inclined to the notion of embracing their differences but they advocate for separating from the rest, and don’t shy away from violence as an end to their means due to the discrimination.

Some might argue that: because they incorporated these issues into a comic book during a time where these issues were serious, that they made light of these issues. But in reality, including something serious like this in a comic book or a similar piece of entertainment allows it to reach more people, and its demographic being younger, it can influence and teach the next generation to be greater. It can give those who are able to relate some representation, and lets them know that their problems do matter. On top of this, it can be a lot more impactful by getting a reader to care about the characters, and then by effect, getting them to care about their problems. It gets the reader to do something watching or reading the news might not be able to for them; it takes a magnifying glass and helps the reader understand why those problems matter.

And representation in pop culture can be a wonderful experience for people who don’t normally see people like themselves in those mediums. Looking at today and our modern pop-culture, with films like Black Panther giving people African descent representation by having a blockbuster superhero movie with a black lead and mostly black cast, and having so many show up, and having it happen with female-led ones too, with Captain Marvel, there’s something about being represented in a medium you enjoy that’s so thrilling, and having the X-Men first appear and embody the struggles of those who were discriminated on probably was probably even more thrilling and satisfying for those who struggled, and also enjoyed comics. Even taking a look at one of the most iconic superhero characters from today, Spider-Man was created to be a representation of the everyday man. In contrast to the problems of heroes like Superman and Batman, Spider-Man was mean to have struggles just as much outside of his superhero life as within. His emphasized problems with his relationships, school, having to keep a job to help his aunt pay rent and time-management all while having to be a superhero were revolutionary in that he was someone everyone could relate to, and at the same time, having him be a superhero that was a kid, and wasn’t a sidekick gave younger readers representation too, and it’s one of the reasons Spider-Man is one of the most popular superheroes of all time.

Dotting our i’s and crossing our x’s, the X-Men contributed a lot to the discussion of racial and cultural politics, and did a fantastic job of introducing the topic to young readers, allowing them to empathize with and understand what is so wrong with racial and cultural discrimination, and still with one stone, giving minorities  representation and letting them feel like they could be superheroes too.


Celebrities, everyone in the world has a celebrity which inspires them to do better and one day become like them or maybe people want to become like them. Well, what if everyone is going to start doing what most celebrities do. In some cases this can be a tragedy, because in the past few years many known celebrities committed suicide. If everyone would start doing the same the world population would go down pretty quickly, which is not a good think. A study released in February by researchers at Columbia University said there were 18,690 suicides in the four months after the death of Robin Williams in August 2014, suggesting an excess of 1,841 cases — nearly a 10% increase, based on previous monthly suicide data from 1999 to 2015 (Fottrell 4). In the past year celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain had ended their lives which has caused a lot of rumor in social media. This means that celebrities are effecting other people when committing suicide. It is important that people understand that we should stop the spread of suicide, and once for all end it. Many factors are not helping stopping suicide from happening but instead numbers of people committing suicide are increasing and reasons are unhappy environment, social media and substance abuse.

Woo and Postalache states “Behind the curtain of world economy globalization, the occupational environment is delivering increasing stress, such as job insecurity, increasing workload, and the burden of lifelong learning. Larger proportion of employees became involved in service- and knowledge-based industries requiring heavy technological preparedness and mental stress. If the pace of change exceeds the capacity of the workers to cope, negative stress reactions can occur.” (2) Woo and Postalache states “The relationship between occupational environment and mood disorders seems to be reciprocal, creating vicious cycles in many cases. For example, depressive episodes resulting from work-related stress can impact vocational performance by ‘presenteeism’ due to decreased concentration, reduced motivation, and decision errors, as well as ‘absenteeism’ Negative feedback from the organization, decreased self-esteem, and reduced salary may follow and add on the stress level of depressed workers.” (9)  This evidence is showing how bad environment can effect people in a way which most of the times leads to suicide. Most of us spends at least 5 to 8 hour s a day outside, this is why environment has such a big effect on us. What then people experience when outside effects them in different ways and those can vary. A bigger part of people are effected most by their work environment. This is crucial because by understanding what is frustrating many of us can result has a better environment and that can then lead to an happy environment and suicide rate caused by unhappy environment might reduce.

Brueck states “More people in all but one state and across every age group — from 10 to 75 years old — are dying by suicide. But Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told reporters on Thursday that ‘middle-aged adults had the largest number of suicides, and a particularly high increase in rates.’”(10)  Carey states “The death of famed chef Anthony Bourdain, who apparently killed himself in a hotel room in France, caps a week of unnerving news about suicide. Rates are climbing across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday — in some states, by as much as 30 percent since 1999.”  Through social media a news can be spread all over the world in seconds and can be heard by millions. Social media does play a big role on people life’s and the news that it spreads most of the time can be negative like in this case the suicide of chef Anthony Bourdain which has caused a lot of rumor when happening in the same year of Kate Spade suicide’s. Celebrities and social media are two of the most powerful way of spreading ideas and rumors but these can also affect people all over the world. The group of people of has being affected the most by all of the rumors and social media are the middle-aged adults.

Ilgen and Kleinberg states “Although it is difficult to compare the relative impact among different mental health problems with the risk of suicide, alcohol and drug use disorders have been found to be strongly related to suicide risk. 3,5  Individuals with a substance use disorder (ie, either a diagnosis of abuse or dependence on alcohol or drugs) are almost 6 times more likely to report a lifetime suicide attempt than those without a substance use disorder.” (3) Juergens states “Suicide, addiction, and depression have a very close and interconnected relationship. More than 90% of people who fall victim to suicide suffer from depression, have a substance abuse disorder, or both. Depression and substance abuse combine to form a vicious cycle that all too often leads to suicide. Many who experience such severe depression (as a result of Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and other conditions) frequently turn to drugs, alcohol, gambling, and other risky behaviors to numb their pain and/or alleviate their negative feelings.”  Most of the times, people who are thinking of committing suicide are relatively connected to problems such as depression and substance abuse disorder, these two together can be lethal and has stated from Juergens “… often leads to suicide.” This is important to understands that substance abuse can kill them. This should help people that are going through these problems so that they can stop and be free from substance abuse and it will only help them and also it will help reducing suicide rate.

What many people think is an act of craziness sometimes can be an act of good. As stated from Burton “For Hume, a person does no harm in committing suicide, but merely ceases to do good. Assuming that he is under some obligation to do good, this obligation comes to an end with death; and even if it does not, and he is under a perpetual obligation to do good, this should not come at the expense of greater harm to himself, that is, at the expense of prolonging a miserable existence for some ‘frivolous advantage that the public may perhaps receive’.” This is wrong. Living a person killing him/her self is extremely wrong. In most cases people who are thinking on committing suicide have a related problem which had brought them to the point of suicide. What instead everyone should do is trying to help them and understand what problem has brought them to the point of almost committing suicide. By helping people in difficult moments will only help them to do better.

During the past and present years, people all over the world are being influenced by celebrities. In some cases celebrities had committed suicide, and that has brought a lot of rumor all around the world and many people are being affected from it. Suicide rates are increasing every second of our life. Stopping suicide can only be beneficial for our world population. Factors that brought people committing suicide are unhappy environment, social media and substance abuse. Nowadays we have the technology and the experience of stopping and helping reducing what ever we want. We as humans should help each other out, by helping everyone in need almost every day, like people who are trying to commit suicide can help reduce death rates and can be beneficial every single person in the world. Today we should start thinking of what is better for all the people in the world including ourselves. Instead of still fighting for something that in 20 or less years will not exist anymore is stupid. We should help each other instead of bringing people to a state that they feel like there is no need for them to live anymore, we need to understand that life is limited and we’re unique. From now on let’s embrace the meaning of life and let’s start helping each other out. One day we should be a free suicide world.




Burton, Neel. “ Can It Be Right to Commit Suicide?” Psychology Today, 22 May 2012, Google,

Carey, Benedict. “ How Suicide Quietly Morphed Into a Public Health Crisis.” The New York
Times, 8 June 2018, Google https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/08/health/suicide-

—-. “ How One Suicide Lead to Others.” The New York Times, 8 June 2018, Google,

Fottrell, Quentin. “ Studies show suicides increase in the months after a celebrity takes their ownlife.” Market Watch, 10 June 2018,

George, Donna. “Suicide and social media in the suburbs: A cascade of hearts, a sense of loss.”Chicago Tribune, 25 November 2018, Google

Ilgen Mark and Kleinberg Felicia. “ The Link Between Substance Abuse, Violence and Suicide.”Psychiatric Times, 21 January 2011, Google,


Name : Tohuratun Chowdhury

Class: English1121

Prof. Hall  

                                                Women Empowerment

Gender equality is, first and foremost, a human right. A woman is entitled to live in dignity and in freedom from want and from fear. Empowering women is also an indispensable tool for advancing development and reducing poverty. Empowered women contribute to the health and productivity of whole families and communities and to improved prospects for the next generation. They place themselves on pedestals and force women to believe in their own inferiority to men and their incapability to excel educationally, politically, economically, and domestically. But the truth is that women will eventually advance in all these areas and come to realize that they do not need men to survive.

Many countries don’t give women the right they deserved as a human. I read the book “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban”.  This theme is the central focus of all of Malala’s activism. Growing up in and around a school, Malala learned quickly the power that education has to shape a child’s life, determine their future prospects, and give them the courage to speak up for what they believe in. It was because of her education that Malala was empowered to stand strong against the Taliban occupation of her home, and she has used her fame to try to give as many other children as possible the opportunity to go to school. On 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. She changed her fear to her strength.

I made an artist statement about women empowerments. It’s not easy to being a woman every stapes they have to face a lot of conflicts. Women are the roots of the nations. They are the one who helps their child to take a leap in life, women are always ready to face any hardship in their life to raise their child. When a woman can plan her family, she can plan the rest of her life. When she is healthy, she can be more productive. And when her reproductive rights including the right to decide the number, timing and spacing of her children, and to make decisions regarding reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence are promoted and protected, she has the freedom to participate more fully and equally in society. Without women, the world cannot exist just give them a chance their one voice can change the whole world.

We Gon’ Be Alright

Amani Nassar

English 1121

Dr. Hall

March 12, 2019

We Gon’ Be Alright

Music has become the most expressive form of power in times of struggle. The Compton born, Kendrick Lamar has been making history all throughout his time in the music industry with one of his most groundbreaking album “To Pimp A Butterfly.” The multi Grammy winning album speaks on many problems people of color face from police brutality to mental health issues in songs like “King Kunta”, “The Blacker the Berry,” “U”, and one of the most influential songs of our time “Alright.” This notable hip hop/rap song and almost the entire album, pulls a rally of emotions from its listeners to call for a push for change in the world we all live in. Who would have known the tremendous impact this song would have on our generation?

I’ve always loved Kendrick Lamar from the very beginning of his career. He is such a diamond in the rough standing out in crowd of rappers who only rap about sex, drugs or money. His music hits you like no other, you can feel the pain, the sadness, the hopefulness and so much more in his songs. Lamar is able to take his tragic life experiences from times of depression to the struggles of growing up as a black man in Compton and turn it all into something so beautiful that the world can relate to. I remember when I first heard Kendrick was coming out with a new album back in 2015, I couldn’t wait to hear what he was about to release. At the time though, I felt that Kendrick Lamar was so underrated because no one commended him for the work he was doing and the difference he was making in the world of rap. I bonded over Kendrick’s music with some of my friends, constantly listening to his songs saying that he will make it big one day as soon as people started listening more closely and appreciating the music he made. We spoke it into existence. He has become the poet of the hip-hop world.

The song “Alright” has reached many platforms from people chanting “we gon’ be alright” at rallies for protest during Black Lives Matter events to even protest at presidential campaign when Trump was running for office. The chants have become so symbolic as the people look for a reason to keep hoping for change. Past acts of oppression and current acts have inspired songs like “Alright” where artists like Kendrick are able to create music that resonates with so many people, helping them get through their own tragedies that they may face on a daily basis. Lamar brings a sense of unity in the song as he creates a reflection that there are better days ahead for those in the black community and it all starts with change within themselves as they persevere through tough times.

Throughout the song, Lamar alludes and makes reference to God quite a few times. The most obvious reference are in some of the opening lines where Kendrick says

Nazareth, I’m fucked up

Homie, you fucked up

But if God got us then we gon’ be alright

From these lines I feel as though Lamar addresses God as the main one who can bring change to anything. With real faith, nothing can harm him or anyone else who truly believes that God will make sure that they will be okay despite their circumstances. The reference to Nazareth, on the other hand, has more of a deeper meaning in the song. Nazareth is said to be the place where Jesus grew up, the city was thought to be a foul place which resulted in Jesus being shun by those who did not like the city. The allusion given to Nazareth can be looked at through the eyes of Kendrick as a comparison to the struggles he faced in Compton being looked down upon as a young black man.  

But homicide be looking at you from the face down

And we hate the po-po

Wanna kill us dead in the street fo sho’

In these lines, although they are not in this particular order in the song, all make reference to the constant killings of innocent African Americans by police. The hip-hop world has always made music that reflects the hatred felt towards the officers that should protect us, but rather kill us. “We gon’ be alright” is repeated several times throughout the track to give the people hope that they can survive through all the pain and suffering they face. The injustices the people face will only make them stronger in the long run, so no matter what we go through rest assure “we gon’ be alright.”

The music video starts off with a monologue where Kendrick talks about his journey growing up as a young black man, fighting for himself and those he loved in a society that despises him. Throughout most of the video Lamar is floating in the air, which I found very interesting. I think having Lamar flying in the air is a metaphor for him being a butterfly, watching over those he cares about, alluding back to the album title “To Pimp A Butterfly.” Acts of police brutality are clear within the video as in the song. There are scenes where police officers are shooting at innocent men who solely resisted arrest. In the very last scene of the video, Lamar is standing on top of a lamp post and was shot at by only the fingers of an officer and not a real gun. I believe that this is one of the most symbolic scenes throughout the whole video because to me it meant that black men are being killed by more than just guns.

There are several visuals that Kendrick Lamar uses as metaphors to allude to the black community being able to rise against oppression and police violence. One scene in particular that really caught my attention was when we were showed 4 white police officers carrying a car in which Lamar and his friends sat in. The symbolism behind this scene is so important because it signifies that the black community can and will be alright despite the hardships they face. There are other scenes in which we see singers and dancers on top of police cars acting almost as if there was nothing bad going on around them. This seems to bring a hopeful feel and reassurance to the video that together we are strong and we can get through anything.

“Alright” is an anthem that encourages positivity to influence change, it’s a call for protest. Lamar speaks for so many people in the world who feel like their voices aren’t being heard. We need more artist like Kendrick Lamar who can influence the next generations to come for the better.


Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-48u_uWMHY



Haider Mahmood

Dr.Carrie Hall

March 26, 2019

English 1121



NBA YOUNGBOY is a rapper from Baton Rouge, who real name is Kentrell Gaulden. Youngboy is a 19 years old and he is averaging the most views on YouTube. One of his most famous songs is Genie. The reason why people listen to that song a lot is because it describes certain pain that most rappers don’t show. Youngboy grew up poor and doesn’t really care about money. He wants to make sure that all 4 of his sons have enough to live their life.

Youngboy starts of by expressing he doesn’t care about anything and on this song he is going to say everything on his mind. NBA Youngboy is known for his violent activities as there is multiple videos show online of him fighting people and getting in altercations. Some of Youngboy’s song are about him doing violent things that are proven.  Youngboy continues the song by saying “to may problems, thinking how I’m going to solve them, so much pain in my body, they selling lies and I bought it”. This is one line most people can relate to because everyone has believed a lie and been taken advantage of. We all been at a point where we had a life problem with no idea of a solution. Youngboy continues the song by throwing a shot at his ex, Jania. Youngboy says “saying you would never leave how can you just lie to me, get from your knees you aint gotta cry to me”. Jania is known for being the one who gave Youngboy herpes. She cheated oN him with a rapper named Gee Money who she got the herpes from and then gave to Youngboy. Jania was a person Youngboy trusted and to betray that trust really shows that you have to watch out for these females. Youngboy continues the song by saying “I’ve been giving you all my love do you feel it, never learned how to trust sittin in penitentiary, all for you I take a slug baby who the realist, had to tell her I’m a genie I can answer wishes”. NBA Youngboy has been to jail for years and currently has cases pending against him. This line is basically Youngboy saying that if he ends up trusting and loving you then he will give you anything you want. Youngboy continues by saying “I got my static when you ridin with me, we get pulled over know you ain’t gon no time for me, I put my hands up police drew down on me, so many charges make me want to go way oversea”. This is an important line because Youngboy is saying how loyal he wants his female to be to the point where she is willing to go to jail for him. Also he is saying how he is tired of his criminal charges that it just makes him want to go to another country where he has a clean slate. Youngboy has been to jail many times for having weed on him, having a gun on him and assaulting someone. So the next line is “Reminiscing ’bout them days I was sittin’ up in that cage. I was begging you to stay and you hung up in my face.”  This is a very rare side of youngboy because there are multiple videos online where youngboy states that he doesn’t need anyone or never will, so for him to actually beg a girl to not leave him while he’s in jail is rare and obviously it hurt him because she hung up on him and he put it in the song. “I been rolling through the streets and been clutching on my heat. I put blood all on my feet and I put cameras in my trees (baby)” this is a very important line because this is when his girlfriend gave him herpes and he ended up killing the guy who gave it to her. Most of the rappers don’t really write about the things they actually do but it is confirmed that Gee Money was shot and killed after the truth of the herpes came out. Youngboy continues by saying “I been taking Adderall mixing it with lean (mixin’ it wit lean).Hope I don’t wake up out my sleep.” This is a very depressing line because you don’t drink lean while taking other drugs. Especially Adderall because they drugs have opposite side effects. Mixing these drugs shows that Youngboy is hurt and doesn’t even want to live anymore. Youngboys lyrics show you inside of his mind and emotions, as you can see herpes has youngboy suicidal. As the song ends youngboy says “Been in love never help me solve my problems (my problems).I wish that I could find a girl just like my momma..” which shows you the women youngboy loves are the one who care about him and love him just like his mom.  The last lines says “I don’t wanna hurt nobody, but still ride around with that chopper (yeah).Zoe life to the end, tell them free the main sniper (tell ’em free Kodak). Which shows you a different side of youngboy where he isn’t violent but can be and Kodak gives a shoutout to his friend Kodak Black who was in jail.

Kesha Documentary

Karina Ramsey

Dr. Carrie Hall

English 1121


Kesha  #MeToo


I am doing a documentary shining light on sexually assault and the some of the people who we as the next generation look up to, who has been sexual assaulted. Sometimes we look at these people and at their lives like it’s all sunshine and rainbows, but in reality, they go through a lot of things as well because at the end of the day we are all human. The pop culture artifact that I’m basing my project of off is Kesha. Kesha was sexually assaulted by her music producer Dr. Luke. In my opinion I think that people who feel like they have “power” over someone else, they like to abuse their “power” and do horrible things with that power. However, this power that they have is their own self-given power. Kesha wrote a song called praying where she addresses the fact that this man is a monster and she’s is praying that he gets better and that he doesn’t do what he did to her, to someone else. She also shows in the video for this song how lonely she was dealing with this situation by herself. I will also be highlighting some celebrities who have gone through similar situations, that many people wouldn’t have think when though something like this. Far too often people are afraid to talk about this because it’s hard to and they are in the public eye. In light of this #MeTooMovement we have seen many celebrities and regular people come out with stories about how they were sexually assaulted and now they are trying to get justices against the people who sexually abuse them.

I started out my documentary with this powerful quote by Eleanor Roosevelt“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” I used this quote because it speaks to the strength of the woman and men who are brave and were able to look these monsters in the face that sexually assaulted them and say I’ve been through this, I survived, and now I want justice. I provided statistics of SexualAssault in the United States to show that this happens far too often, and the more people who come forward the better it is for the little boys and girls who are growing up in this world. I then went on to talk about Kesha and her case with Dr. Luke. I spoke about the facts of the cases presented in court and the reason why Kesha was really suing Dr. Luke. However, over the course of my research, I have come to realize that many people don’t believe Kesha’s story, especially when Dr. Luke has very compelling evidence that he has presented in court. I made it a point to say that if Kesha is telling the truth I hope she gets the justice is deserves. However, in the case that she is fabricating her story, I hope that this situation doesn’t prevent other brave human being from coming forward in hopes of getting justice for themselves.






Andra Day “Rise Up”

The Black Lives Matter movement is a campaign for violence, racism and prejudice acts towards the black race. After years of numerous senseless killings as well as police brutality being directed at this particular race stirred up the idea and along with that came some very brave dedicated activists.to fight for what is happening in our community and the people who’s skin colors are affected by it. Around the time the social movement started back 2013 the people decided it was enough. Rather you knew who or even if you did not know who Sandra Bland or Trayvon Martin were amongst others, the affects of their passing’s have weighed on the entire community throughout the world. Mothers, fathers, uncles, nieces , nephews and sons are tragically murdered because of the color of their skin in which they cannot change, didn’t ask to have and should not be looked down upon or discouraged for, let alone be killed. So many legends before this movement put their lives and safety in danger so that equality is spreaded to everyone no matter their appearance or source of income and though America has grown as a nation from this it is still not all blue skies and sunny days. This senseless act of violence towards the black race has grown significantly within the past few years and it doesn’t get easier for anyone, it’s almost contagious.                                                                                                            Singer/songwriter and vocalist Andra Day broke out in 2015 with her debut album Cheers to the Fall, along with this amazing hit album that charted 48 on billboard was a very popular inspirational song called “Rise Up”. This song was used in numerous platforms regarding the BLM movement and with it, uplifted millions of hearts around the world. The singer is known for her beautiful voice that falls into the Jazz/Soul R&B category and her ability to capture tears and chills from her listeners. Rise up was built on chills, in fact this song has unofficially become an anthem for empowerment and protests all around the globe all because of her lyrics. Someone to be considered a voice for the voiceless and using her platform to send a clear message while providing hope for those who may have lost their own.                                                                                                                                                             At the very beginning of the song she starts off by singing “You’re broken down and tired of livin’ life on a merry-go-round and you can’t find a fighter but I see it in you, so we gon’ walk it out and move mountains”. Andra Day refers to the continuous acts of violence and dehumanization African Americans face time and time again throughout history. As if it’s something the people within the black community cannot change or move forward from because the world is stuck in one mindset, that mindset being “this is how it’s always been, so this is what it will be” but then she reminds her listeners to be patient. To know that the time for a change starts with the people. For whatever reason they are unable to stand up for themselves possibly in fear of being unheard or ignored are people who stand with them and they are not alone. The tone of voice allows you to feel the hurt and the aching pain around the BLM issue and the way she feels about what seems impossible to overcome but not impossible at all. There is a tremendous comfort in hearing this song at a time when Arican Americans are feeling hopeless, it then gives them that fearlessness to be great and being true to themselves.                                                                 In her chorus she says “I’ll rise up, rise like the day I’ll rise up I’ll rise unafraid I’ll rise up and I’ll do it a thousand times again, for you”, this is a clear message about how she is feeling on being silent about what’s happening around us and that she is not afraid and she will take a stand for whats right. Many African Americans are silent, they believe injustice to their race is to be expected and so it should not be challenged but Day expresses the exact opposite.  No matter the costs no matter the risks she’s aware of the effects rising up has on everyone surrounded by the issue. Followed by that lyric she sings “i’ll rise up, rise like the day i’ll rise up in spite of the ache” in many cases for many causes all it takes is one person to help break the barrier, take action or see what needs to be done and Andra Day supplies her own voice so that it can be someone else’s in hopes that people will hear her and be inspired enough to stand on the issues they are passionate about and with doing so not being afraid.

This particular movement has become one of the many reasons African Americans are able to build up courage, courage that was taken away from them so long ago as well as for so long. Andra Day’s “rise up” became the anthem because it supports all people in whichever side of the movement your standing on. The voiceless, the fearful and the hurt are all encouraged in her lyrics to be fearless and to take those necessary steps for change to happen.

Almost towards the closing of her song she says “all we need, all we need is hope and for that we have eachother and for that we have eachother” and in a welcoming tone she invites her listeners to lean on one another through the dark times because that is all we need to achieve greatness with togetherness. Be a whole so that the chances are greater, the love is stronger, the cause is deeper and the feelings all mutual .This is something Andra Day emphasizes all throughout the song, she is vivid and demanding with her words. Not in a forceful manner but definitely an encouraging one, something to look forward to or be excited about. The Black Lives Matter movement matters because it is the black communities voice against acts of violence that happens based off skin color and stereotypes. It is a community fighting back from so much loss and suffering at the hands of people who do not want change just power. An influential person being Andra Day took her voice and used her platform to raise awareness about taking a stand aside from the risks or what people say. This movement might not have started with you specifically but it affects everyone because it could be you, your daughter, a friend of the family, your son. It is both uplifting and motivational to the cause in this on-going issue, the anthem of hope.


Final Draft Unit 2

David Wu


Prof. Hall

Eng 1121

Police brutality is one of several forms of police misconduct which involves undue violence by police officers. Police brutality against African Americans is one of the most serious social problems that affects many states across the US. This issue has gained special attention in recent years due to the numerous killings of young black people by police officers. This issue has gone so far that it has sparked various movements, such as the well known “Black Lives Matter” movement. One of the main stereotypes against the police officers across America is that they unfairly discriminate against people of color, while being more lenient towards white people.

Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 album “To Pimp a Butterfly” is a multiple Grammy award-winning masterpiece. Its mix of hip-hop, jazz, soul, funk, and other styles is a testament to the incredible range of the Compton-born rapper. This album won Kendrick four Grammy awards in 2016. More than just a great album, it features several singles that have gone on to become anthems of the modern social justice movement. Most notably, the 2015 single, “Alright” has become the anthem of a generation.

On March 2015, Kendrick Lamar made his message on the music video “Alright.” This song became the anthem of the nation’s rallying cry, especially for the Black Lives Matter movement. The troubles of police brutality victims can be heard in every breath of Lamar’s takes on “Alright” as he states with “Homie you fucked up, But if God got us then we gon’ be alright.” Pharrell Williams can be heard on the chorus, chanting “We gon’ be alright!” The music video starts by showing shots of life in a neighborhood. A young African-American man is seen lying on the ground and Kendrick begins speaking. Police and destruction flood the scene as the music starts, Kendrick and friends are seen riding in a car. As the camera rotates, we can see that the car is being carried by 4 white police officers. During the video, Kendrick flies through California, while his friends are throwing out money to everybody and dancers performing in the streets. At the end of the music video, Kendrick stands on a lamppost and a policeman shoots him down. Kendrick falls to the ground finishing his statements from the beginning of the video, but ends the video with a smile.

The video contains themes of the relationship between the black community and the police, an issue that was a serious topic at the time and still is today. The message of the video indicates that everything will be alright despite the hardships and injustices that Kendrick and in this case, black people  struggle with as Americans due to institutionalized racism and prejudice in the face of protest. The anthem of the song, the symbolic importance of its chorus, and its deep references to African American history are all cautious. And it’s clear that it took much more than the beat and hook coming together for “Alright” to become “the protest song of our generation”, as Rick Rubin puts it. “That song could’ve went a thousand other ways,” Lamar states.

The song is an anthem of positivity written amongst a backdrop of civil unrest. For some context, these all took place in the last six months of 2014 (during the recording of “To Pimp a Butterfly”): The shooting death of an 18-year-old black man named Michael Brown by a 28-year-old white police officer, and the weeks of protest that followed. The death of a 43-year-old black man named Eric Garner at the hands of two white New York Police Department officers; Garner was being arrested for selling loose cigarettes at the time of his death. The shooting death of a 12-year-old black boy named Tamir Rice by two white Cleveland Police Department officers.

“Alright” is the song that moves beyond Kendrick’s personal tragedy by directing his words to be relevant to the Black Lives Matter movement. “Alright” is used as a protest song that affirms Black humanity in the context of police killing:  “Wouldn’t you know, We been hurt, down before, Ni**a, when our pride was low, Looking at the world like ‘Where do we go?, Ni**a, and we hate po-po, Wanna kill us dead in the streets fo sho’/Ni**a, I am at the preacher’s door, My knees gettin’ weak, and my gun might blow, But we gon’ be alright.” These lyrics acknowledge years of collective struggle and perseverance through those struggles. Kendrick understands the killing of black men by the police to be another obstacle in the Black experience that can be overcome through spiritual strength to survive (the preacher’s door).

Despite this message of black determination by Kendrick Lamar, people found Kendrick Lamar as an artist for the Black Lives Matter movement. According to music journalist Jamilah King, Kendrick Lamar had a disputed relationship with a Black Lives Matter activist because of his statement about Ferguson. Kendrick, in an interview with King, stated: “I wish somebody would look in our neighborhood knowing that it’s already a situation, mentally, where it’s fucked up. What happened to Michael Brown should’ve never happened. Never. But when we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? It starts from within. Don’t start with just a rally, don’t start from looting, it starts from within.

It’s no question that Lamar deserved the honors of Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song. He sings about the oppression of the African race in the modern day context, and translates these personal stories into artistic masterpieces. The music video for his famous rap song “Alright” brought Lamar on the headlines of social media because of the visual elements used in documenting the historical and ongoing struggles of African Americans. Kendrick Lamar isn’t the voice of a single rapper. He’s the voice of millions.

Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-48u_uWMHY